St. Luke’s Hosts Weekend Community Festival
October 4, 2016
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is the first independent, historically African American Episcopal church in the Washington D. C. area. Founded by Father Alexander Crummel in 1880, St. Luke’s served as a place of spiritual fulfillment for African Americans during a time period when blacks were being denied their right to worship. Black Episcopalians could only worship at churches in Georgetown where they were confined to a small section of the church. Crummel, sick of the segregation, decided it was time for a change.
Today, St. Luke’s is a thriving congregation under the leadership of Rev. Raymond Massenburg, PhD. Rev. Massenburg and members of the congregation thought it important to hold an event that would engage the surrounding community and open the doors of the church. So the weekend of September 9-11, 2016, the church held a festival to celebrate the legacy of their founder and his commitment to the local community.
Angela Wright, the Jr. Warden of the vestry, grew up worshipping at St. Luke’s. She has noticed how the community has completely changed over the years. She said “ This festival is important because we want to reach out to the community. Now, the community is filled with people who are constantly moving, and in the midst of all that, the church is still here. We are hosting this festival to let people know we’re apart of the community, and that we would like them to be apart of our church community as well.”
During the weekend of September 9th – 11th, St. Luke’s parking lot was packed! Many people stopped by and were intrigued by the many performances, the diverse dining options and the also the other attractions. Rev. Massenburg said, “This weekend we have come here to solidify the community. We will eat, dance, and be blessed.”
Friday and Saturday were family fun days. On Sunday, September 11, 2016, the festival came to an end with a church service and guest sermon by The Reverend Dennis D. Patterson Jr. When asked why he felt it was important to preach on such an important weekend, Patterson said, “ It is always important to preach. For me, it helps us to remember where we’ve been , to reflect, and to know how God is working.”
Besides Reverend Patterson, members of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, Foundry United Methodist, and St. Thomas Episcopal joined St. Luke’s to celebrate.
Following service, there was a blessing for first responders, primarily police and firemen to honor them in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives on September 11th.
Overall the festival was a hit with the community. Eddie Neal, Sr. Warden at St. Luke’s, believes the weekend was a success. When asked what the next steps were so the festival becomes an annual event, Neal said “ The festival can definitely become an annual event. First, the members of St. Luke’s have to dig deeper, find out what the community needs and how to address them so that the church and the surrounding community can become one.
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