Welcome to Christ Church + Washington Parish
Christ Church + Washington Parish is an Episcopal church located in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Since 1794, it has served as a place of worship and community with parishioners including John Phillip Sousa and Thomas Jefferson. As the neighborhood has continued to flourish, we have grown steadily over the last decade to a community of 131 pledging families and average Sunday attendance of over 200. From the new high rise apartment buildings around our Nationals ballpark, D.C. United’s new stadium and the new waterfront development, to the row houses dating back to the 1800s, it is a vibrant community to draw from as we continue into the future. We are seeking a rector to engage with us and in the community, to challenge and inspire our parish, and help us as we are called to be a beacon for all those in our community seeking Christ’s love.
Our mission is to be a welcoming, diverse, thankful, and joyous Episcopal community of faith committed to nurturing its members and neighbors through worship, community, and service.
Our goals and Challenges
Our goals are:
- To be a church where all people feel welcomed, valued, and included as engaged participants in a community of faith;
- To be a beacon of faith in our neighborhood and the larger community, responsive to its spiritual needs as the population continues to grow and change, and to be a church people are drawn to;
- To grow our church thoughtfully, ensuring inclusion as we grow;
- To continue to grow a strong lay leadership in a sustainable way and strive for more shared decision making in significant decisions;
- To maintain the vibrancy of our church fellowship through our small groups, liturgy, music, food-based fellowship, children’s programs, adult forums, and other activities; and
- To expand our outreach and strive for more opportunities to serve the broader community.
Our challenges are:
- Maintaining our strong sense of community and our connectedness as the parish grows;
- Navigating the physical constraints of a small, historic facility as we grow;
- Promoting diversity in our congregation;
- Providing ways for our parish to engage in the complicated and often uncomfortable issues facing our community, nation, and world cooperatively and productively; and
- Increasing stewardship and other income sources to ensure funding for an assistant rector position and more church staff, to include expanding part time positions to full time positions.
We seek a rector who:
We seek a rector who will embrace our goals and challenges and use his or her talents to lead the parish forward, including engaging with our community and the issues that impact it. Our next rector should have excellent judgment, facilitate inclusive decision-making, understand the importance of intergenerational engagement, effectively delegate, and champion lay leadership. We seek a rector who will inspire us to serve one another and our community, and to welcome all.
Regular worship at Christ Church is welcoming and joyful. We have three weekly services – Sundays at 9 & 11 am, and Wednesdays at 7:30 am. Our Sunday services are Rite II; also, we often draw on Enriching our Worship and COE’s Common Worship, and “Prayers of the People” from various sources. The 9 am service is “quieter,” having one hymn, along with Eucharist and Children’s Chapel (which runs concurrently to a portion of the service in our Parish Hall). The 11 am service has more music, choir, and full processional/recessional — a lively gathering with Eucharist and Children’s Chapel. We welcome all to receive either communion or a blessing (standing in a circle around the altar), or to stay in their seats if that is more comfortable for them. Both Sunday services feature our fabulous organ funded through a capital campaign in 2017.
The Wednesday morning service runs about a half hour and involves conversation, prayers, and communion with participants standing around the altar. It is followed by a simple breakfast.
During Lent and Advent we often add weekly contemplative evening services, and alter our liturgy for major holidays, feasts, and other holy days — for example, we offer a pet blessing on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Francis.
Christ Church is a vibrant, welcoming congregation that deals with the contemporary world in a context of traditional faith and worship. We seek to go deeper into the liturgy and be guided by Christ’s teachings. We support multiple efforts to assist our neighbors as well as others farther away. We cultivate good times with each other, from the spiritual to the culinary to the musical, but also make our spaces available to a variety of community uses. We practice active stewardship of our historic building, parts of which date to the early 19th century.
At Christ Church, spirituality, fellowship, and outreach reinforce one another. The church is an active and tangible presence on Capitol Hill serving not just the parish but the broader community.
The first Sunday of each month the parish assembles 100 bag lunches for those in need. We organize a Laundry Love program providing free laundry services to lower income neighbors. We partner with other churches and local organizations to make casseroles, collect food and toiletries, provide Thanksgiving baskets and school supplies, and mentor young students at an Episcopal school for boys in Ward 8. We are part of a consortium of congregations on the Hill that support refugee resettlement in the D.C. region. Even the quilting group is part of the outreach; proceeds from the annual quilt sale support mission work.
The church facility is also part of our outreach efforts. We open our doors to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and other gatherings.
Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, is the center of a metropolitan area of six million people. The District, has a population of 710,000. Christ Church is located in the District’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, population 60,000. The median age in Capitol Hill is 34 and 40% of its residents are families with kids under 18.
The Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) has steadily increased every year since 2011. This growth mirrors the rapid growth of Capitol Hill. In 2018, ASA was 197, including 11 regular Sundays with ASA over 200 (201-244). From January through June 2019, ASA was 210, including seven regular Sundays over 200 (205-244). In 2018, actual income was $706,000 and total expenses were $656,000. Total offerings in 2018 were $428,000. For 2019, there are 131 pledges for $434,681. Most adult congregants work in professional fields, and many have post-graduate degrees. In 2018 there were 65 church school students enrolled and 21 children under 16 were baptized.
Christ Church is located in the heart of D.C.’s historic Capitol Hill, a highly walkable vibrant neighborhood with a strong sense of community and easy access to other parts of the region by public transit or car. The church is adjacent to several retail corridors, the historic 8th and I Marine Barracks, as well as to Eastern Market, a lively public market. Historic row houses define the architectural character of the neighborhood, which has also seen the addition of numerous new multi-family mixed-use projects, particularly in the last five years.
Like the rest of the region, D.C. has experienced significant population and job growth in the last decade. Housing supply has not kept up with demand and affordable housing is a significant challenge for the city and our neighborhood. While the demographics of the neighborhood are changing (the vast majority of new residents are white, college-educated young adults), it continues to be one of the most diverse in the city. We are seeking a rector who will be actively engaged in the community and a visible presence as a faith leader on the Hill.
While the parish dates back to the late 1700s, the current building was completed in 1891. In fact, the Christ Church building is the earliest structure in the city built to serve an ecclesiastical purpose. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Capitol Hill Historic District. The three-story rectory attached to the church was recently renovated and has a sizeable yard and off-street parking. The Parish Hall is also attached to the church and has a small parking lot in the back. Space is limited with minimal capacity on our site for physical expansion.
In addition to providing gathering and classroom space for the church, our Parish Hall, which we renovated in 2017, is used for multiple community activities during the week, including a childcare co-op, martial arts classes, support groups, etc. A few years ago, we began leasing some of our roof space to a local solar company as part of our efforts to be responsible stewards of God’s creation.
We also own the historic Congressional Cemetery several blocks away which has been the church’s burial ground since 1812 and is a National Historic Landmark. Day-to-day operations are managed by a non-profit association, though we continue to be actively involved through membership on the association’s board, serving as docents, and various volunteer activities. We also hold our sunrise service there every Easter.
We are part of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW). Led by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, the diocese comprises 38,000 people in 88 congregations across four Maryland counties and the District of Columbia.
The mission of the diocese is to engage a changing world with an enduring faith in Jesus Christ so that more people may know God’s love. EDOW’s priorities are growing Christian community, connecting spirituality to everyday life, and striving for justice.
For more information visit www.edow.org.
Our position has been posted in the Office for Transition Ministry database. Applications should be submitted via OTM to the Rev. Paula Clark at the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and a copy of the applicant’s cover letter, resume, and OTM packet should also be forwarded to the Search Committee at email@example.com.