Arlington, Virginia, November 19, 2019–On Sunday, November 17, Arlington Presbyterian Church (APC) celebrated their homecoming. APC returned to their former site opening a new worship, office and multi-use space on the ground-floor of Gilliam Place, a 173-unit affordable housing community developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) along Columbia Pike.
APC’s move back to their former property where they worshipped for over a century, completes an 8-year journey for their congregation in discerning new ways they might be called to be church in the community. After their bold decision to sell their existing church building and property to APAH for the development of affordable housing in 2014, the congregation returned to lease a portion of the ground-floor retail space from APAH in the completed building. “APC’s new worship space is a communal, Spirit-filled gathering area that invites participation, creativity, and equality for the sake of South Arlington,” said Pastor Ashley Goff. The brand-new multi-use building is named in honor of Ronda A. Gilliam, APC’s first African-American elder, a community leader and clothing ministry founder.
In the spring of 2017, APC purchased back from APAH two single-family home lots preserving open space for the neighborhood. APC is committed to using this space as gathering, garden and prayer space available for all the neighbors to use. “We were called to create a sacred green space for our neighbors and our community. Our garden is an evolving landscape. Our desire is to offer this garden as a place of restoration: a place where life, people, and native plants can find stillness, peace, and healing,” said Susan Etherton, Elder.
APC also looks forward to strengthening their support of La Cocina VA, a nonprofit, bilingual culinary training program for low-income individuals, who will move in next door to APC on the ground floor of Gilliam Place. “We discovered in La Cocina, a like-hearted, mission-oriented non-profit who along with us desires South Arlington to be a place of zero barriers to justice and equality. We’re excited to grow alongside them,” said Susan Etherton.
For over 100 years, Arlington Presbyterian Church has been a place where people of vision, connected with the community, have heard and responded to the needs of our neighbors along Columbia Pike. Arlington Presbyterian Church is also a More Light congregation working towards the full participation of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) — and in society. For more information on Arlington Presbyterian Church, visit www.arlingtonpresbyterian.org, for more information on Gilliam Place and APAH, visit www.apah.org.