Local church serves community, world

Among the myriad cultural, educational and religious institutions that make Foggy Bottom such a delightful place to live, there stands, at 2401 Virginia Ave., the Western Presbyterian Church which has served the spiritual needs of the residents for almost two centuries. Western is an ecumenical, all-inclusive community of faith where all people – irrespective of economic or social circumstances, age, race, ethnic origin, marital status, gender or sexual orientation – are invited to participate fully.

In addition to Bible study and worship services on Sunday, Western sponsors a rich variety of activities to which GW students and faculty are welcomed and in which their contributions are valued. Among others, these include luncheons, dinners and hospitality hours for members to get better acquainted with each other, meetings of interfaith groups to explore varied expressions of spirituality and on-campus lectures by such luminaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Activities also include an extensive social outreach program with such on-site activities as Miriam’s Kitchen to feed the homeless and Project Create to provide after-school arts and crafts instruction to D.C. school children. The church also provides local services such as mentoring for D.C. school children and counseling and other aid to jail inmates to help them make the transition back to civilian life. Other projects include support for overseas institutions such as an integrated school in South Africa during the days of apartheid and, more recently, implementation of nationwide arrangements to vaccinate the children of Ethiopia. Volunteers for all these programs are heartily embraced; their help is richly rewarding to themselves and to all they serve.

One upcoming event is the Christmas Sing on Dec. 6. Attendees will be treated to carols, dessert and drinks and a possible tree-lighting outside. In the spring, Western sponsors an alternate spring break. This year’s destination will probably be Guatemala.-The writer, a GW medical professor, is a Foggy Bottom resident.

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