We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
My wife and I are facing the daunting task of moving the family to Washington D.C. for the uncertain project of starting a new ministry.
I took the train out here a week ago with the goal of finding somewhere to live. We are blessed to have friends who live in the beltway just outside of the city, so I had somewhere to sleep while looking at housing options. They have a wonderful home, a great dog, and more importantly, are wonderful people. And as a bonus: they appreciate good beer.
This has allowed me to not feel too far away from home, as we’ve had great conversation with wonderful people, and inevitably a good brew in hand.
From hanging out with environmental types to non-profit leaders to lawyers to bar tenders, interns, and others, it’s been fun to get a taste of life in the District. It is good to know that there are a bunch of great pubs and gathering places, and that they are filled with people who are seeking conversation and community. I think I’ll survive.
One place we hit was The Big Board, which has an ongoing screen that tallies whatever beer is the most popular on a given night. The more popular the beer is that night, the lower the price for a pint is. So it was fun to see what was on the board, and how things were shaking out. I believe it was an Allaghash White at the top of the board, with the usual top contender, New Belgium’s Ranger IPA (Ft Collins, CO) a bit lower down. I tried a local brew: Chocolate City Brewery’s Nitro Copper.
We also hit a German Biergarten, which had a delightful patio straight out of Munich.
Another spot that served delicious Belgium brews was Granville Moore’s, a dingy, hole-in-the-wallish place (but a great vibe) on H Street with a limited menu of mussels and frites but a first-rate beer selection. I tried some heavy-hitters: The Allaghash Curieux and the Gaverhopke Extra. Also tasted a Gueuze Tilquin and my host’s favorite: the Oude Gueuze by Hansenns from Dworp, Belgium. There we had delightful conversation with the pastor of a local historic Lutheran congregation, and we enjoyed talking about ministry, transition, and life in the city.
Last night we had a ‘farm night’ in the neighborhood I’m staying in, in which various friends from the neighborhood and across the city gathered to eat food they’ve prepared, from ingredients either grown locally or purchased at a local farmer’s market. There were even some venison steaks from Michigan involved! Delightful conversation happened around the dining room table and in the wooded yard, and it was great to learn about what people here care about and are doing with their lives.
Much as we may wish to make a new beginning, some part of us resists doing so as though we were making the first step toward disaster.
I’ve also spent most of my days getting to know the subway system (the Metro), walking neighborhoods, viewing houses and apartments for rent, and wondering how it’s all going to work out!
I’ve visited the NW, NE, SE, and SW parts of the city, and bits of Maryland and Virginia. The common theme, even in the more depressed areas is: it’s expensive! I really don’t know how anyone affords to live here. I think often it is a matter of finding housemates who can help share the cost. In any case, the city is an exciting place where a lot is happening, and many people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses all live and work together. We have sensed a calling to create a new faith community within this bustling, dynamic, and broken place.
To keep me busy (and help pay the bills), I’ve also applied for some writing/editing jobs, as well as a teaching position at Marymount University, to be an adjunct in Religious Studies.
I’ve ridden the Metro, driven through rush hour, walked long blocks and various alleys, visited tiny 2 BR apartments that were labeled “4 BR”, and found some genuinely workable options. The challenge in all of it is that we are still in the process of fundraising (one-third of the way there!) and seeking out additional work options—so things are somewhat “to be determined,” which means we’re not quite ready to sign a lease that is going to run about triple what rental costs were in Traverse City.
When I think about my week, it runs from exhausting (lots of walking on pavement in late August heat) to exhilarating (meeting people from all walks of life and seeing the possibilities for a new faith community), and from frightening (why are we doing this again?) to fascinating (the diversity of people, places, and experiences here are endless).
Help us get to DC!
If you’d like to learn more about our ministry – visit Roots DC’s website. To help us make the move and afford to live here, we are inviting people to partner with us – if you’d like to be a financial supporter, simply click the ‘donate’ button to make a tax-deductible gift! (We’re looking for about 65 more people to join us who are willing to give $100/month, or $25/week). We also appreciate prayers for our family in this somewhat stressful time of transition.
I’ve seen a couple of good possibilities for a home for the family, but it looks like we need to get some more funding in place before we can sign a lease. We’ll get out here soon, and even sooner with your help!
So here’s to new beginnings, life changes, good conversations, and, of course, good beer!