Through song, prayer and poetry, the Hall’s Hill community came together Tuesday night to mourn the loss of two of its own.
A candlelight vigil was held for double homicide victims Keefe Spriggs and Carl Moten at the Hall’s Hill/High View Park Memorial Garden. Dozens of people young and old — including friends, family and neighbors of the victims — attended the somber vigil, which was organized in part by the Calloway United Methodist Church (5000 Lee Highway). Speakers included pastors and community members.
On the morning of August 7, 59-year-old Spriggs and 31-year-old Moten were found murdered in an apartment on the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street, in Hall’s Hill — the neighborhood in which they were both born and raised. So far, police have not released any additional information regarding the ongoing investigation into the homicides.
Spriggs, known as Kee-Kee to friends and family, was divorced and was working at a body shop. Moten, also known as Pooh Bear, was an acquaintance of Spriggs and had been working as a cook at a restaurant in Falls Church.
Calloway pastor Rev. Sonja Flye Oliver said Spriggs and Moten both came from families with “extremely deep roots in the Hall’s Hill community.”
“Both of these families are families of faith, families of character,” she said. “These people exemplify what it means to be a close knit community.”
Rev. Oliver said it has been more than a decade since a crime like this has happened in the area.
“This is just shocking, it’s a shocking thing to have happen,” she said. “I’ve heard over and over again: things like this just don’t happen in Hall’s Hill.”
“When one of us hurts, all of us hurt, because we’re all related,” she told the gathered crowd. “We’re related by blood or we’re related by the Spirit. I like the feeling of family that this community exhibits all the time. You feel the love and the presence of God here.”
The families of both men are “not strangers to loss,” Rev. Oliver said. Spriggs’ mother had previously lost a son to a motorcycle accident and another son to an illness, she said.
The funeral for Spriggs was held on Tuesday. Moten’s funeral will be held at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in the Arlington View neighborhood on Thursday.
Rev. Oliver said Arlington County Police have been responsive to the community during the investigation into the homicides.
“We have faith that they are working diligently and trying to piece everything together,” she said. “I think the community will rejoice when we have an answer. We would just like to know who and why.”
In the meantime, she said, the “outpouring of love from the community” has been helping the families of Spriggs and Moten cope with their loss.
Father Paolo Dall’Oglio is an Italian Jesuit priest who had lived in Syria for 30 years, but was deported last month. He was reportedly targeted because he spoke out against the Syrian government’s crackdown on the widespread public uprising.
“The very fact that I am for change, for democracy, for human rights and dignity, this is very provocative,” said Father Paolo after his expulsion was ordered.
While living in Syria, Father Paolo had helped to restore the 1,000 year old Mar Musa Monastery and to establish it as a center for interfaith dialog and Muslim-Christian understanding.
Father Paolo will speak at Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ (5010 Little Falls Road) on Monday, July 23, at 7:00 p.m. He will highlight his experiences while living in Syria, current conditions in that country and the circumstances surrounding his deportation. Everyone is welcome to attend.
On Sunday a group of Civil War reenactors set up camp outside the Mount Olivet United Methodist Church at 1500 N. Glebe Road, part of a “living history” event intended to draw attention to the church’s role as a field hospital during the war.
The event included a display of medical tools and practices from the Civil War era, talks by actor portraying historic figures, and the opportunity to mix and mingle with the reenactors, who discussed the ins and outs and camp life.
Among the reenactors was Seth Black, a Thomas Jefferson Middle School student and avid Civil War buff who portrayed a wounded Union drummer boy, according to the Sun Gazette.
Photos courtesy Fred Dunn
This Sunday (July 15) the Mount Olivet United Methodist Church at 1500 N. Glebe Road will be transformed into a Civil War encampment, in honor of the church’s role as a field hospital during the war.
Reenactors from 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment organization will be on hand for a Civil War living history event that will feature displays of medical tools and practices from the Civil War era, along with a wreath-laying, talks by actor portraying notable historic figures and opportunities to discuss “the boredom, hardship and daily activities of camp life” with the reenactors.
The event, sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and the Arlington Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, is free and open to the public. It will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
In an email, organizers described some of the history behind the event:
On July 15th, 2012, Mount Olivet UMC along with the Arlington Sesquicentennial Committee and Arlington Historical Society will host a Civil War Living History and medical display to honor the church’s use as a field hospital following the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas. As Union troops fled back to Washington, DC in disarray after their rout on the battlefield, Mount Olivet was commandeered to treat the wounded.
Re-enactors from the 49th Virginia Regiment will set up an encampment on the Mount Olivet Green at the corner of Glebe Road and 16th Street. Visitors will meet and converse with soldiers about life in the camp, hardships they face, burdens, daily activities, drills, combat and boredom. Guitar and banjo music will help to carry the visitor back to an earlier day.
Inside the church, visitors can explore the state of Civil War medicine at a detailed display of medical tools and practices assembled from a member of the 49th Virginia’s extensive collection. Guests will gain an understanding of the primitive treatments and appalling conditions the sick and wounded experienced at the time.
The theme of the event is Mount Olivet: A Place of Comfort at a Time of Suffering. “The First Battle of Bull Run was a significant early battle in a conflict that would usher in the horrors and suffering of modern warfare,” says Dr. Bill Carpenter, Archivist and Chair of the Mount Olivet History Team. “The vast numbers of battlefield dead and wounded were unprecedented; the war would transform how Americans thought about death and suffering.”
In July of 1861, pews were broken apart and used as operating tables. Ultimately during the fall, the church was consumed by the surrounding Union encampments’ need for firewood and flooring in tents.
“Although Mount Olivet could no longer serve as a church for a time,” says Dr. Carpenter, “it is important for our community to remember its use to bring comfort and healing to wounded soldiers.”
Other special events during the morning will include:
- Commemorative Sermon. “A Christian Response to Suffering” by Rev. Tim Craig. 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM
- Living History Program. Wounded soldiers carried across 16th St. on stretchers into the church for treatment. 10:30 – 11:00 AM
- Remembrance of Civil War Dead. Laying of wreath on new monument honoring Civil War dead buried in our cemetery.
- “Sleeping Sentinel of Chain Bridge.” Living history presentation, George Dodge. On the stage throughout the day.
- “Lydia Bixby.” Anne Sedula portrays the grieving mother who lost 5 sons during the Civil War. Throughout the day.
- Georgia Meadows in authentic Civil War era widow’s mourning garb available through out the day to discuss 19th century mourning traditions.
Obama Speaks of Peace in Arlington Speech– In his Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama spoke of a “milestone” reached in the past year with the end of the Iraq war. “After a decade under a dark cloud of war, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon.” Mr. Obama also spoke of protecting veterans’ benefits. [Los Angeles Times, Associated Press]
Arlington Church Hosts Rolling Thunder Riders — The Arlington Assembly of God church, located just off Route 50 in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, hosted 300-400 Rolling Thunder riders over the weekend. The motorcyclists made camp outside the church or slept in the church itself. [Arlington Mercury]
Artisphere Gets First Artist-in-Residence — Local artist Beth Baldwin has been selected to be Artisphere’s (1101 Wilson Blvd) first artist-in-residence. Baldwin’s residency will stretch between now and November 11. Her 500 square foot studio will be located off of Artishpere’s main entrance lobby. “Baldwin will collaborate with Artisphere to create programming that involves her work and allows for visitors to learn more about her artistry, including ‘Plushie Design’ classes for all ages,” Artisphere said in a press release.
Hynes will be the featured speaker when the monument is dedicated at the historic Mount Olivet United Methodist Church cemetery (1500 N. Glebe Road) at noon on Sunday, May 27.
The dedication is taking place as the state and the county continue to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The 150+ year old church, it turns out, played an important role in the aftermath of the war’s first major land battle.
“The church was used as a field hospital during the summer by Federal troops retreating from the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21-24, 1861,” church officials noted in an email. “Several who gave their lives in the Civil War found their final resting places in unmarked graves in the cemetery. The new monument now marks their presence and honors their service.”
“Mount Olivet United Methodist Church is proud of its Civil War heritage,” said Hank Hulme, church historian emeritus. “This dedication will be one more important event in the Sesquicentennial celebrations honoring Arlington’s place in Civil War history.”
In addition to the Civil War graves, Mount Olivet also has a connection to the Memorial Day holiday itself. The church contains the grave of Sue Landon Vaughan, one of the early founders of Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy Mount Olivet United Methodist Church
John Slye, senior pastor at Grace Community Church, is two weeks into an eight week sermon series that the church has dubbed “Smokin’ Hot.” A mailer sent to local households took the unconventional step (for a church) of promoting the sermon series with the boldfaced words: “Dating. Sex. Marriage. Porn.”
Though the marketing is unquestionably provocative, the overarching goal of the sermon series is improving relationships. Syle says that all too often, intimacy is lacking from marriages and mutual understanding is missing from relationships.
Slye says stress is often the culprit when there’s not enough sex in a marriage. He said there’s even a term for it: DINS, or “Dual Income, No Sex.”
“We see this in Washington, D.C.,” Slye said. “I mean, there’s so much stress here, we have so many Type A people, and we’re just hard chargers. And sex, even among married couples, is just dropping dramatically because of all the stress.”
“In a marriage, sex is meant to be a really positive thing,” he said. “It’s meant to be the glue that holds the husband and wife together. It’s powerful, and that’s what the Bible speaks about.”
“A lot of times when couples first get married, the sex between them is really bonding, but after a while… it either goes away or dries up,” Slye added. “Eventually, married couples — a lot of them — they’re having sex but they’re not kissing. And eventually they’re not even having sex. And you’ve got to do these certain things to instill the passion.”
Another disconnect in marriages and relationships comes from a lack of mutual understanding, says Slye.
“A man has a certain set of love buttons, and a woman has a certain set of love buttons,” he said. “By default, we think that the other sex’s love buttons are the same as ours. And we’re, like, pushing those buttons and it’s doing nothing for them. We have to learn what the opposite sex’s love buttons are, so we have to be real students.”
“Arlington is one of the smartest areas in the country,” he continued. “But we have to be great students, we have to study this person that we’re in a relationship with harder than we study for our PhD, or Masters, or whatever… Both [partners] need to bring something to the table, and they both need to understand each other.”
Slye’s sermon series is based on the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon, which he describes as “the relationship book of the Bible.”
Faith-Based Advocates Seek More Affordable Housing — A coalition of local churches and community advocates is asking Arlington County to quadruple the amount of tax support it devotes to affordable housing. At a large gathering on Saturday, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) also expressed support for Arlington refocusing its affordable housing efforts to benefit those in the lowest income brackets. [Sun Gazette]
New Metrobus Service Coming — To help make up for a forthcoming service change that will mean six additional minutes of waiting time for trains between the Pentagon and Rosslyn, Metro is expanding bus service between Crystal City and Rosslyn. [Dr. Gridlock]
Freeze Watch Tonight — The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch for tonight. Gardeners should take extra precautions to protect plants should temperatures dip below 32 degrees as forecast. [Capital Weather Gang]
Arlington Educators Honored — Updated at 10:10 a.m. – Patrick Henry Elementary School principal Dr. Lisa Piehota and Wakefield High School teacher Dr. Laurrell Wiersma have been named the Arlington Public Schools principal and teacher of the year. In addition, Drs. Piehota and Wiersma have been honored with the Distinguished Educational Leadership and Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher awards by the Washington Post. A total of 39 teachers and principals from throughout the region were honored by the Post.
Photo courtesy Derek Heiss
After two nomadic years, the congregation of The Church at Clarendon (1210 N. Highland Street) is getting ready to return to their newly-renovated church sanctuary.
Since construction began in late 2009, the congregation has been meeting in venues like Rosslyn’s Top of the Town conference facility and at the First Baptist Church of Ballston. Starting on March 4, they’ll be back home.
Rev. David Perdue, the church’s Interim Senior Pastor, says he’s hoping to not only welcome back those who have stuck with the church through the construction, but to attract new, younger worshipers who might have moved to the area in the intervening years.
“We’re reintroducing ourselves to the community,” Rev. Perdue said. “We’re prepared to receive visitors and let them know: this is who we are.”
The journey to the church’s upcoming homecoming, however, has been a bumpy one. Founded in 1909 as the Clarendon Baptist Church, the church had its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, when up to 2,000 congregants would pack the pews for Sunday services.
The congregation started to wane in the 1970s, and by the 2002 Sunday attendance was consistently dipping below 100. Faced with an aging congregation, a large, aging building, costly needed repairs and utility bills that exceeded $100,000 per year, church leaders took bold action. They hired Rev. Perdue, who formed a younger, more contemporary congregation to supplement the older, traditional congregation, and then struck a deal with Arlington County and a nonprofit developer.
The church sold its “air rights” to the developer for $5.6 million. The developer, in turn, would build an eight-story affordable apartment building — to be called “The Views at Clarendon” — while renovating the two story church below it. It seemed like a win-win: 70 affordable apartments would be added to the Clarendon area (in addition to 46 market-rate apartments), while the church was saved from potential financial ruin.
This morning, as commuters rushed off to work, ministers from St. George’s stood outside the Virginia Square Metro station placing ashes on the forehead of anyone interested in partaking in the solemn Ash Wednesday tradition, which usually takes place inside a church.
“Ashes to Go,” as the service was called, is an outreach initiative that has spread from churches in San Francisco and St. Louis to other cities across the country.
“‘Ashes to Go’ is about bringing church to the people: bringing spirit, belief, and belonging out from behind church doors, and into the places where we go every day,” the church said in a press release. “It’s a simple event with deep meaning, drawing on centuries of tradition and worship across denominations to provide a contemporary moment of grace.”
St. George’s will be back at the Metro station during tonight’s evening commute, offering the imposition of Ashes prior to the church’s 7:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service.
Arlington’s main event is the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade. The free event starts at 8:00 p.m. More than 40 local groups will march in the event, some with floats and the quintessential beads. The parade will run along Wilson Blvd from N. Barton St to N. Irving St. The following street closures will be in effect:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Veitch St to N. Barton St will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams St and Wayne St, between Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd, will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Blvd from Barton St to Irving St will be closed from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Parade-goers are encouraged to use Metro.
If standing outside for a parade isn’t your style, perhaps some of these other options will pique your interest:
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd) promises a celebration of Bourbon Street proportions. The Lundi Gras Party and Dinner kicks things off on Monday at 6:00 p.m. An all-inclusive four course dinner is offered, along with jazz music. On Tuesday, the party starts at 5:00 p.m. with “Parade Route Fare” like gumbo, muff-a-lottas, crawfish etouffee and oysters. Various ticket options are available for food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. Contact the restaurant for ticket options at 703-243-2410 or online.
- Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Rd.) is turning the obligatory Mardi Gras bead throwing into a contest to see who can collect the most. Prizes and specials are available throughout the night, and the evening’s grand prize will be a New Orleans trip.
- You don’t have to have a night out to enjoy some king cake. Pick up one of the fruity, colorful concoctions from Heidelberg Bakery (2150 N. Culpeper St) and enjoy hunting for the plastic baby in the comfort of your home. The bakery is taking advance orders.
- Maybe you can’t wait until Tuesday to begin celebrating. In that case, Lucy’s ARL (2620 S. Shirlington Rd) may be the answer, with its N’awlins-style Mardi Gras on Saturday. Starting at 8:00 p.m., jambalaya, oyster po’ boys and a crawfish boil will be accompanied by festive drinks and music. Free pool will be offered all night, and bead contests take place every half an hour. Tickets can be purchased online.
- Piola (1550 Wilson Blvd) is also starting the festivities early, in addition to focusing on Rio instead of New Orleans. Its 5th Annual Carnival Party takes place on Saturday starting at 9:00 p.m. Brazil’s national cocktails, caipirinhas and caipiroskas, will be served while a live band gets people moving to samba music. Feathers, costumes and masks are encouraged. Contact the restaurant for reservations.
- A number of churches mark Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, with traditional pancake suppers. Because in ancient times people used up all the sugar, fat, flour and eggs in their homes to observe fasting during Lent, many made pancakes. One of the churches having a pancake feast is St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington St). Everyone is welcome from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. A food donation of cereal is also requested. St. George’s Church (915 N. Oakland St) will also hold a pancake supper. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 2-12 or $15 for a family.
Soccer Field to Close for Summer – The synthetic turf field at Virginia Highlands Park, used extensively for soccer games, is expected to be closed for much of the spring and summer so that the turf can be replaced. [Sun Gazette]
Church to Celebrate 50th Anniversary — St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (4250 N. Glebe Road) will be holding a concert next weekend to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The concert, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12. [Falls Church News-Press]
Arlington Man Killed by Dump Truck — Prince George’s County Police are investigating the death of an Arlington County man who was hit by a dump truck in Capitol Heights on Wednesday evening. [Gazette.net]
Someone had the nerve to break into the Greenbrier Baptist Church and steal a laptop last week, according to the latest Arlington County crime report.
BURGLARY, 01/05/12, 5400 block of S. 7th Road. Between 7:30 pm on January 4, and 6:20 am on January 5, an unknown subject entered through a basement window of a local church. A laptop computer was stolen. There is no suspect description.
Also last week, someone was bold enough to break into at least five vehicles in the Pentagon City mall parking garage in the middle of the day.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (SERIES), 01/04/11, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. On January 4 between 9 am and 1:30 pm, an unknown subject broke into at least five vehicles in a mall parking garage. Various items were stolen. There is no suspect description.
The rest of this week’s shorter-than-usual crime report, after the jump.
Community leaders marked the grand opening of The Macedonian (2229 Shirlington Road), a new mixed-use affordable housing development in Nauck (Green Valley), with a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.
The $12 million development consists of 19 one bedroom and 17 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 2,000 square feet of commercial space for the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation (BAJCDC) and a planned business incubator/shared work space. It was developed by AHC Inc. on land owned by the next-door Macedonia Baptist Church with county, state, federal, private and nonprofit financing.
While some of the attention surrounding the Macedonian is due to its environmentally-friendly features — it has a green roof and other energy-efficient accouterments, earning it the first EarthCraft Virginia certification for a multifamily development — the building’s real mission is the preservation and economic development of the diverse Nauck community against the pressures of higher rents and gentrification. The church, the county and BAJCDC have been fighting to keep Nauck affordable, and speakers today described the Macedonian as an important step in that continuing effort.
“There are more sheep to tend, there are more neighbors to help,” said David Bowers, Vice President of Enterprise Community Partners, which helped to fund the development. “Our work is not done.”
Attendees this morning included Rep. Jim Moran, County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin of the Macedonia Baptist Church and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker — a former Arlington resident and friend of Rev. Hamlin.
The Arlington County bomb squad was called out to a grassy lot next to Faith Lutheran Church (3313 Arlington Blvd) in Ashton Heights this afternoon to investigate what looked like a hand grenade.
A bomb technician eventually determined that the object — which was found lying in the grass well away from the church — was not explosive and the scene was cleared within an hour. Based on initial descriptions, the object was likely a toy or a replica hand grenade.