The County Board approved a site plan amendment for a new church to go into a planned apartment building at 3001 Jefferson Davis Highway.
The new church — the “Meetinghouse of Worship” — is planned for the first and second floors of the 12-floor residential building. It will be occupy 23,906 square feet of space, with a 300-seat sanctuary, classrooms, administrative offices and a multipurpose room on the first and second floors.
“In the spirit of continuing to work with our property owners on uses that work in buildings, I just want to note that we have approved the location of a church in a commercial building in Potomac Yard,” Board Chair Mary Hynes said. “We think it will be a really interesting addition to what’s going on down there.”
The church will be on the left side of the building, next to 33rd Street. The first floor will have a chapel, multipurpose room and classroom, as well as two bathrooms. There will also be a small retail space next to the chapel. On the right side of the building, the apartment complex will have a lobby and retail space.
“The proposed religious institutions use would be both complementary to, and compatible with the residential and retail use,” the staff report to the Board said.
On the second floor, the church will have administrative offices and classrooms. The residential units start on the second floor on the right side of the building.
With the new plan for the building, the apartment complex will add 11 more residential units, making the total amount of units 342 instead of 331. The parking lot will also have 532 spots up from the initial 438, to accommodate worshipers.
Of those spots, 167 will be for the church: 142 standard spots, 24 compact spots, two handicap spots and two spots for handicap vans.
As reported by the Washington Business Journal, the site plan amendment was proposed by New York City-based real estate investment firm The Praedium Group LLC. The future building will be located just north of the National Gateway office complex, the future U.S. headquarters of German grocery chain Lidl.
The church’s congregation voted in November 2013 to approve the church’s redevelopment into an affordable housing building with a 7,500-square-foot worship space for the church in future years. Last week, the National Capital Presbytery — the region’s governing body for presbyterian churches — approved the sale of the church building at 3507 Columbia Pike.
APAH must now gather financing and go through site plan approval from the county before the sale can close. According to church project manager Jill Norcross, the sale is expected to close in July 2016, which is also when the church’s congregation is expecting to need to find a new home.
“The congregation is thrilled,” Norcross said. “For them, it’s been quite a process, a multi-year visioning process where they’ve had to walk every step of the way. They’ve remained committed, so having the Presbytery approve it is a huge step for them, and they’re really excited about it. The next step is figuring out where they will worship when they leave the site.”
When the plans were approved more than a year ago, it was with the understanding that the new building would be the church’s future home when it opened. Now, Norcross said, APAH will own the land and the building outright, and the church and developer would have to agree on a new lease when the building is built, no sure thing.
“The church has given up any ownership stake in the building,” she said. “That’s what the Presbytery wanted. The church might come back as a tenant, but that’s still to be negotiated between now and 2016.”
APAH hopes to gain approval for a five-story, 142-unit apartment building with ground floor retail space originally intended for a coffee shop.
Preservationists have called for the building, which was built in 1931, to be preserved instead of torn down. The church decided the need for more affordable housing on Columbia Pike, and the opportunity to sell to APAH for millions of dollars, outweighed the idea of preserving the church and its rising maintenance costs.
“The affordable housing is desperately needed on the Pike,” Norcross said. The surprise cancellation of the streetcar did not have an impact on the congregation or the Presbytery’s decision, she said.
Preservation Arlington’s Eric Dobson said he hopes something can be done to preserve the church, because once Arlington’s older buildings are gone, “they’re gone for good.”
“That building was so important to the development of the Pike,” Dobson said. “The materials of the stone and its design… other communities would consider those assets, but in Arlington we seem to ignore that.”
Photo via Preservation Arlington
The incident happened around 5:00 p.m. on January 25 at the Arlington Temple Methodist church in Rosslyn, also known affectionately as “Our Lady of Sunoco” in reference to the gas station below it.
Police say a man was rummaging through the church’s kitchen and trying to steal items when the pastor confronted him. The pastor pulled out his cell phone to call 911, and that’s when the suspect snatched the phone and ran off, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
The pastor did not recognize the suspect, who remains at large. From an ACPD crime report item:
ROBBERY, 150125037, 1800 block of N. Nash Street. At 4:59 pm on January 25, an unknown subject entered the Arlington Temple Methodist Community Center and was attempting to steal items from the kitchen. When confronted by a pastor, the subject stole the pastor’s phone and fled the scene. The suspect is described as a black male in his twenties, approximately 5’8″ tall and 175 lbs. He was wearing a striped khaki jacket, dark pants and a black ear warmer.
Looking for a small, affordable, private, Christian day school with a small town community feel? Can you appreciate a school that begins each day with the students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing My Country ‘Tis of Thee?
Then please come visit the open house at Our Savior Lutheran School, which will be held Saturday, January 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Come see a hidden gem of a school which has been in the heart of Arlington providing education and service since 1952. The school is conveniently located close to the Pentagon and Route 50 in Arlington.
Grades Pre-K (age 4 by September 30) through 8th grade are offered with very small class sizes (only 20 students per class). The elementary school grades have self-contained classrooms, while the middle school is departmentalized. The school also has one of the lowest tuition rates in Northern Virginia. The dedicated, caring teachers work hand-in-hand with an active community of families which make this school thrive.
Students are encouraged to start a life of service through various opportunities:
- Weekly chapel offerings are designed to various groups in need for our neighbors in Arlington and around the world
- Walk for the Homeless and preparing bag meals for A-SPAN
- Letters to pen pans (elderly members of the church congregation)
- Stop Hunger Now — the entire school helped prepare dry meals to send overseas
- Pairing middle schoolers and kindergarteners as chapel buddies
- Sixth graders begin and start the day by raising the American flag and assisting with the Kiss-N-Ride line
Our Savior also offers many extracurricular activities including a music and a choral program, After School clubs that include foreign language (Spanish and French), a Baking Club and a Geometry Club.
If you are interested in what Our Savior has to offer and why this school shines, please come by the Open House on January the 24th or call to schedule a tour any other day. The school is located at 825 S. Taylor St., Arlington, VA 22204 Phone: (703) 892-4846, osva.org.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) is holding a service this Sunday for those who experience what the church calls “the dark side of the holidays.”
“This time of year can be a stressful time for most, but it can be especially difficult for people who may have suffered a major loss or have had a major life-changing experience in the past year,” the church wrote in an email. “Even happy memories can bring pain during the holidays. And, today’s commercialization and idealized images of what our holidays should be like are standards and expectations enough to stress the most ardent among us.”
The service will be on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and is open to all, but is not appropriate for young children, the church said. The service, called “Standing Outside the Season,” will be hosted by Rev. Aaron McEmrys. Childcare will be provided.
The Church at Clarendon (1210 N. Highland Street) is swapping the organ for a laptop and turntable this Saturday night when it hosts an electronic dance music (EDM) show.
The concert will be free and held at the church from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., according to church Community Ministry and Discipleship Director Stephen Taylor. The star of the show will be DJ Rick Solo, a Charlotte-based artist who holds DJ-led, Christian services in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
The Church at Clarendon says it’s trying to reach the younger demographic that lives in the Clarendon area. The church has expanded its community offerings to include yoga classes, game night and a concert series that included a performance from the Go Go Symphony earlier this month, as well as the EDM show.
“At all these events we are trying to serve the community and get people connected,” Taylor told ARLnow.com in an email. “The stereotype that church people are going to be pushy or impose opinions doesn’t fit the reality of the Church at Clarendon. For many people, church is no longer or never was part of their life. If someone wants to explore faith questions here or elsewhere, we welcome it. But if they are not interested, we are just as happy to make new friends and promote community.”
The church gained attention last year for its DJ-led Sunday morning services, and Taylor said Christian EDM is becoming more of a nationwide trend in the church community. DJ Rick Solo plays “similar music to what is on the radio or at a club,” Taylor said.
The church was built in 1964 and designed by architect Charles Goodman, who also designed the original terminal at Reagan National Airport, according to Preservation Arlington. Several other Goodman-designed buildings, including the DCA terminal, have been named to the National Register.
“The building references traditional meeting halls and temple buildings in its form and has character-defining features of the Brutalist style in the Modern Movement,” the building’s registration form for the National Register reads. “Brutalist design sought to dramatize major building elements such as the frame, sheathing and mechanical systems. Known for an emphasis on bulky, heavy massing, Brutalist buildings often feature exterior walls made of unfinished concrete.”
Church additions were built in 1994 and 2013, but the main sanctuary and the plot of land’s site plan, designed by Goodman, have remained largely unchanged, the form states. The congregation wanted the building to “reflect their liberal, progressive beliefs and that would signify the UUCA’s leadership position within the denomination.”
Getting the church named a state landmark was a two-year process, Minister Linda Olson Peebles said. The church and its members were proud to see the architecture be recognized.
“[Congregants] told us they were impressed not only by the quality of the design of the building, but Charles Goodman spent a lot of time with the congregation and incorporating the values and theology of the congregation into the design of the building,” Olson Peebles said. “We’re hoping by it being put on the national registry, people will realize that the physical presence of a group in a community matters. It says something to the world.”
Hat tip to Preservation Arlington
Restoration Anglican Church has opened its new church after more than a year of construction, giving its 500 congregants a permanent home.
The new church’s first service was Sept. 7, and the building at 1815 N. Quincy Street wowed everyone seeing it for the first time, Rev. David Haynke said.
“It was one of those days you wish you could remember for the rest of your life,” he told ARLnow.com inside the church today. “I just sat there and watched people come in and say ‘wow, it’s so beautiful.’ It’s sort of breathtaking.”
The former building, which was built by the now-disbanded Trinity Baptist Church more than 70 years ago, was torn down Aug. 15, 2013, Haynke said. Buying the building and the land from Trinity and constructing the new building cost $4.3 million.
The new church has seating for 375 — “18 inches per butt,” Haynke said — and new space below the chapel to host children’s activities and classes. The church was designed with a terrace to host its now-signature snacks after services, where “we can eat doughnut holes and just talk.”
Restoration had been holding one 5:00 p.m. Sunday service at Little Falls Presbyterian Church, but turnout was low because the time was inconvenient for many people. The pews have been filled for the two services held since the new church opened, Haynke said.
“It’s special because they all know they had at least a small part in it,” the reverend said, referring to congregants’ donations.
The church will be holding a consecration tomorrow, Saturday, at 10:00 a.m. with Bishop John Guernsey of the Mid-Atlantic Anglican Diocese. Haynke said two baptisms will be performed as part of the celebration. The church holds three services on Sundays, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
An Arlington, Va., church has hung 176 T-shirts on its front lawn, with each shirt representing someone shot to death in the D.C. area last year.
First Presbyterian Church, at the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and Vermont Street, steps from Ballston Common Mall, displayed the shirts on Saturday. Each garment shows the name of a victim, the victim’s age and the date in 2013 that he or she died.
Eighty-two white shirts represent people killed in D.C. Victims in Northern Virginia are honored with 31 yellow shirts. And 63 blue shirts were hung for people in Maryland. The display was coordinated by Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based nonprofit with a mission to end gun violence.
“Each [victim] is a human being, a child of God,” a flier the organization is distributing at the memorial reads. “Each one deserves to be remembered. Each passing deserves to be noted and mourned.”
Heeding God’s Call is trying to grow support for its efforts to combat “straw purchasing” done when someone legally purchases guns to re-sell them, sometimes to people who cannot legally purchase a gun because they have a criminal record, a mental illness or are too young. The group says the cemetery-like display is designed to be a reminder that straw purchasing is how many guns “end up illegally in the hands of those who use them to destroy countless lives.”
“Unlike a cemetery, this memorial isn’t behind trees and gates where no one can see it,” the flier reads. “It’s on public view where folks driving, biking or walking past not only can see it but can be reminded of the violence that happens day in and day out in the Greater Washington area and, yes, throughout the country.”
The memorial will be on display through Sept. 27.
Hat tip to @ipadreporter
Flood Watch for D.C. Area — Arlington and the D.C. area is under a flood watch from noon today through later tonight. Another round of showers and thunderstorm with areas of heavy rain is expected today. [National Weather Service]
Bishop Attends School’s Last Mass — Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde attended the final school mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church last week. He “spoke to the palpable presence of both sadness and hope.” The school is closing due to low enrollment. The church’s pastor, meanwhile, is being transferred to another church against his will. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Micah Edmond Profiled — Micah Edmond, the Republican candidate for congress who will be facing off against Democrat Don Beyer in November, says there is a “realistic way” for him to win the race. Edmond, who is African-American, Jewish, a small business owner and a Marine Corps veteran, says he’ll be “reaching out to communities that are often ignored and listening to their cares and concerns and offering solutions.” [InsideNova*]
Arlington Resident Faces Another Murder Trial — Christopher Deedy, a State Department Special Agent from Arlington who’s accused of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a man in Hawaii, is about to face trial again. Deedy’s trial last year ended in a mistrial. [Associated Press]
* Editor’s Note: This website employs popup ads and, during our visit today, autoplay video ads with audio turned on by default and no option for turning it off. For a better user experience, we have linked to a site that displays the article as plain text.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Grace Community Church is holding its first ever “Walk to Church Sunday” event this month, asking its members to get out of their cars on their way to service.
Walk to Church day will be June 22, but those who want to participate can pick up T-shirts and pedometers next Sunday, June 15 in the lobby of the church’s building — it rents space in Thomas Jefferson Middle School, at 125 S. Old Glebe Road — before or after their service.
Building on the success of events like Walk and Bike to School Day, the church is promoting its event as “National Walk 2 Church Day.” While it’s trying to encourage other houses of worship to participate, it’s unclear whether any have joined in on the cause.
The church is asking those not within walking distance to park their cars 15-20 minutes away and walk the rest of the distance.
“Walking is beneficial to your overall health,” the church said in a press release. “This is a great way to get out and get moving and see how many of your church friends and neighbors you spot. We encourage other churches to join us in Walk to Church Sunday.”
Grace Community Church plans for this to be an annual event on the fourth Sunday of June. Churchgoers can walk for either the 9:30 or 11:00 a.m. services.
Shuttleworth Drops Out of Congressional Race — Arlington resident Bruce Shuttleworth has dropped out of the still-crowded race for Congress. There are now 7 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to replace Rep. Jim Moran. Of those, 6 are from Alexandria and only Del. Patrick Hope is from Arlington. [Blue Virginia]
Garvey Phones It In, Literally — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey, who was injured on Friday in a bicycle accident, voted and participated in Tuesday’s County Board meeting via phone. It’s the first time that has been done in Arlington — Virginia law only recently changed to allow board members to participate in meetings via phone in certain circumstances. [InsideNova]
Clarendon Church Turns 105 — The Church at Clarendon (1210 N. Highland Street) will celebrate its 105th anniversary on Sunday. The church will hold a special anniversary worship service at 11:00 a.m. Originally formed as Clarendon Baptist Church in 1909, the church has seen many changes in its 105 years. One recent change was the new sanctuary that was completed in 2012, as part of a controversial deal that added an 8-story affordable apartment complex above the church.
High Streetcar Ridership Projected — While critics bash the combined $585 million estimated cost of the Crystal City and Columbia Pike streetcar lines, streetcar proponents are calling attention to ridership projections. With 37,100 daily riders by 2035, the combined streetcar system is projected to serve more riders than MARC, VRE and the light rail systems in Baltimore, San Jose, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Houston, Seattle and Norfolk. [Greater Greater Washington]
Truck Day at the Library on Saturday — Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) is again inviting children “to get up-close and personal with a menagerie of trucks and buses” in the library parking lot. Truck Day will take place from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. There will also be transportation-related crafts inside the library auditorium. The library is warning nearby residents to expect to hear some noise from the trucks and the kids during the event. [Arlington Public Library]
Mike McMahon worked for some 30 years as a music director for parishes in the conservative Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington. For those 30 years, no one seemed to care that he was gay, as long as he was “discreet.”
As reported by the Washington Post, the 62-year-old was fired last summer from St. Agnes Catholic Church in Cherrydale — not because he’s gay, but because the pastor there found out he had gotten married to a man.
News of the firing has some in the community crying foul.
“It saddens me that certain religious denominations are unable to express and embrace love fully,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette told ARLnow.com. “Their position is anachronistic and uninformed at best, and very hurtful and damaging to many people at worst.”
By all accounts McMahon was good at his job and didn’t let his marriage interfere with his work responsibilities. Is it proper, though, for a church to fire those whose personal lives go against church teachings?
Board to Consider $6.6 Million Homeless Shelter Contract — County staff is recommending that the Arlington County Board approve a $6.6 million contract for construction of the new year-round homeless shelter in Courthouse. The contract includes a $1.1 million construction contingency to cover overages. The contract is “within budget,” a county spokeswoman said. The new Homeless Services Center will include 50 year-round beds, 5 medical respite beds and an additional 25 beds for winter months. [Arlington County]
Hike in ART, STAR Fees Proposed — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan has proposed a hike in fees for the county’s ART and STAR transportation systems. The base fare for ART buses would increase from $1.50 to $1.75 under Donnellan’s proposal. [Sun Gazette]
Ebbin Reflects on Va. Marriage Ruling — State Sen. Adam Ebbin, the first and only openly gay member of the Virginia General Assembly, had mixed emotions after last week’s ruling that the Commonwealth’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. “I always thought if you were gay, you could never get married, you’d never be able to have children,” he told the Washington Post. “I didn’t know you could be gay and be happy.” [Washington Post]
Belly Dancing in Shirlington — Aladdin’s Eatery (4044 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington will be hosting regular belly dancing shows, starting on Thursday. The shows will be performed by faculty from Saffron Dance, which is based in Virginia Square. [Shirlington Village Blog Spot]
Noise Complaint Targets Church — Even God is not safe from noise complaints in Arlington. Police were called to the 2400 block of Shirlington Road in Nauck on Monday night for “a loud church service in the area.” No word on whether officers found an actual violation of the county’s noise ordinance.
Flickr pool photo by Robpc
Last week, St. Charles Borromeo Church, near Clarendon, announced that it will be closing its private K-8 school after this school year.
Administrators say the decision is due to low enrollment — only 117 students are currently enrolled at the school, about half of its capacity. Still, parents are upset with the decision, and wondering whether anything could have been done to save the school.
Here’s a letter from one such parent.
My daughter’s school, St. Charles Borromeo in Clarendon, announced suddenly January 13 that it was closing the K-8 portion this June and “restructuring” as an Early Childhood Center.
“So what?” you must be thinking; Catholic schools have been closing at an alarming rate all over the country.
But it’s not that St. Charles Elementary is closing — it’s the process by which it is closing.
We received an email the morning of the 13th that there was an important letter in our child’s backpack for us. I didn’t give the email another thought until I went to pick up my daughter from extended day, when I saw the stricken faces of other parents. I thought maybe that someone in the school community was very ill or had died. Little did I know it was the news of the school closure.
A letter like that should come at the end of a long fight to save your school — after you have done everything you could think of to raise both enrollment and necessary operating funds. Why were parents not even given the opportunity to try?
We were never afforded the respect and dignity to be invited into the process. We were never given financial information or analyses. We were never notified of the warnings that were apparently delivered from the Diocese to the school. We were never rallied and given a goal to try to attain. We were never given a chance to go down swinging.
We were led to believe that everything was fine. We have an active PTO. We have an active enrollment management committee. We have a brand new, engaging, motivated principal who this school year alone brought in 10 new students.
Look — we are not naïve. We understand the economics of private education in this area and the struggles in trying to compete with the fabulous public schools in the region. Maybe in the end, after fighting the good fight, we would not have succeeded. Then we would have been sad to receive the letter, would have licked our wounds, and at least known we did all we could.
But for things to end this way is unacceptable and disrespectful.
In his letter Father Horace H. “Tuck” Grinnell stated “What defeated us in the end was our low enrollment.” I beg to differ. I believe it was a lack of leadership.
So now St. Charles Elementary — the most diverse Catholic elementary school in the diocese and a shining example of Dr. Martin Luther King’s hopes and dreams — is closing. There is no written transition plan, only vague assurances that families will be welcomed with open arms, and current teachers and staff will be given priority for jobs, at other Catholic schools in the area. I only hope this is the case.
I hope the new St. Charles Early Childhood Center will be a success. Those of you in Arlington looking for a preschool would have the joy of working with Principal Angela Rowley and her staff. She is the finest example of Christian love and charity and will educate and care for your children like they were her own. If she can’t make this new center a success, then no one can.
But learn from our situation — demand transparency and participation at all times. Demand accountability from the parish, the superintendent of Catholic schools at the diocese, and from the bishop himself. Maybe then something good will come out of St. Charles Elementary’s untimely and unnecessary death.
In the fall my daughter’s third grade teacher read the class the children’s version of Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea.” On their own the class decided to raise funds for Pennies for Peace, the charity supporting schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They set a goal of $400, and to be honest, I didn’t think there was any way they could raise that amount of money. I thought it would be a great learning experience that sometimes you can’t meet a goal you set.
The kids raised almost $900. Just imagine what their parents could have done for St. Charles Elementary if only we were given the chance.
To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected]. Letters to the editor may be lightly edited for content and brevity.