Ridgley Ministries was conceived by God and spoken to the late Dr. Herbert J. Russell and Dr. Herldleen Russell, our founders. In 1977, our founders asked God for a ministry, thinking he would direct them to start a prison or nursing home ministry. They were very active in their local church. In 1978, after our founders graduated from Moody Bible Institute, God began speaking of a move. After seeking the Lord for direction, God gave our founders specific instructions to move from Illinois to Maryland and to begin their ministry there. After some reluctance, Dr. Herbert J. Russell agreed to act on God’s calling. When he sought the Lord, thinking he was too old to pack up and move, God reminded him of Abraham.
God’s call from Illinois to Maryland resulted in the birth of Ridgley Ministries. Founded in 1980, our first location was a little church on Central Avenue in Capitol Heights (formerly Ridgley Methodist and now an African American historical landmark). Within a year, the church quickly filled to standing-room only capacity. Ridgley quickly blossomed; and, after nine years of ministry, it was time to seek more property to build a larger edifice.
During that time, God spoke to our founders and said, "You [Ridgley] cannot go the way of others. Ridgley has been plucked out and it is to be a beacon in a dark world. It is time to start seeking Me for a new church." God then spoke and said, "Look up and out over the land which I have given you."
Shortly after, land owned by an elderly woman was located in the Westphalia Community. Refusing to sell to anyone else, she said, "This [Dr. Russell] is the one that I will sell it to." In 1989, the new edifice of Ridgley Ministries was built on almost 5 acres of land at 9235 D’Arcy Road, Upper Marlboro, MD. Then began the "Move of God" to reach out to the surrounding communities and continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. God's provision for the vision was proof of His favor on the ministry.
Ridgley Ministries has faithfully served the community for 37 years. Our foundation is holiness, expressed through obedience to God's Word, a culture of Christian love, and biblical giving. As a result of our founders' example, many pastors have been trained to birth their own ministries. Souls, both domestic and abroad, have come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through this ministry. Whole families were converted, addictions were broken, and marriages were restored. Moreover, showing Christ's love to the incarcerated, immobile, ill, and those in need began for Ridgley the moment our founders opened her doors. This legacy continues to this day.
Ridgley Ministries is now under the leadership of Elder Patrick L. Russell, a son of the church and the youngest son of Drs. Herbert and Herldleen Russell. His wife, Evangelist Tekesha Russell, serves as the First Lady of our church.
Ridgley Ministries, Inc., is a member of the Churches of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC), founded in 1897 by the late Bishop Charles Harrison Mason and is reported to be one of the four (4) largest predominantly black denominations in the United States with a membership of over six (6) million people. The national headquarters of COGIC is located in Memphis, TN, with our state headquarters in Maryland.