Historic Northwest DC Church closes its doors after over a century

- Sunday marked the end of an era in the Shaw community in Northwest D.C., as Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ closed its doors after nearly 150 years.

“The sanctuary, if the walls could talk, just would have so much to say,” says Church moderator Jeanne Cooper.

Cooper grew up in the church, was married there, and even sang in the choir, but because of dwindling finances, low membership, changes to surrounding community, she said the church’s time has come.

“There’s so few people, we can’t sustain having a pastor and having a viable congregation,” Cooper said.

Still, worshippers came together to end their last service on a high note.

Approximately 200 people filled the pews after just 23 congregants attended services last week.

“This morning as we close on our final worship,” Designated Senior Pastor Rev. Barbara Breland said to applause, “you fill in the blank on who God is to you. Because for me, God is still worthy to be praised.”

Church leaders said the future of the church building itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has yet to be decided. They said possibilities include redeveloping the property or selling the building, with proceeds being used to support other area ministries.
 

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