The Challenges and Rewards of
Redeveloping First Congregational United Church of Christ
10th and G St., NW, Washington, DC
PDF Available Here
In 2004 we admitted to ourselves that our building (the second church structure on our site at 10th and G Street NW) had reached the end of its useful life. The church decided to get creative. We put out requests for proposals from local developers, inviting them to work with us to build a new mixed-use building on our historic site.
Eventually we forged several partnerships leading to a new church that is accessible and flexible enough to meet the contemporary needs of our congregation and our neighbors. We carefully demolished our old building, sending as little as possible to a landfill, and we worked with leading architects and developers to build a new home expressing our values of environmental stewardship. Construction was stalled for a time due to the recession, but in late 2011 we moved into a new building that includes 24,000 square feet of church space within a 188,000 square foot premiere office building that meets Gold LEED standards.
At the Annual Meeting of the Central Atlantic Conference of the UCC on June 9, Conference Minister John Deckenback peppered his annual report with stories. We were one of the stories:
I stood in awe as I looked at the new glass façade of the new First Congregational United Church of Christ at 10th and G in Washington, D.C.
It took nearly half a decade for the congregation of First Congregational of Washington, DC to realize their dream of building a new home at their historic 10th and G location in downtown DC. With the turn of the New Year, First Congregational left their temporary Lutheran home down the street and returned to 10th and G. It was a grand and glorious celebration!
The church occupies the first floors of the 10 story building which comes complete with underground parking and easy access to DC’s Metro subway system. It is a spectacular facility which has been praised for its environmental sensitivity and bold openness. The first couple of floors are occupied by the church while the upper floors were developed as condominium office space by a private developer.
Click here to read more in our Building Brochure
Click here to read a detailed guide to the building with specifications etc.
We are eager to make First Congregational United Church of Christ a vital center of hospitality and Christian witness in the center of Washington, DC.
- Learn more about the decision to redevelop in “Building Dreams,” in the May 1, 2007 issue of United Church News.
- Read “New Church Only in Their Prayers” (an article about the redevelopment from The Washington Post, February 24, 2009)
- For more information about the new building read Our New Home Expresses our Faith and our Values
- Read an article in the United Church News about the new building Christmas Eve Worship welcomes D.C. . . .
- Read information about an award given to the church by the Downtown DC Business Improvement District
- Read about the February 26, 2012 formal Dedication of the Church Building Dedication Celebration program and read the Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Look at the Workers Recognition Service, July 15, 2012
- Read the sermon preached at that service on July 15, 2012 by Sid Fowler
Our Earlier Buildings
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 worshiping 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.
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 our downtown ministry in the Nation’s capital and affirming the church’s presence in an 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: in 1975 we became an Open and Affirming (ONA) Church, in 1985 we became a Just Peace Church, and in 2003 we affirmed our vision as a Multiracial/Multicultural Church.