Sunday, March 2, 2008

Foundry United Methodist Church

Foundry United Methodist Church--a reconciling congregation

Foundry United Methodist Church (1500 16th Street NW) is located about a mile north of the White House and is a vibrant part of community worship in the DuPont Circle neighborhood. Foundry UMC has been around for nearly 200 years in various locations, beginning in Georgetown and then later moving to 14th and G Streets. The name derives from a donation made by Methodist member and businessman Henry Foxall who "donated land and a building after his Georgetown iron foundry survived the British attack on Washington during the War of 1812."

The church has hosted Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Bill Clinton--all of whom were regular attendees. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill* of Great Britain attended a special service at Foundry UMC on December 25, 1941, not long after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The church is actively engaged in humanitarian causes, mission service, social justice, and is a participant along with 200 other United Methodist Churches as part of the Reconciling Congregation Movement.

* An article by conservative pundit George Will about Churchill's Christmas visit (found via Google search for information on Henry Foxall.)

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 2/08


Bobbie said...

When I saw this church I knew immediately that it would be UMC just from the architecture. Such an interesting history for the name. I did not know about the Reconciling Congregation Movement and had to look it up. A good movement. I'd though Bill C. would be Baptist all the way, but guess they wouldn't have put up with some of his shenanigans. Ooops, I'm being political so enough said!

Lisa Sarsfield said...

I am learning so much from your posts that I probably know more about your local churches than my own...
It is another beautiful building though I must say I always wonder why religions spend so much on their temples and churches when there's always people to help. Personally I'd rather see money spent on other things other than grand buildings. That said I am appreciative of the eye candy!

The Artful Eye said...

Your church tour is fascinating and informative. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful trivia. - Andrea

D.C. Confidential said...

Bobbie: How funny! To me, so many of them look the same, it's hard to distinguish one from the next. As for Bill C., I think he just enjoys going to church wherever there's a good choir and a good sermon!

D.C.'s only celebrities are politicians and presidents. If one of them steps foot in your church, you claim him/her and make the most of it. I think the toughest activity for a president to engage in regularly is church attendance. It's an irony, really. We're a nation practically founded on religious freedom and the president is suppose to be the defender of our constitutional right to exercise religion and yet, he rarely attends church because security concerns make it such a pain for everyone involved.

It would have been interesting if Mitt Romney had made it through the Republican primaries and been elected president. He probably would have become the first president in history to actually attend and participate in a church setting on a consistent basis and his church would have bent over backwards on a weekly basis to accommodate him. (Some churches have actually asked presidents not to attend their congregations because it's too disruptive. Sad, huh?) Anyway--enough on that!

Lisa: I'm learning a lot, too! I usually just drive past these churches without a second thought. Doing this series is teaching me a ton!

As for spending money on buildings versus using the money for something else: that's always a tough one. OTOH, congregations need a place to worship and they often build edifices as a symbol of sacrifice and devotion to God. They see it as a monument to God, particularly when its a temple or cathedral. OTOH, can you imagine the humanitarian good and earth stewardship they could accomplish with the same amount of sacrifice and devotion?

AE: Thanks! I'm enjoying this series. I hope nobody tires of it too soon, though. There's still 30+ churches to go and that's only the first half of 16th Street! I still need to photograph the second half.