In January 2012, First Congregational UCC returned to the corner of 10th and G Streets to continue to witness for peace and justice in the nation’s capital. Our return capped a journey that started in 2004 when we admitted to ourselves that our prior building had reached the end of its useful life.
The church decided to get creative. After an intense period of congregational study, we issued requests for proposals from local developers and architects, inviting them to work with use to build a new mixed-use building on our historic site. This lead to a partnership that created a new church – accessible and flexible enough to meet the contemporary needs of our congregation and our neighbors.
We demolished the old building, recycling 90-95% of everything inside and outside the building, and we worked with developers and the internationally acclaimed firm of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to build a new Gold LEED home expressing our values of environmental stewardship. The mixed-use building includes our church space of 24,000 square feet, 16,2000 square feet of Class A office space, and a restaurant.
The building has been featured in ARCHITECTURE Magazine and won awards from two chapters of the American Institute of Architects, the Downtown Business Improvement District, and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.
- “New Church Only in Their Prayers,” an article about the redevelopment from the Washington Post (February 24, 2009)
- “Our New Home Expresses Our Faith and Our Values,” our church statement regarding the new building
- Read about the February 26, 2012, formal Dedication of the Church Building and Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Read the program for the Workers Recognition Service and Sid Fowler’s sermon (July 15, 2012)
First Building (1865 – 1953)
First Congregational United Church of Christ was founded in 1865 by abolitionists as the first racially integrated church in Washington, DC. In 1867, the mission committee of the church played a prominent role in the founding of Howard University. In 1868, after worshipping for several years in Congress, the church moved into its newly constructed building at the corner of 10th and G Streets, NW. When the church divided over integration in 1869 and the segregationists left, Howard University saved the church by buying the note.
Second Building (1953 – 2004)
In 1953, when the original structure was condemned, the Trustees recommended that the building be sold and the church relocated. The congregation rejected this recommendation and voted to rebuild in the present location, continuing the mission of downtown ministry in the nation’s capital and affirming the church’s presence in the urban area. During the 1960’s, First Church was active in the Civil Rights Movement, and this activism has continued throughout the church’s history. First Church is proud to be an Open and Affirming (ONA) Church (as of 1975), a Just Peace Church (as of 1986) and to have affirmed the vision as a Multiracial/Multicultural Church (2003).