Yet, after almost three years of ongoing effort, Capitol Hill Friends never grew into the kind of sustainable community that we hoped for. Our attendance fluctuated according to the seasons, but never grew very large. The formal membership of our group held fairly steady, too – three core members, plus one Friend who sojourned with us for a year, and two others who sojourned for a summer. Despite the power of Christ’s presence in our times of worship, the community failed to gel.
We finally reached a crisis point this fall. Our attendance fell greatly near the end of the summer – a normal seasonal fluctuation – but it did not recover in the fall. At the time of year when we had come to expect renewed energy and vitality in our meetings, we were averaging 4-6 people. It was increasingly clear that our way of operating had become unsustainable.
It has taken some time, but I am hopeful that we are finding our way to be a healthy expression of Christ’s body in the Washington region. We know that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that gives life to the body, not human models of organization. Nevertheless, I see signs that this new model has the potential to remove barriers to the Holy Spirit’s work. I pray that we will remain open to removing all of the many barriers to God in our lives, so that Christ’s Spirit can flow freely.