Here in Washington, DC, August is a slow time. Historically, before the advent of air conditioned homes and office buildings, the heat and humidity of DC summers meant that very little business could get done. Rather than sweat it out, Congress took a recess, and most every government agency virtually shut down for the month of August.
These days, we don’t experience the kind of near-complete shutdown that was the norm in the early days of the city. Nevertheless, August definitely still brings a change of pace. Lots of folks are on vacation – and you’d better believe that Congress still takes their recess!
With this seasonal rhythm in mind, our community here in DC is doing our own August slow-down. This past Sunday we had the last meeting of our summer cycle, and we won’t be holding regular small group meetings again until September, when we begin our fall cycle.
This fall is looking to be very exciting for us, as we multiply our original small group into two new groups – one that meets out in Montgomery County, Maryland (serving the northern and western part of the DC metro area), and another that meets in the southern and eastern part of the city.
The multiplication of our first small group is an encouraging development for us on a variety of levels. First, it represents a multiplication of leadership, with a new leader and apprentice leader stepping up to organize the group in Maryland. Second, multiplication encourages us to take a more intentionally local perspective. With two groups instead of one, we will be freer to focus on the specific needs of different regions of our metro area, drawing people together who might not necessarily go for a weekly commute across town.
Finally, our pattern of multiplication positions us to invite more people into the community. Our first small group reached an optimal size almost immediately and stayed relatively stable over the course of the last seven months. By birthing these two new groups, we will be encouraged to look for new ways to reach out to our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We expect to adapt to the needs of our local communities, making us even more welcoming to new people.
As we enter into this new phase of our life together, it feels right to acknowledge our unfolding mission and vision by adopting a new name. For many months now, we have known that the name Capitol Hill Friends was not going to work for us in the long term. We sensed increasingly that our calling is to serve the entire DC metro area, not primarily the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We also realized that having a name that tied us to one neighborhood would be a hindrance as we begin to multiply our small groups across the region.
After months of discernment and prayerful consideration, we have come to unity that we should adopt: Friends of Jesus – DC Metro Area. We feel that this name is a good representation of who we aspire to be, and one that gives a nod to our roots in the Quaker tradition without sounding sectarian. Going by Friends of Jesus has the added benefit of connecting us directly to the Friends of Jesus Fellowship, the wider network we are a part of.
I feel so grateful for the way that our community here is unfolding and growing stronger in depth, commitment and numbers as time goes on. There is no doubt in my mind that your prayers are essential to the work that the Lord is doing here in our midst. Please continue to lift us up in the light, love and power of Jesus.
Specifically, please pray:
- That we be given a spirit of boldness and enthusiasm as we seek to live into our newly articulated mission and vision.
- For the Holy Spirit to bless, encourage and prepare the leaders of our two new small groups.
- That God guide the planning and preparation for the retreat on spiritual gifts that Friends of Jesus – DC Metro Area will be holding on September 1st.
In peace and gratitude,