Progressive Church in DC
May 4, 2019 4:56 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a progressive, friendly church in DC or NOVA.

I currently attend a UCC church in Fairfax, and am fairly happy there. It's open and affirming and progressive in ethos, the pastors give thoughtful and thought-provoking sermons, the congregation is friendly, and the building/services are pretty and calming. In general, the whole experience of worship there is calming yet interesting, and I like going.

But there are no affinity groups or Bible study groups or regular opportunities for community service, so I feel very passive -- like I just show up to worship and leave and that's it. Everyone is friendly at the coffee hour and all, there just aren't a lot of opportunities to engage. Also, I'm an early 30s single/childless woman and feel a little out of step with the older and more family-oriented congregation.

Do you know of a progressive church in the DC or NOVA area that would be similarly peaceful and welcoming, but with more opportunities to join an affinity group (aka, make friends), study the Bible, and be of service to the wider community?
posted by nowadays to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I attended Universalist National Memorial on 16th Street (by the Masonic Temple) when I was attending American University. It's my previously-attended church that has been most closely-aligned with my personal beliefs. They do regular community service and their services are quite peaceful. Their membership is quite diverse and their choir is great!

On the downside, it is a very small congregation of around 40 members. So you may find it to be similarly limited.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:27 PM on May 4


Calvary Baptist might be what you’re looking for.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:32 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Seconding Calvary Baptist!!
posted by mccxxiii at 7:46 PM on May 4


St. John's Episcopal in Georgetown is led by an old grad school friend, Reverend Virginia (Gini) Gerbasi. Gini is progressive, hilarious, thoughtful, brilliant, and just a little bit profane on occasion. She almost makes me want to be a believer.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:45 AM on May 5


Church of the Pilgrims is a progressive Presbyterian Church USA congregation. They're best known for their several ongoing active ministries with people experiencing homelessness in DC.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:12 AM on May 5


As it turns out, I'm a member of the aforementioned Calvary Baptists (actually, I'm currently serving on the board as the Membership Development chair, heh). Please feel free to PM me if you want to learn more about us or the congregation! We're fairly diverse in several respects, including age & stage of life--e.g., plenty of folks in our age range, some with spouses and/or kids, some without.

There are a ton of great progressive churches in the DC area, so I'm not saying we're the only game in town by any means, but I think we've got a good thing going. If you're looking for an entry point, Tuesday evening's Theology on Draft is a good thought-provoking discussion & study group that skews younger, and is currently led by my friend Rev. Elijah Zehyoue. Discussion usually centers around the intersection of faith and social justice.
posted by duffell at 7:25 AM on May 5


A friend of mine is part of the Washington Ethical Society.
posted by jocelmeow at 7:54 AM on May 5


All Souls Unitarian has a long progressive-to-radical tradition (one of its ministers, James Reeb, was murdered during the Selma marches). The have a very active community life.

My mother-in-law has been a congregant at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal for 40 years, and was originally attracted to it for its radical politics and community (e.g. they ordained, against church orders, some of the earliest women Episcopal priests, and were so welcoming and progressive that they were a fixture as a place for shows in the DC punk scene of my 80s-90s youth).

The Books to Prisoners group I work with meets at Foundry United Methodist Church, who also seem to very progressive and community-focused. They definitely have bible study classes.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:06 AM on May 6


I grew up with St. Mark's Episcopal on Capital Hill (3rd and A SE).
It is very progressive (current rector is a lesbian woman) with a long history of social activism both locally and internationally. A few of the recent focuses are on reducing gun violence, protecting the environment, and aiding refugees.
The church has a lot of education programs for all ages including adults, most of which focus on what they call 'functional education' which focuses on exploring the religious underpinnings of facing life's issues. Christian Education

For what it's worth both my parents and my aunt and uncle met at the church as single people in their 30s.

Here's some info for Newcomers and Visitors.

posted by vegetableagony at 9:28 AM on May 8


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