DC Baptists celebrate inaugural

Baptists in the nation’s capital viewed today’s presidential inauguration as both a celebration and opportunity for service.

By Leah Grundset Davis

As District of Columbia Baptist churches considered an appropriate mission project to celebrate inauguration weekend, they decided on collecting food for those in need.

The D.C. Baptist Convention asked its 150 churches to participate in a food drive as a way to participate in the National Day of Service, which has become a weekend of service among many in Washington to honor Martin Luther King Jr. This year, the weekend of service coincided with inaugural events.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, D.C. Baptist volunteers helped package food, which will be distributed throughout the coming days.

“Inaugurations are a time of hope and celebration,” said Ricky Creech, executive director/minister of the D.C. Baptist Convention. “Yet, there are many people who are hungry in the national capital region and looking for signs of hope that their circumstances will change. While the nation marks the beginning of a new term in office for the president, we will provide food for hungry people as a way to help those in need and to honor and serve God.”

Baptist volunteers participated in the day of service at various sites, including Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, whose pastor, Kendrick Curry, also is president of the DCBC.

At Shiloh Baptist Church, the young adult ministry hosted a sold-out event on Jan. 19 featuring a special screening of the film The House I Live In, which details drug abuse as a public health concern in the United States. Special guests at the event included R&B singer John Legend, actor Danny Glover and music producer Russell Simmons.

Fort Washington Baptist Church in suburban Maryland celebrated worship on Jan. 20 with special speaker Michael Strautmanis, deputy assistant to President Obama and counselor for strategic engagement to the senior advisor.

“In addition to welcoming Michael Strautmanis, we did a number of things to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, and one of the saints will be hosting a black tie inaugural event Monday night,” said Darin Poullard, pastor of Fort Washington Church.

As the city prepared for large crowds, so did Baptist churches around the city. Calvary Baptist Church planned to host 200 inauguration volunteers throughout the day, as well as a group from David’s Chapel Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, visiting just for the event. The group from Austin also stayed at Calvary for the 2009 inauguration of President Obama and returned with another group of 30 people this year.

“It will be a busy day around here for Inauguration Day,” said Calvary’s church administrator, Paul Rosstead, who coordinated the groups. “Geographically we sit in a prime location that we are glad to be able to serve the city on such a historic day.”