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Activist DC Church

Activist D.C. Church Embraces Transition

Activist DC Church

“We’ve got to move from believing so deeply to doing … we’ve got to keep in mind the discrepancy between belief and embodiment … viewing our faith as an urgent tool to change the world.” Cosby.

The Church of the Saviour was never a conventional church. It has no pews, no Sunday school, not even a Christmas service. Instead, for 60 years this small, unusual group based in Northwest Washington has quietly fueled a revolution in faith-based activism.

Thousands of people are served by dozens of organizations started by the church, part of the intense social justice work mandatory for members. One of its programs found jobs for 800 people last year. Another provided 325 units of affordable housing. There’s Columbia Road Health Services. Christ House medical services for the homeless. Miriam’s House for women with AIDS. And on and on.

But now the grass-roots orientation that has animated the church for decades might lead it to disband. The church always has favored small groups over large and has been wary of entrenched institutions. So as it loses two of its own bedrocks — its founder and its longtime headquarters — and opts, for now, not to replace either, the church is asking itself questions about its very existence.

Since the late 1940s, Cosby has preached every Sunday morning at what members call “2025.” The gathering has taken on a special significance as Cosby has pressed for the church to break into small faith “communities” with their own social justice goals and worship services, an unorthodox structure the church believes leads to more creativity, intimacy and accountability.

Adapted from Activist D.C. Church Embraces Transition in Name of Its Mission

By Michelle Boorstein

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 6, 2009; Page A01

What do you think about the discrepancy between believing and doing? What implications might that have for your church? … your church budget? … spirituality and social justice?

St Andrew's Wesley Church