Church Celebration to Bring Different Races, Backgrounds Together

At a time when the nation is hurting and divided over racial, gender, and economic issues, the Church at Clarendon is offering a multi-ethnic evening concert and gathering Sunday November 11. The GoGo Symphony, an apt multi-ethnic orchestra which fuses Washington DC’s go-go music with classical, will provide the interactive entertainment.

The event, titled “Becoming Better Together,” is the church’s unique way of celebrating the first pastoral anniversary of Rev. Danielle L. Bridgeforth, its first African American and woman pastor. The Church at Clarendon, formerly the First Baptist Church of Clarendon, was founded in 1909 by a predominantly white congregation. Today, the church is deliberately multi-ethnic and multi-generational, with a membership coming from diverse socio-economic levels and denominational backgrounds. In 2017, the church called “Pastor Danielle” to be its Senior Pastor. Theologically trained, she is a unifying and energetic figure who is welcoming and engaging.

“I hope this celebration will draw people of all kinds of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, etc. together in face of our divisive political climate. I have that hope for our worship services in general, but I hope that such a celebration will draw people that we haven’t reached before,” said long time church member Ellen Bartlett. “Pastor Danielle is the first woman pastor – that in itself is historically significant and an indication of a broadening of the church’s scriptural understanding of the role of women over the years… That she is African-American is, of course, significant as a recognition of the diversity of our congregation, very different from what it was back in ‘early days,’ though we had Vietnamese and Hispanic adjunct congregations years ago.”

“This church is amazing because I can meet so many different kinds of people right here in my neighborhood,” said Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, a church going resident of nearby Lyon Village. “I hope more of my neighbors would consider taking advantage of this opportunity, if only during this event.”

Pastor Bridgeforth said, “This celebration is not just about me. More than that, it’s about honoring what God is doing in our church and community. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm that we are stronger and healthier when we remove barriers and learn to worship, work, and witness together. This is how it will look in Heaven, we might as well get used to it now.”

The “Being Better Together” concert will take place at the Church at Clarendon, 1210 North Highland Street, Arlington VA 22201, on Sunday November 11 at 5 pm. It is free and open to everyone in the community. Enter via the side lobby on Highland Street. For more information, visit