Monday, October 05, 2015

East Capitol Urban Farm

Please Join Us at a Special Opportunity for
Inter-Generational Work in Our City.
Community Improvement Day - Saturday, October 17
East Capitol Urban Farm (5900 East Capitol St. SE)
First of all, thank you! Thanks to all our many partners & friends, our East Capitol Urban Farm Build Day was a huge success. On Saturday, ground was broken on the East Capitol Street Urban Farm, which is an Urban Food Hub. Countless partner organizations and neighborhood groups brought together close to 1000 volunteers who transformed a vacant corner lot into a fabulous community-oriented project consisting of a farming space, community gardens, rain gardens, a nature trail, playground, and community art space. The joint effort was a model community oriented partnership that will measurably improve the quality of life and economic prosperity of people and communities in the District of Columbia.

We completed about the 75% of the work on Saturday, September 26. We will complete the remainder on Saturday, October 17. We need YOU again! We also need volunteers to help water and maintain the site on a continual basis. The tasks of watering and maintenance can begin immediately.

In coming weeks you will hear much more from us regarding site activities, educational opportunities, programs offered on site, and special events. Thanks again for being a integral part of this effort! Together, we can make a difference.

Please come out and join us on October 17 and bring a friend! For more information, contact Rev. Dottie Yunger.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Red Tent Project - UMW Sunday
Sunday, September 27

Known euphemistically as "feminine protection products," pads and tampons are a basic necessity of women...though not discussed in polite conversation. Nevertheless, when the United Methodist Women heard of a particular need at a program that Metropolitan supports, they took up the cause.

Organizers of a free meal program at Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church in NE DC recently discovered that the homeless and poor women eating at the twice-weekly program were reusing their feminine protection, as the clients lacked money to buy their own adequate monthly supply. Mt. Vernon contacted Metropolitan, which provides the free meals to Mt. Vernon through the Campus Kitchen program, and asked if the church could offer any help. Metropolitan then turned to the United Methodist Women. And so The Red Tent Project was born.

The title of the 1997 book by Anita Diamant, The Red Tent, refers to Old Testament times in which the women of the tribe of Jacob retreated to a red tent during their menstrual cycle where they found the support of sisters, mothers, and friends.

The UMW will be collecting pads and tampons for the next month, kicking off the project this Sunday, September 27 at UMW Sunday. Find a red tent in the Vestry during the UMW program and drop off your donations there. 

The Red Tent Project runs through the end of October. If you're not able to attend UMW Sunday but would still like to support The Red Tent Project, please find collection spots at Wesley UMC and at Metropolitan Memorial or contact UMW member Anita Seline.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Two Service Opportunities in September

Dear Friends,

I invite you to join us for two important service opportunities in September.

Affordable Housing Worship and Rally
September 20, 3pm, Brighter Day's A.P. Shaw Campus (2525 12th Place, SE)
A little over two years ago, our Metropolitan community joined with our brothers and sisters at Brighter Day UMC in a very powerful joint worship service that brought a focus on Parkway Overlook, a site with great potential for the development of affordable housing.  There is a desperate need to have more affordable housing in DC.  As a result of our efforts, significant progress was made.  Ownership of the property was transferred to the DC Housing Authority a year ago with the intent that the property would be redeveloped.  However, it was just in the last two weeks that a preliminary redevelopment plan was presented with no numbers on what it will cost or whether the city is committed to providing the needed funds.   

We have invited Mayor Bowser, members of the DC Council, directors of housing agencies in the DC government, members of WIN, and members of the press to another joint worship service and rally.  Members of our Dayspring, Chancel, and Wesley choirs will participate and we will again move from worship to a rally in the neighborhood of Parkway Overlook (which is adjacent to the A.P. Shaw church).  Please join us for this time of worship and advocacy for an issue for which  Metropolitan has provided leadership for decades. 

Community Improvement Day
Saturday, September 26, 8am – 6pm, 5929 East Capitol St. SE 
We are partnering with the University of the District of Columbia to bring a three-acre urban farm to Ward 7. The farm will be a multi-purpose/food production Urban Farm providing space for growing healthy food along with space for other community activities. You can help! Join us for a Community Improvement Day. Hosted by the DC Building Industry Association, hundreds of volunteers from across the city will join with DCBIA architects and engineers to renovate the site. We will send a team from our three sites to be part of this. Lunch is provided and no experience is necessary.  If you are interested in volunteering, contact Rev. Dottie Yunger,


Rev. Dr. Charles A. Parker
Senior Pastor, The Metropolitan Church
A Multi-site United Methodist Community
Extending Radical hospitality, transforming lives, and pursuing justice

3401 Nebraska Ave., NW
Washington, DC  20016
(202) 363-4900

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prophetic Voices

During September -- in answer to the invitation that has been issued from voices as diverse as the United Methodist Women to the Bishops of the AME Church to President Obama -- we are exploring the topic of Prophetic Voices as we enter into a conversation about race.

This is a conversation that has taken shape over several years in our Metropolitan community as we have sought to become a multi-cultural church in our merger between Metropolitan Memorial and Wesley and our St. Luke’s Mission Center, as we deepened our partnership with Brighter Day UMC in Ward 8, and as we continue to broaden our partnerships across the Anacostia River. So, in the four Sundays of September, we will look at various aspects of how race impacts our lives and the world around us. Throughout the series, the readings will be taken from the lectionary.

On September 6, the sermon was on Race and Economics and we looked at issues of race and poverty. Our gospel lesson was the powerful story of Jesus’ own expanding understanding of his ministry as he engages the Syrophoenician woman and looks at racism in his own cultural contest.  Combined with this reading, the letter of James invited us to explore how racism impacts our church’s commitment to address poverty.

On September 13, the sermon addressed Race and Language, as we reflected on the lectionary texts of Isaiah 50: 4-9 and James 3:1-12. While we sometime lament the obligation to speak in ways that are “politically correct,” we cannot lose sight of how the words we choose shape how people hear us. With our rich history of racial epithets, how we use language becomes even more critical (witness the interesting dialogue about “Black lives matter” vs “All lives matter”).

On September 20, the Sermon title will be Race and Housing, and we will have an opportunity to hear from our wonderful ministry partner, Rev. Ernest Lyles, Senior Pastor of Brighter Day, a multisite United Methodist Church in South East DC. Metropolitan and Brighter Day have been in a very effective and wide ranging partnership since the summer of 2011. Ernest and I are doing a pulpit exchange on the morning of September 20, and we are delighted to welcome him back to our Metropolitan Memorial pulpit. That afternoon at 3pm, our Metropolitan community will join with our brothers and sisters at Brighter Day in a joint worship service and rally that will focus on affordable housing (see front page).

On September 27, we will close out this sermon series with a focus on Race and Gender.  It is United Methodist Women’s Sunday, and our UMW has invited a wonderful theologian to our pulpit, Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., the Associate General Secretary, Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace at the National Council of Churches. We look forward to hearing the prophetic voice that Rev. Alexander will bring to our conversations about race.

I hope that you will join us this month as we journey together into some difficult and challenging territory, but territory that God is calling us to explore together. We are blessed with all of the gifts of being a multicultural church in a multicultural country and world, and we are called to be inclusive and sensitive to the power of racism in all of our lives. 


Rev. Charlie Parker

Monday, September 14, 2015

September Means Time To Learn!

I always loved the new school year. Unused crayons, sharp pencils, fresh notebooks, new ideas and new friends – September was the best time of year. At Metropolitan, we get to have that new school year experience too. September marks the beginning of our Christian education year!

Children’s Sunday school resumes September 20. The second floor classrooms are clean, freshly painted, and ready to welcome our children. If you haven’t been upstairs in a while, come take a look.

Our Sunday school uses Godly Play for preschool through 4th grade. Godly Play is a Montessori-based curriculum that lets children listen to the stories of the Christian faith, wonder about their meaning, and then interpret these stories through art, reflection, movement, and play. Godly Play recognizes that children already experience God in their daily lives, and gives them the vocabulary and stories to express their experiences. The approach is open to questions and wonder, not rote learning. 

In 5th grade, the children are moving to the new Submerge curriculum from the United Methodist Cokesbury publishers. Submerge immerses tweens in the Bible, while allowing them to discuss some of the issues and concerns that arise as they move into adolescence. Submerge focuses on practical, daily faith, and how we live out our faith in the world through service, love and justice.

Youth Sunday school also resumes September 20, with an open house and parent meeting on September 13.  You can discover more about our youth and what they are doing by following their adventures here.

Adult Sunday school continues throughout the year. We are blessed to have several active, lay-led groups that explore a variety of topics. All classes are open to newcomers. For details and contact information on adult classes, click here.

Food for Thought resumes on Wednesday, September 30. A community dinner is available at 6pm for $8/person. At 7pm, you have your choice of a Bible study led by Rev. Charlie Parker and Bob Olson, or a topical study. Our first topical study of the year will be “Race & Bias.” Details about this class can be found on page five. Food for Thought continues throughout the school year with a different book of the Bible and a different topical study each month.

Disciple Bible Study. We are reintroducing this long-term Bible study class to Metropolitan this year. For details, click here or contact me.

Join the Journey. Interested in joining our church? Want to learn more about the Christian faith, Methodist Church, and us here at Metropolitan Memorial, Wesley, and St. Luke’s? This is the small group for you! Rev. Dottie Yunger leads our Sunday group at Metropolitan Memorial during the study hour (Room 106) and Rev. Kate Payton leads our Thursday evening group at 7pm at Wesley Library (5312 Connecticut Ave., NW). Contact Pastor Kate.

Even if you are too old to celebrate unbroken crayons or a new lunchbox, you are never too old to celebrate the chance to learn and grow in your faith. I invite you to participate in learning this year at Metropolitan!

Rev. Janet Craswell

Community Improvement Day - Sunday, September 26!

Metropolitan’s feeding ministries have expanded east of the Anacostia River, providing food for folks living in food insecurity and in food deserts (limited access to full service grocery stores). As we continue to provide meals to those in need, we are also addressing the systemic reasons why folks do not have reliable access to fresh, affordable food. We are partnering with the University of the District of Columbia to bring a three-acre urban farm to Ward 7, near the Capitol Heights Metro and on unused DC Housing Authority land.   UDC is developing a vacant lot at 5929 East Capitol St. SE (E. Capitol St. SE & Southern Ave SE) into a multi-purpose/food production Urban Farm. The farm will provide space for growing healthy food along with space for other community activities.

You can help! Join us on Saturday, September 26th (from 8am to 6pm) for a Community Improvement Day. Hosted by the DC Building Industry Association, hundreds of volunteers from across the city will join with DCBIA architects and engineers to renovate the site. We will send a team from our three sites to be part of this. Lunch is provided and no experience is necessary. To see how a DCBIA Community Improvement Day works, visit If you are interested in volunteering, contact Rev. Dottie Yunger at

The transformation of the East Capitol Urban Farm provides research and development opportunities for urban agriculture while enhancing the quality of and access to local and sustainable food sources for the community. In addition, the scope of work includes community and themed gardens, nature play and demonstration areas, terraced farming as well as a fully functional marketplace. The goal is to create additional revenue generating opportunities for entrepreneurs in Ward 7 while also providing a fully integrated communal urban farm. For more information about UDC’s project, visit

Friday, September 11, 2015

InspireDC sets the table for hospitality

Members of InspireDC, a new BWC faith community, joined with members of area churches, Campus Kitchens, the new FEED ministry and other community groups for a Back-to-School block party outside Mt. Vernon UMC in Washington, D.C.

InspireDC sets the table for hospitality

By Erik Alsgaard
UMConnection Staff

A common factor throughout Jesus’ ministry was his love of gathering people together to eat. From the feeding of the 5,000 to the Last Supper, time and again we read of Jesus sharing a meal with people.

So when hundreds of people gathered outside Mount Vernon UMC in Washington, D.C., on a sunny Saturday in August, it should not have been surprising that they gathered around a table to eat, except that this table was 800 feet long, ran right down the middle of Gault Place and sat more than 500.

“For far too long, different parts of our city have remained isolated and disconnected from one another,” said the Rev. Dottie Yunger, director of Metropolitan Memorial UMC’s Campus Kitchen Project. The project provides food every week for Mount Vernon’s neighborhood feeding program, and for other programs. “What we want to show with this table here today is that folks from all over the city are coming together and we’re gonna sit down and we’re gonna share a meal together.”

Rather than holding their regular Saturday meal inside the church, leaders decided to hold it outside and turn it into a block party, complete with moon bounce and entertainment on a stage.

With hotdogs, fresh vegetables, hand-made coleslaw and a variety of other foods, neighborhood residents who often don’t wave hello to one another, or who only see each other while sitting on a front porch in the evening breeze, got together as one.

Yunger noted that the District – like Baltimore City to the north – has experienced a rise in homicides in 2015. However, she noted, as people of faith come together to break bread, relationships are formed and neighborhoods and communities are strengthened.

Yunger said that there are about 50 Campus Kitchen Projects (CKP) throughout the United States. The CKP, which is part of the DC Central Kitchen network, works with food providers on various college campuses to recover food that otherwise would go to waste. That recovered food, then, is shared throughout communities in need.

Yunger’s CKP is housed at St. Luke’s UMC in Washington, D.C., part of the overall ministry of Metropolitan Memorial UMC. Her program is a “little different,” she said, in that it is not housed on a college campus.

“We work with local universities nearby and students from those colleges run the program,” she said.
Robrette Vaden, the Executive Director of InspireDC, was also at the event. She said the block-long meal almost didn’t happen. The mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, cancelled it just days before it was scheduled.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Children enjoy a moment in the moon bounce; hotdogs and fresh fruit were on the menu; a child proudly shows a new backpack; hundreds of people sat down at a very long table to enjoy a meal together; Robrette Vaden (L) and the Rev. Dottie Younger (R); Pastor Armon Nelson (R) of Mount Vernon UMC, and his wife, La Taska.
Hundreds of people sat down at a very long table to enjoy a meal together; Robrette Vaden (L) and the Rev. Dottie Younger (R); Pastor Armon Nelson (R) of Mount Vernon UMC, and his wife, La Taska.

“We got on the phone, and we were like, ‘We have to make this happen,’” she said. And they did.
“We don’t want to look like we’re coming from 20011 (ZIP Code) or 20005 to come and serve in 20019, because we’re a part of the community, we are the community. There was just this outcry that this had to happen.”

Vaden’s group – not a church but a non-profit group of mainly young adult United Methodists – were there because of their love for “20019,” the ZIP Code of the block party neighborhood.
“We need to be here, to rally around what is going on in two-hundred and nineteen,” she said. “There is so much good happening here.”

InspireDC partners with various organizations throughout the city to serve others. “We are like the umbrella organization,” she said, noting that other feeding programs are in the works, including hydroponic gardening and sustainable fish farming.”

InspireDC will also be providing education opportunities for churches in the community, offering ways to alleviate at-risk hunger.

Looking out at the table, now filled with people sharing a meal, Vaden stood amazed.

“Thank God that this happened,” she said. “We have plenty of people and plenty of food. We have a table with people sitting at it. People that may never sit at a table at home; they may not have a dining room table, but they are dining at a table in their community. It makes me, like, crazy, but I love it and I’m excited.”

“The violence that we’ve seen in the community this week is not the only story,” said Yunger. “The more we are in community together, the more that good things can happen.”

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Worship Training Camp - Saturday, September 12

Worship Training Camp
Saturday, September 12, 9:30am to 12:30pm, Vestry
(Lunch to Follow)
The Praise Pillar invites you to become a part of our team. On baptism and new member Sundays, we respond as a congregation, to “renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness…” When we actively participate in worship we are present, we pray, and we bear witness, AND, we do all of this in communication with each other.

Our focus this September will be on expanding and supporting our Welcoming Ministries, including our dedicated usher and greeter corps. We will be joined by Rev. Drema McAllister-Wilson and other members of the Caring Pillar as we explore what it means to be on the front line of this very important ministry. Our ushers and greeters are often the very first person a visitor meets when they come to Metropolitan. We will explore what is involved, how we can do it better, how we can expand our reach (into the parking lot and more) and how we can grow.

The morning will be structured with a time of gathering and prayer (lectio devina) and opening remarks from Drema.  We are offering breakout groups on several different areas we would like to expand and grow in the coming year. Rev. Charlie Parker will join us as well. The areas were chosen based on the visioning done by our Church Council last year: Welcoming Team, Contemplative Worship, Leading Worship at 11:15, Scriptures as Drama, Acolytes, and Flower Arranging.

I hope that you will join our team. There is a place for everyone: whether you function as a quarterback and want to lead worship, or you see yourself as welcoming people to worship; maybe you’d like just a small part in a drama (no memorization required), or you love to arrange flowers and beautify our Sanctuary; maybe you have teenagers (or preteens) and becoming an acolyte or their mentor will offer a doorway to worship; maybe you’ve enjoyed our Lenten Contemplative Communion services or our Wednesday morning meditation groups and you’d like to help grow that ministry. 

Come join our team. We have a place for you. For more information or to rsvp for the training event, please contact Pat House.