News - Article

Episcopal Diocese of Washington
News - Article

St. Nicholas Dedicates its New Church Building


St. Nicholas, Darnestown, the first new church built for a new parish in the diocese in more than 40 years, was dedicated and consecrated during a joyful service on May 10.

The church, which seats 199, was filled to capacity, said vestry member Barbara Miles, estimating that over the course of the celebration, about 300 people cycled through to worship, eat and convey their best wishes.

“We had a blast,” she said. “That was a great party.”

After the doors to the new church were opened, Rabbi Rueben Levine of the nearby Hevrat Shalom congregation in Darnestown affixed a mezuzah, an ornamental case containing verses from Deuteronomy, to the doorjamb.

Bishop John Bryson Chane presided at the ceremony, assisted by the Rev. Ken Howard, rector of St. Nicholas.

During the service the choir, made up entirely of members of the parish, sang Sheep May Safely Graze and In the Steps of St. Nicholas, which was written for the parish by former music director Adele Lynch. St. Nicholas himself also made a surprise – and unseasonal – visit to the congregation that bears his name.

“Everything in the church is new,” Miles said. “At least for us.” (Some items used in worship were gifts from the congregations of Holy Spirit, Germantown and Nativity, Camp Springs) and the bishop set to work sprinkling all of it with holy water so it could be put to use.

“We dedicated the altar and immediately used it for the Eucharistic prayer,” Miles said. “We dedicated the baptismal font and immediately used it.”

Bishop Chane baptized four children that day, bringing the total to 12 this year for the parish.

“We’re a young congregation,” Miles said, noting that the church’s motto is A Place to Belong; A Place to Become. “We’ve got young families and little kids.”

After the service, the congregation moved to a tent adjacent to the church for a celebratory potluck lunch.

“It was really wonderful,” Miles said, pointing out that parishioners were especially pleased that so many diocesan clergy attended, among them Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon. “It was wonderful for people. They get a sense of connection that they are part of a diocese.”


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