News Story

Faith Leaders Participate in Dedication of New Church Meetinghouse in Washington, D.C.

A new meetinghouse in Washington, D.C., was dedicated Sunday, November 22, 2015, by President Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The new chapel, located on Capitol Hill at 522 Seventh Street, S.E., will be the house of worship for about 300 members who live near the new building. The Church’s nearly 30,000 congregations worship in thousands of similar chapels throughout the world.

“We’re very excited about the privilege of being in this facility,” President Nelson said. “It is a symbol of our faith.”

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, also spoke at the dedication, where he shared gratitude for the new building. While the building allows the Church to better serve congregations, he said, there should be no mistake, as “our purpose is not to build buildings. Our purpose is to build people.”

Prior to the dedicatory prayer President Nelson welcomed friends and neighbors, including faith leaders who were in attendance. During the dedication, he acknowledged that while communities may have theological and doctrinal differences they also have much in common.

These commonalities were shared prior to Sunday’s service, when the Washington, D.C., Mayor’s Interfaith Council met at the building.

“Our community faces challenges,” said Rabbi Gerry Serotta, executive director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, “and people of faith united to support the religious freedom, to enhance faith understanding, to work together where we have common interest, and working for the betterment for the society. All of those things will be enhanced by having a wonderful new LDS facility in our midst.”

Many faith leaders noted the significance of having religious communities so close to Capitol Hill and in an area where many people are in need of support.

“We need all of the help we can get,” said Pastor Reverend Dr. Keith William Byrd Sr. of the Zions Baptist Church in Northwest Washington, D.C., and the mayor’s Interfaith Council’s chair. “The people of this community will greatly welcome more hands on deck as it relates to our faith work in this community and in this city at large.”Other faith leaders welcomed the congregation into the community.

“I think the principles that LDS is based upon would benefit any community where they are a part of and certainly in this community,” said Reverend Donald Isaac, director of Religious Affairs for the mayor of the District of Columbia.

“I don’t know of any other community that’s been so generous and so willing to do what needs to be done and show up where they need someone to show up, and that spirit, that openness of spirit, that generosity of spirit is a tremendous asset to every community,” said Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, director of Social Justice in Interfaith Initiatives for the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

The congregation, created in 1991, originally met in a Pennsylvania row house in Washington, D.C., until the Church bought an older building on Seventh Street. In 2011, the Church razed the building and constructed the new chapel.

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