"Where there are strong family ties to the church, each institution is mutually reinforced through the union - and, thus, made stronger still."
by RE Paula Burger,
Faith Presbyterian Church
On Sunday, nearly a hundred friends and family of Faith Presbyterian Church gathered in its fellowship hall to celebrate the Hyde family. Members of the Baltimore church for 140 years, earlier generations of the Hydes were counted among Faith's worshippers long before
the church was chartered in 1865; and, William(Bill) J. Hyde, 94, still worships there on Sundays.
Those who gathered to honor Bill and his family reminisced about their contribution to Faith's emergence as a community-focused church. In fact, much of Faith's history from 1876 to 1962 was chronicled by Bill's parents, William and Lillie Hyde. Their family story begins in the mid-19th century when Bill's great grandfather, Moses Hyde moved to the Baltimore area and founded a soap company. He was an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Baltimore and, likely, involved in establishing Faith Church in 1876 as a mission endeavor of First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore.
The church was originally housed in a former blacksmith shop at Gay and Chase Streets. Its attendance grew quickly during the first two years, requiring the congregation to move across the street from the blacksmith shop. There, a framed building was erected on a part of a burial ground and dedicated in 1878 as Faith Chapel.
Bill's grandfather, Frances A. Hyde was an elder of First Church and served subsequently as an elder and trustee at Faith. Another Hyde, Edward I. Hyde, Bill's grandfather's brother, was also an elder. In these early years, other members of the Hyde family also contributed leadership, with Enoch Pratt Hyde, serving as a deacon and trustee at First Church, and Harry C. Hyde holding those same positions at Faith.
Bill Hyde's father, William Henry Campbell Hyde, was the first male child to be baptized at Faith Church on Nov. 30, 1878. And, as the Hyde Family flourished, so did Faith Presbyterian Church. By 1923, a new English Gothic sanctuary had been built adjacent to the Chapel and, subsequently, a community building was added to facilitate programs for a very large Sunday school enrollment of over 900! This imposing structure at Broadway and Biddle streets was a central factor in the Hyde family's life, with regular attendance (going on foot or by streetcar) at Sunday school and a worship service featuring sermons of up to two hours.
The stock market crash and ensuing Great Depression took Bill's family to southern Maryland where they eked out a living for ten years working the land and waterways. Once the economy improved, the family returned to Baltimore and Faith Church. Bill's father served here as a deacon, an elder, Sunday school teacher, and active participant in the Men's group. Bill's mother played the piano for the Sunday school and was active in the Women's Association and Clifton Circle.
Bill had stints as a trustee of Faith Church, from 1955-57, 1970-1972, and 1978-1981, as well as a long career as sound engineer, and frequent lector reading from the Hyde family Bible. His wife, Miriam, was an elder and for many years maintained the church library, which is now dedicated to her memory. Bill's brother Earl was a particularly engaged Faith member, serving as an elder and Clerk of Session, chair and member of numerous committees, and Superintendent of the Church School
Faith Church continued to grow its physical plant, moving in 1951 to a new church edifice on Loch Raven Boulevard to accommodate a congregation of 1200 members. Like most churches these days, Faith has not sustained such impressive numbers, but it has continued to have a wonderful congregation of authentic and diverse folks who are dedicated to this especially welcoming and unique community of faith. And, Faith is committed to the City where we are seeking, standing and serving.