At the intersection of Shirlington Rd and 25th St is a pavilion and parking lot, daily lined with bicycles at the far end. This small park, nestled between WETA studio and Weenie Beanie, has become a gathering place for men seeking work.
Yet something else that has started to emerge under the green pavilion. For a few years now, a group of neighboring Arlington Churches (including NCP's own Church of the Covenant), has come together to offer a monthly worship service and a meal. The monthly Saturday worship started simply, with prayers in Spanish and songs led by guitars. Soon the group of churches realized that there needed to be more and about a year ago the churches (with the help of a National Capital Presbytery Local Mission Grant) pooled resources to hire a Chaplain to minister to the men who gather there in the park.
Chaplain Williams has expanding their efforts to include preaching in Spanish, conga drums, guitars and weekly bible study. A faith community is truly forming!
The program is inspired by an earlier effort to spiritually engage the day laborers of Shirlington some years ago (one that involved Trinity Presbyterian Church of Arlington) but was unsuccessful due to the lack of support from local government. Today’s efforts partner with the Shirlington Employment and Education Center (SEEC), which works in collaboration with local government and provides security, and training the men who gather and others in the area seeking to improve their job prospects. This ministry in Shirlington has become a united and holistic approach to reaching those that so often live on the margins of society, and helps them to feel welcomed, loved and appreciated!
Watch the youtube video and learn more by clicking here.