Arlington, VA

A man has been accused of stealing from a Lyon Park church.

Police were called to the Clarendon United Methodist Church just before midnight Saturday for a “report of a burglary in progress.” A man who had broken into the church before had burglarized the church and was leaving the building with several items when officers arrived, according to Arlington County Police.

More from this week’s ACPD crime report:

BURGLARY, 2019-04200282, 600 block of N. Irving Street. At approximately 11:48 p.m. on April 20, police were dispatched to the report of a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the property manager was alerted to the presence of a known male suspect who had gained entry to a church. Arriving officers located the suspect exiting the building in possession of items allegedly stolen from inside. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the suspect had entered the building unlawfully on multiple prior occasions. William Barker, 56, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Burglary (x2) and Trespassing (x2).

More highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported, are below.

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Local congregations are hosting a benefit concert in May to raise funds for families affected by gun violence.

The concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington at (4444 Arlington Blvd) on Saturday, May 4 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now for $10 per person or $25 for families.

The concert will begin with a performance from the children’s choir from Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church.

Choirs from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, All Souls Church in D.C. by Columbia Heights, and Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax are scheduled to then perform Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” together.

Local faith leaders have raised awareness of gun violence before. The Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ displayed 155 T-shirts outside the church three years ago in remembrance of the people who were killed with guns in the Greater Washington area that year.

Photo courtesy of UUCA

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A Catholic church is Nauck is making a big move to solar power, installing a large, cross-shaped set of solar panels over the last few weeks.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church, located at 2700 19th Street S. on the border of the Army Navy Country Club, announced what it described as “the largest solar array at a place of worship” in Arlington in a press release yesterday (Tuesday).

The church says the new solar array includes 319 panels in all, generating a total of “over 95 kilowatts of solar capacity.” That should help the church account for just under half of all its power needs across its buildings on the property.

Parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Peace said they were inspired to take on the solar project by Pope Francis’ efforts to spur Catholics to take action on climate change, in addition to recent warnings from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change that countries around the world must take drastic steps to prevent the worst effects of global warming.

“We wanted to try to get as much energy as we can from a renewable source,” church parishioner Luc DeWolf wrote in a statement.

The church is working with the D.C.-based firm Ipsun Solar on the project. According to the company’s blog, an investor will provide the $233,000 in up-front costs for the project, then the church plans to sell back excess energy generated by the panels to Dominion Energy. The church hopes to then pay back that investor with the cash it raises through that process, and even support its operating budget going forward.

Parishioners project that in the solar array’s first year alone, it will “reduce carbon emissions by an amount equal to preventing nearly half a railcar of coal from being burned.”

Our Lady Queen Peace will hold a reception Saturday (March 9) at 10 a.m. for anyone interested in learning more about the solar project.

Photo 2 via Ipsun Solar

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Morning Notes

Arlington County Prepares for Winter Weather — Though a winter storm this weekend is looking increasingly unlikely for the area, Arlington County says it is preparing for a snowy winter and “will be ready to fight back” against snow and ice. [Arlington County]

More Solar Panels for APS — “Arlington County Public Schools signed a contract on Thursday night that they say will save them millions of dollars. Five of their schools will be made over with solar panels as part of a power purchase agreement, or PPA, with a Charlottesville, Virginia firm called Sun Tribe Solar.” [WUSA 9]

Fire at Ledo Pizza — Firefighters responded to an electrical fire at the Ledo Pizza restaurant in the Red Lion hotel in Rosslyn yesterday. The fire was extinguished by a sprinkler system. [Twitter]

Amazon, Pentagon City and Housing — Most or even all of Amazon’s permanent presence in Arlington could actually be in Pentagon City, not Crystal City. That presents an opportunity to add more housing, including affordable housing, in Pentagon City. [Greater Greater Washington]

American May Add Flights at DCA — “American Airlines is closely ‘studying’ online retailer Amazon’s plans to open a second headquarters steps away from its hub at Ronald Reagan Washington National airport, where it is already planning to add seats at the slot-controlled facility. ‘We absolutely plan to upgauge at DCA,’ the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s vice-president of network Vasu Raja tells FlightGlobal.” [FlightGlobal]

Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration — “On Saturday, December 8, approximately 300 people are expected to pour into Saint Agnes Catholic Church’s Parish Hall in Arlington to celebrate the anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. Following the Mass, there will be a candle lit procession with some of the faithful carrying a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, followed by praying the rosary, and a potluck dinner with live entertainment -a mariachi band!” [Diocese of Arlington]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

GMU Arlington Building Renamed — “Founders Hall, one of two major academic buildings on George Mason University’s Arlington Campus, was officially renamed Van Metre Hall after Mason’s Board of Visitors approved the change at its Oct. 10 meeting. The board’s action recognizes the generosity of the Van Metre Companies, a major regional builder that donated 37 acres in Ashburn, Virginia, to the George Mason University Foundation.” [George Mason University]

Overturned Vehicle on Washington Blvd — Near the tail end of yesterday morning’s rush hour a vehicle flipped on its roof along Washington Blvd, between Route 50 and Clarendon. The westbound lanes of Washington Blvd were blocked for a period of time. One person suffered minor injuries. [Twitter]

County Ranks High for Resident Satisfaction — “According to Arlington’s recent Community Satisfaction Survey, 88 percent of residents surveyed are satisfied with the overall quality of County services, 38 percentage points above the national average… Arlington also rated significantly above the national average for overall quality of life — 86 percent compared with 75 percent.” [Arlington County]

Local Credit Union Merger — “Arlington Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU) announced today the merger of ACFCU with the Queen of Peace Arlington Federal Credit Union (QPAFCU). The combined asset size is $325 million, with nearly 22,500 members.” The Queen of Peace Arlington FCU is located in a church in the northeast corner of the Nauck neighborhood, near the back entrance to Army Navy Country Club. [CUInsight]

Venture-Funded Company Moving to Rosslyn — “FELA, the financial education and literacy company, today announced its rebrand to LifeCents. The name LifeCents is also the company’s health and wellness app that inspires and empowers people to improve their financial health and well-being… The team will move to Rosslyn, VA, at the beginning of next year to accommodate its continued growth.” [BusinessWire via Potomac Tech Wire]

Arlington Has Nightlife Advantage Over Tysons — Despite worries about competition from Tysons among local economic development boosters, the Fairfax County community doesn’t yet have Arlington’s nighttime vibrancy. Said one Tysons bar owner: “A lot of people leave here. They’re done with their job at 6:30 or 7 p.m. and they go home. They don’t come back. If they want to go out, they go to Arlington.” [Tysons Reporter]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Morning Notes

More Housing Coming to Pentagon City — Developer LCOR is working on plans for a new apartment building in Pentagon City, to be built on a site that currently houses a blocky, low-slung building containing Verizon telecommunications infrastructure. Arlington has seen “a rising demand for luxury rentals,” including at a recently-completed LCOR building in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal, Washington Business Journal]

Woman Charged With Bringing Gun to DCA — “The TSA said an Arlington, Virginia, woman was stopped at a checkpoint at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday with a loaded 9 mm handgun in her carry-on bag. There were 14 bullets in the handgun, including one in the chamber. She was cited by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police.” [WTOP]

New Pastor for Local Church — “St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will host ‘A Celebration of New Ministry’ to salute the arrival of the church’s new rector, Rev. Dorota Pruski, on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. at the church, 4000 Lorcom Lane.” [InsideNova]

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A massive pipe organ that was once housed in the demolished Arlington Presbyterian Church is getting a new chance to make music, this time in Alexandria.

The organ was a centerpiece of the church for decades, back when it was still located along Columbia Pike. But the church’s congregation agreed to work with the county to redevelop the property into an affordable housing complex back in 2016, leaving the instrument’s long-term fate in doubt.

Though Arlington Presbyterian moved to a new space over on S. Glebe Road, church leaders decided to offer up the organ to give away. As it happened, the Calvary Presbyterian Church in Alexandria (6120 N. Kings Highway) had a pressing need open up for an organ at the exact same time.

Calvary leaders say their old organ was diagnosed with “metal fatigue,” which they deemed to be a “death sentence” for instrument. Accordingly, Calvary wrote to their Arlington counterparts to express their interest.

By April 2016,  Arlington Presbyterian told Calvary that the organ was theirs — if it would fit in their church.

“Out came the measuring tapes and, lo and behold, the pipes would fit like a glove within the church’s balcony,” the church wrote in a release. “Moreover, the baroque-like appearance of the pipes would find a comfortable home in Calvary’s sanctuary, which was constructed in 1954 and remains faithful to the traditional style of churches from that era.”

Even still, Calvary said the move required a “Herculean effort of a team of architects, engineers, carpenters, electricians, construction contractors, asbestos remediators, consultants, inspectors, and organ technicians.”

“It was more than two years from Calvary’s selection for the instrument to be installed and operational, following a celebratory and cathartic pipe washing party,” the church wrote. “Today, as you look upward from the pulpit of Calvary’s sanctuary on Old King’s Highway, what would make generations of parishioners from both Arlington and Calvary proud is that their pipe organ looks right at home, like it’s always been there.”

Calvary is even planning a special dedication ceremony for the organ, set for Sunday (Sept. 23) at 10 a.m.

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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

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A push to overhaul Clarendon’s St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church for the first time in nearly 30 years is gaining steam.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Don Planty, wrote to parishioners in a newsletter Sunday (May 13) that St. Charles is moving forward with a proposal to “redevelop” the parish site, which is located on prime land at 3304 Washington Blvd. The next step is to get approval for a redevelopment from the diocese and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

Planty wrote that the parish has spent the last 10 months or so gathering feedback on the issue. One town hall meeting asked parishioners: “If our parish had an empty city block-if we could start from scratch — what structures would you envision that would best support our mission?”

Church leaders found a “consensus that a timely redevelopment of the St. Charles parish campus would better serve the church’s mission in general and the parish’s mission in particular.”

The church’s website says the building was last overhauled in 1990. More from Planty’s letter:

I am happy to report that the consultation phase regarding a potential parish site redevelopment has concluded and that I have submitted a report to Bishop Burbidge. The consultation process revealed a consensus that a timely redevelopment of the St. Charles Parish campus would better serve the Church’s mission in general and the parish’s mission in particular. A strong majority of parish stakeholders, and all diocesan stakeholders, are enthusiastic about the possibilities that a future redevelopment of the St. Charles campus could bring. Having spent ten months soliciting broad feedback from representative parishioners and diocesan officials, according to the plan approved by Bishop Burbidge, I am confident that there is a great desire to redevelop the St. Charles Parish site, and therefore have requested that Bishop Burbidge formally approve further redevelopment efforts.

Other churches in Arlington have funded new facilities through redevelopment of the church property, including Arlington Presbyterian along Columbia Pike and the Church at Clarendon in Clarendon, both of which approved affordable housing developments that were built on top of the new church spaces.

St. Charles leaders are interested in addressing “an aging parish infrastructure,” “the projected growth in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor” and “the need for facilities which better support the parish mission now and in the future,” according to its website.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]

Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

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The Bethel United Church of Christ’s building in Buckingham is on the market for just over $2.1 million.

Per a real estate listing, the church “is priced at [the] county’s assessed value for a fast sale” and stained glass windows will be removed by the church before the sale. It has been on the market for 18 days as of this article’s publication.

The three level church is located on a .37 acre parcel at 4347 Arlington Boulevard. It is also a location of a multicultural, full-day preschool program known as Children’s International School.

The Bethel UCC congregation is moving to the nearby Arlington Church of the Brethren, in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood, according to a Facebook post from last year.

“After a year of meetings, of wondering, of worrying, and praying, Bethel United Church of Christ yesterday decided that God and Jesus were calling us to change,” the June 26, 2017 post said. “We will leave the building we have occupied for seven decades and begin a covenantal relationship with Arlington Church of the Brethren.”

Messages left for the church and the preschool’s founder were not immediately returned. A preschool employee suggested that it was considering buying the building, but nothing was finalized.

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