Hard to miss on the corner of 7th and Maine Ave., Riverside Baptist Church is an eclectic and electric blend of old and new. That stone wall from reclaimed stones of the previous building juxtaposed to a modernist expression of glass and gentle wave of a roof is something to behold. I love standing across the street and looking at it. This last week saw the large gable stained glass windows we reclaimed lit up inside the atrium entrance and its colors shatter the windows outside, reflecting yellows and blues and reds into the night. Backlit by LED lights, old craft meets new technology for an art piece that rivals the fire pit at the end of the Recreation Pier for its warmth and appeal.
We’ll have our first service on Nov. 18th at 10 a.m. But we have also been working diligently to create opportunities for our community to cross the threshold into the life of our church. A new worship service on Saturdays at 5:30 will be launched in December–informal, downstairs in the multi-purpose room and made to order for those who are visiting and living around us. We will have a Vespers evening prayer service on Saturday nights and Sunday nights at 7pm–a brief but beautiful service of chanting scripture and praying in candlelight to end the evening. Mid-day Mondays we will offer a brown bag Contemplation for workers (and others) to help start their week and step out of the office for quiet meditation in our beautiful sanctuary. We will offer free once-a-month concerts on third Friday evenings at 7pm because we know that while the Wharf attracts thousands of visitors, not everyone can afford a ticket to the Anthem–December will feature Christmas music and January we’ll hear the Glee Club of Jefferson Academy Middle School perform. Mid-week on Wednesdays, we’ll offer a time of prayer and praise–”Get Lifted” will invite folks to get over the “hump” by offering a time of song, prayer and devotion at 7pm. Tuesdays and Saturdays will offer opportunities to tour the church. And we are going to host Deacon Roy Pott’s program, D.C. Mentoring and Achievement Program (DC MAAP)–a workforce readiness and mentoring program, committed to helping young, low income, and low skilled DC residents find jobs, particularly those between the ages of 18-29.
We have built a beautiful sanctuary that vibrantly connects with the community around it and is an architectural gift to our city (Phillip Renfrow of GBR is our architect). But we also are committed to ministering to this community, engaging it and living fully as Christ’s disciples. I hope you’ll join us in this endeavor. If you’re new to SW, we welcome you and hope you’ll step into a church that is as open-minded and spirited as you are. If you have dropped away during our development phase, come home. We look forward to worshipping with you on Nov. 18th!