Sunday evening in our last session Dr. Dennis Perry, the lead pastor at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria VA, asked me a question that went like this: what are your impressions and what would be your advice to Aldersgate? My response was immediate because Kris and I were struck by this at Aldersgate: the church was perhaps the most intergenerational or multi-generational church we’ve ever been in. There were infants and little kids and junior and senior highers and young adults and all the way up to 90something. What was especially honoring to us was the number of conversations about Jesus Creed we had with such a spread: a young mom who told me she and her 2 year old daughter say the Jesus Creed everyday to an elderly man and woman who spoke with me about how much it had helped them.
Which leads me to something we so appreciated: the folks at Aldersgate had read the Jesus Creed book, had church-wide Bible studies, and were keen on the value of saying the Jesus Creed in order to live it out — and it is helping them. This makes everything different for us. Here’s a good example: Andreas Barrett, the worship leaders, wrote a song version of the Jesus Creed that was moving for both Kris and me.
The church folk were extremely generous in their hospitiality. Jason Micheli invited us. Jason is a talented preacher and theologian and his grace was present all weekend — and so were his two little boys and wife Ali. Then the young and impressive intern, Taylor
Mertins, picked Kris and me up at the airport and shuttled us through
Old Town to our home. That meant we met Kristy and Sid Smith, who have opened
their home on the GW Parkway to so many and even invited Kris and me to share Father’s
Day with them and their two 20something adult children — Addi and
Cole. Wonderful special dinner and time with them, including the
hilarious humor of Addi and Cole who competed on who grilled the
better asparagus. A special moment when Sid talked to us about what it
was like to be in DC, about a mile from the Pentagon, on 9/11.
We had a wonderful luncheon Saturday in Old Town at the Chart House, looking over the Potomac, with Dennis and Jason and Kris. We were impressed with the shared leadership and sacrificial approach to one another — if not some good old ribbing of one another — that we saw in Dennis and Jason, and found their careful thinking and prayerful response to pastoral needs to be encouraging. They too have a passion for 20somethings.
I could mention many people, including those who came from other churches for some of the talks, but we are so honored to have been invited to Aldersgate and they are now a part of who we are — and we hope we are part of them. Someday we hope to wander into Aldersgate when we are in DC. The church has a comprehensive and holistic approach to ministry and I pray its tribe increases in all directions.