The Arlington County Board paused Tuesday (May 22) to honor the legacy of longtime Nauck pastor the Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr., as he heads to D.C. and ends his 22-year tenure at the Macedonia Baptist Church.
The Washington National Cathedral tapped Hamlin for a post working on social justice outreach in February, and he left the Nauck church, located at 3412 22nd Street S., in April.
But Board members didn’t want to see Hamlin go without presenting him with a resolution commending his extensive community engagement in Arlington, as well as a “key to the county.”
“He has been a community leader known for his strategic vision, tireless dedication and passion for providing for our most vulnerable residents,” said Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey.
Dorsey lauded Hamlin’s work on a whole host of community initiatives, like his work to establish the Bonder and Amanda Johnson Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit helping people in Nauck get an education and find a job. Dorsey also commended Hamlin for helping to create the “Macedonian,” an affordable housing development across from the church “which has been in operation since 2011 and has since provided affordable homes for over 100 Arlington families.”
Hamlin also chaired the county’s Affordable Housing Study Working Group and its Diversity Dialogue Task Force, and even served as chaplain to Arlington’s Fire Department, a series of efforts that Dorsey believes left “a permanent impact on our county.”
“All of us want to live in gardens that are beautiful, but those who serve have a responsibility for taking care of the ground that the flowers may be able to come,” Hamlin said in a brief speech. “No matter where we’re placed, our responsibility is to bloom so that someone else might appreciate it. And you’ve given me that opportunity.”
Dorsey noted that Hamlin put down deep roots in Arlington without ever residing in the county — he currently lives in Maryland. Hamlin told ARLnow back in 2016 that he settled in the D.C. area after moving here for college from New York City.
“I’ve never been one to really see life along all of the dividing lines that we create, whether that be geographically, regionally, or by walls,” Hamlin said. “The real sense of us being together comes when we are reaching across lines and reaching out to one another.”
Photo via Arlington County