Worship Experiences

I’ve enjoyed doing some church shopping in the DC area.

It’s fun even asking people about parishes they prefer.

The peace types go to St. Aloysius, a Jesuit-run parish in D.C. near the Capitol, although there’s some disgruntlement with the current pastor.

Many of the nuns go to St. Camillus, a Franciscan parish in Silver Spring, which is about a 15-minute drive from my apartment. The multicultural Mass is very popular for the high-energy music in multiple languages, and the friars are regarded as good homilists. I’m bothered a bit, though, by the concert feel of the liturgy, with many songs without any worship sheets, making it hard for the congregation to sing along. 

So, I’ve checked out Our Lady of Sorrows,  within walking distance of my place. That parish seems on the brink of financial ruin, as the priest was begging for money the week I went. An interesting note: he also pleaded for donations of rice for Mother Theresa’s nuns in the parish.

I’ve got to check out recommendations for St. Augustine’s in the heart of DC, the original black Gospel parish, I’m told,, so the music should be good. Then there’s St. John the Baptist, further north in Silver Spring that comes with a recommendation for good liturgy and a choir that leads the congregation in song. (Plus, I have a soft spot for the name, as that was my first parish in Schenectady, and I really felt at home there more than at any parish before or since.)

So far,  my favorite is St. Stephen and the Incarnation, an Episcopal church in Columbia Heights, a historic black neighborhood in DC. I attended to participate in an Amnesty International letter-writing event after the service, and I was impressed.

The historically white congregation integrated early on, in the 1950s, and had a prayer service soon after Martin Luther King Jr’s murder while riots raged just outside. The congregation also hosted what’s claimed to be the first public service led by a female priest ordained illicitly before the Episcopal denomination OK’d female presiders. Now the building hosts a number of peace and justice groups.

The congregation intentionally draws everyone into the service, with the choir embedded in the middle of the pews rather than singing from the front. And everyone is welcomed to circle the altar during the communion prayers. I read that they’re now working toward developing a volunteer leadership team of both clergy and laypeople.

At the letter-writing activity calling for freeing political prisoners around the world and attention to death-penalty cases in the US, I felt some pangs of lonesomeness as young people talked about going out to brunch afterward and a potluck later on in the evening. It reminded me of the active singles group I belonged to in Denver. But I’m hopeful I’ll find something appropriate in the DC for me at this stage of my life.

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About mariannedc

I just moved from Albany, NY, to the Washington, DC, area and many friends and former co-workers want to hear about my life here. So this seemed like a great way to do that.
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2 Responses to Worship Experiences

  1. ANNE PAYE says:

    Mariane, if you contact Nancy Gallagher, you may get a good lead. I know her sister Mary Isabel was a leader in her very active parish. They may have a group you’d be interested in. Offering to play your flute with a muscians at Mass will also be a good entr’ to way to new friends.

  2. ANNE PAYE says:

    ← A News TownWorship Experiences
    Posted on December 8, 2010 by mariannedc
    I’ve enjoyed doing some church shopping in the DC area.

    It’s fun even asking people about parishes they prefer.

    The peace types go to St. Aloysius, a Jesuit-run parish in D.C. near the Capitol, although there’s some disgruntlement with the current pastor.

    Many of the nuns go to St. Camillus, a Franciscan parish in Silver Spring, which is about a 15-minute drive from my apartment. The multicultural Mass is very popular for the high-energy music in multiple languages, and the friars are regarded as good homilists. I’m bothered a bit, though, by the concert feel of the liturgy, with many songs without any worship sheets, making it hard for the congregation to sing along.

    So, I’ve checked out Our Lady of Sorrows, within walking distance of my place. That parish seems on the brink of financial ruin, as the priest was begging for money the week I went. An interesting note: he also pleaded for donations of rice for Mother Theresa’s nuns in the parish.

    I’ve got to check out recommendations for St. Augustine’s in the heart of DC, the original black Gospel parish, I’m told,, so the music should be good. Then there’s St. John the Baptist, further north in Silver Spring that comes with a recommendation for good liturgy and a choir that leads the congregation in song. (Plus, I have a soft spot for the name, as that was my first parish in Schenectady, and I really felt at home there more than at any parish before or since.)

    So far, my favorite is St. Stephen and the Incarnation, an Episcopal church in Columbia Heights, a historic black neighborhood in DC. I attended to participate in an Amnesty International letter-writing event after the service, and I was impressed.

    The historically white congregation integrated early on, in the 1950s, and had a prayer service soon after Martin Luther King Jr’s murder while riots raged just outside. The congregation also hosted what’s claimed to be the first public service led by a female priest ordained illicitly before the Episcopal denomination OK’d female presiders. Now the building hosts a number of peace and justice groups.

    The congregation intentionally draws everyone into the service, with the choir embedded in the middle of the pews rather than singing from the front. And everyone is welcomed to circle the altar during the communion prayers. I read that they’re now working toward developing a volunteer leadership team of both clergy and laypeople.

    At the letter-writing activity calling for freeing political prisoners around the world and attention to death-penalty cases in the US, I felt some pangs of lonesomeness as young people talked about going out to brunch afterward and a potluck later on in the evening. It reminded me of the active singles group I belonged to in Denver. But I’m hopeful I’ll find something appropriate in the DC for me at this stage of my life.

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    About mariannedc
    I just moved from Albany, NY, to the Washington, DC, area and many friends and former co-workers want to hear about my life here. So this seemed like a great way to do that.
    View all posts by mariannedc → This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
    ← A News TownLikeBe the first to like this post.One Response to Worship Experiences
    ANNE PAYE says:
    December 10, 2010 at 9:11 pm
    Mariane, if you contact Nancy Gallagher, you may get a good lead. I know her sister Mary Isabel was a leader in her very active parish. They may have a group you’d be interested in. Offering to play your flute with a muscians at Mass will also be a good entr’ to way to new friends.

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