Ash Wednesday is March 6

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“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). For nearly a thousand years, these words have been spoken to believers as the sign of the cross is traced on their foreheads with ashes, a sign of our mortality and repentance. Join us March 6th at 7pm for the Ash Wednesday worship service (Dinner at 6pm, catered by Chef Laval). Can’t make it to the evening service? Pastor Alyssa will offer ashes on the front steps of the church (16th Street) that morning from 8am until 10am.

Winter Forum with Brad Braxton


Saturday Morning, February 9 (Reservations are full)

8am: Meet at the museum

8:30am: Tour the historical galleries with Dr. Braxton

10:30am: Private, 2-hour symposium taught by Dr. Braxton

Sunday Morning, February 10

9am: Coffee, pastries and fellowship 
(side-chapel of the Sanctuary)

9:30am: Lecture by Dr. Braxton: Lifting the Veil: Religion, Reparations and Reconciliation, based on 2 Cor. 3 & 2 Cor. 5

11am: Worship, Brad Braxton preaching:
The Value of Knowing Who You Are
Text: 1 John 3:1-2

Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton is Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life (CSAARL) and the Supervisory Curator of Religion at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Sat. African American History Museum Tour (Full)

This year's Winter Forum includes a guided tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday morning, Feb. 9, with Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton. (Sorry, the tour reservations are full.)

Parents, if you want to know ahead of time what your children will experience at the museum, these articles may be of help:

Please note: These plans are subject to cancellation if the government shut-down is still in effect. Please continue to pray for all whose lives are affected by this situation.

Snow Advisory: FBC Facilities Closed Sunday, January 13; Online Gathering Live at 11am

Dear FBC Family:

Our pastoral staff, deacon chair, moderator and other church leaders have been in communication this afternoon and we have made the decision to cancel all Sunday activities for tomorrow, January 13. Up until a few hours ago, when only 1-3 inches of snow were predicted, the plan was to meet for worship as usual. However, now that the forecast calls for greater amounts of snow, and because some of our Sunday support staff live beyond the District, we feel it best to suspend Sunday activities and land on the side of safety.

Tomorrow morning at 11am, I will lead a brief devotional gathering on Facebook Live from our home here in Brookland. Join us! (You don't have to have a Facebook account to watch.) If you’re not familiar with Facebook Live:

  1. Tomorrow at 11am, if you have a Facebook (FB) account, go on FB and search for First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC. (If you don't have a FB account, go to this URL which will take you to our FB page:

  2. On the left side of our Facebook page you’ll see a list of options. Click the “Videos” button. The live session begins at 11am.

During our snow-day worship gathering, in addition to prayers, Scripture and a poem or two, I invite you to email me between now and tomorrow morning with a personal gratitude statement (“I feel grateful for…”) or a brief word about where you have felt God’s presence lately. I will read your statements during the Facebook Live session. (Please let me know if it’s okay to mention your first name…and even if you can't join us tomorrow on Facebook, I’d still love to read your gratitude statement or story of God’s presence.)

In the meantime, as the snow begins to fall, I offer this winter poem by Frederick Buechner:

Sudden Snow

You wake up on a winter morning
and pull up the shade, and what lay there
the evening before is no longer there—
the sodden gray yard,
the dog droppings,
the tire tracks in the frozen mud,
the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall.

All this has disappeared overnight, and what
you look out on is not the snow of Narnia
but the snow of home, which is no less
shimmering and white as it falls.

The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still
in silence so deep that you can hear its silence.
It is snow to be shoveled,
to make driving even worse than usual,
snow to be joked about and cursed at,
but unless the child in you is entirely dead,
it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster
when it catches you by surprise that way,
before your defenses are up.

It is snow that can awaken memories of things
more wonderful than anything you ever knew
or dreamed.

Stay warm and be safe, friends. Savor the quiet beauty falling all around you. And be mindful of those who are seeking warmth and shelter tonight.

In peace,

Julie Full Sig 2.png

Pastor Julie

Christmas Eve At First Baptist • 4pm

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We gather on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Join us for this beautiful hour of worship featuring special elements for children, a reading of the Christmas story, the music of pipe organ and choir, and a Christmas Eve meditation. We conclude the service with the lighting of congregational candles.

The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C. • 1328 16th Street NW Washington, D.C.

Church Family Christmas - December 16

Get ready for an all-star performance of "The Not-So-Silent Night" at this year's Church Family Christmas on December 16th. Young shepherds joyfully shout praises after visiting the newborn Savior. How were they to know they were disturbing the peace? Watch the story develop in a Bethlehem courtroom, as performed by FBC children.

Program/Meal After Worship in Fellowship Hall
Enjoy a Christmas feast prepared by Chef Laval, carolers from the Chancel Choir and a special theatrical/musical performance by FBC Kids (See Above). Cost of the meal is $10/adults; $7/children under 12. RSVP and pay in advance below, or email Church Administrator D’O Dillard and pay at the door ( Please consider chipping in the cost of an extra meal, so we can treat our guests that day.

Worship Moved to Fellowship Hall Tomorrow 10/28/18


Dear Church Family: Sometimes God invites us to change our plans. Our church boilers have staged a rebellion, leaving us without a way to heat our facilities this weekend (10/28). For this reason we are moving our worship service tomorrow to Fellowship Hall which will be warmer than the sanctuary.

Everyone is invited to dress warmly and comfortably and to experience the simple joy of family-style worship around tables, hot coffee or tea in hand. Think of this as a holy adventure.

And if you’re traveling from Virginia, please plan accordingly as the Marine Corps Marathon will be taking place during your commute.

Peace and grace…

Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell

Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell

"Joyful Generosity" - Sunday, October 28 - Sunday, November 18

Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey

Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey

We kick off our fall stewardship emphasis, Joyful Generosity, this Sunday, October 28. One of our missional partners, Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey, Ministry Facilitator at Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in New York City through Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, will share with us in worship about ministry in her Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. FBCDC has been supporting Lesley-Ann for a year now, as a CBF “Encourager Church”.

Sunday, November 18, is “Gratitude Sunday” at First Baptist Church as we give thanks to God for another year of grace. Also in worship that day, we will celebrate an “offering of financial commitments” for the coming year.

Will you take time to pray about your financial participation in what God will do in and through First Baptist Church in the year ahead? And as an expression of your intention, will you please complete a commitment card indicating your financial participation for 2019? Your information will remain confidential—whether you make it online ( through our website, or turn in a paper commitment card.

(If you make your commitment online, you’ll still receive a card in worship on November 18th to use as a symbol during the “celebration of commitments”.)


World Communion Sunday Offering: Support Nineteenth Street Baptist Church's Pediatric Clinic in Haiti (Goal: $1,000)

Our brothers and sisters at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (NSBC), in partnership with medical aid nonprofit VillageMed, are working to build a permanent clinic in Layaye, Haiti. The clinic will serve the needs of a population still affected by the devastating 2010 earthquake, and bring vital assistance to a remote, underserved region. The organization plans to break ground in the spring or summer of 2019. Our Life Deacons would like to designate the Love Offering to be collected on Sunday, October 7th, to benefit this clinic. We are hoping to raise $1,000 to support NSBC and VillageMed in serving the people of Haiti. Please keep this effort in your prayers!

Support Nineteenth Street Baptist Church's Pediatric Clinic in Haiti
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Saturday Sep 15, 2018 - Breakfast and discussions with 19th St Baptist

Saturday Sep 15, 2018 - Breakfast and discussions with 19th St Baptist

Rev. Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert to Preach at FBC - Oct 14 11am


Professor of Homiletics, Howard University School of Divinity

The Reverend Dr. Kenyatta R. Gilbert, Professor of Homiletics at the Howard University School of Divinity, will preach in worship on October 14th. Dr. Gilbert earned his B.A. in Political Science from Baylor University and both his M.Div. and Ph.D. in Practical Theology (Homiletics) from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Baptist minister and founder of The Preaching Project: Restoring Communities through Spoken Word (, a website ministry promoting the nurture of the preaching life of ministers serving African American churches and communities.

Prior to joining the Divinity School’s faculty in 2006, he served congregations in Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Kenya. Kenyatta is married to Dr. Allison Blow Gilbert, a pediatrician. The Gilberts have three daughters: Olivia Copeland, Ella Jane, and Ava Sage. Copies of his book, "A Pursued Justice - Black Preaching from the Great Migration to Civil Rights" will be available for purchase during the week prior to, and immediately following, worship on the 14th. Contact D'O Dillard at for your copy. The cost is $20 and you may pay by check, cash or online (in “Additional Information”, note “for Dr. Gilbert Book”).

Notre Dame [Paris] Organist Olivier Latry Oct. 18 7:30pm


Renowned musician Olivier Latry, in recital Thursday, October 18, 7:30 pm. The latest offering in our Virtuoso Organist Series, Olivier is the principal organist at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris. Read his reviews and listen to him perform here.


French organist Olivier Latry is one of the most distinguished concert organists in the world today. One of three titular organists at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, he is also Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatory of Music, Organist Emeritus with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in Canada, and maintains a full schedule of concert performances appearing regularly as a soloist at prestigious venues and festivals, and with leading orchestras around the world.

Mr. Latry was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, in 1962 where he began his musical studies. He later attended the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, studying organ with Gaston Litaize. From 1981 to 1985 he was titular organist of Meaux Cathedral, and at the age of 23 won the competition to become one of the three titular organists of the Cathedral of NotreDame in Paris along with Philippe Lefebvre and Jean-Pierre Leguay; the three of them succeeding Pierre Cochereau. In 1990 he succeeded his teacher, Gaston Litaize, as organ professor at the Academy of Music at St. Maur-des-Fossés, and then subsequently in 1995 was appointed Professor of Organ at the Paris Conservatory where he continues to teach today along with his distinguished colleague, Michel Bouvard.

Having performed in more than fifty countries on five continents, Mr. Latry does not want to specialize in any specific repertoire, but rather wishes to explore all styles of organ music, as well as the art of improvisation. In 2000, to celebrate Olivier Messiaen as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, he performed three complete cycles (six recitals each) of Messiaen’s organ music, at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Mr. Latry has also inaugurated many significant concert hall organs around the world, including Verizon Hall (Philadelphia USA), The Palace of the Arts (Budapest, Hungary), and The Musikverein (Vienna, Austria). In 2014 he performed the inaugural concerts at La Maison Symphonique (Montréal, Canada) and a concert as part of the inaugural concert series at the Royal Festival Hall in London (UK).

In addition to concerts and teaching, Mr. Latry has made his mark through many recordings on the BNL label featuring music of Bach, Widor’s Symphonies 5 and 6, Vierne’s Symphonies 2 and 3 and the complete works of Duruflé. With Deutsche Grammophon he has recorded a transcription disc entitled “Midnight at Notre-Dame”, a disc featuring the organ works of César Franck, and the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen. He has also recorded the Poulenc Concerto and the Barber Toccata Festiva with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Jongen Symphonie Concertante with the Liège Orchestra. His most recent recording on the Naïve label is entitled “Trois Siècles d’Orgue Notre-Dame de Paris” which features music composed by past and current organists of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

In recognition of his distinguished work in the field of organ performance and teaching, Mr. Latry has received many prestigious awards and honorary degrees including the Prix de la Fondation Cino et Simone Del Duca (Institut de France–Académie des Beaux-Arts) in 2000, and “Honoris Causa” Fellowships from the North and Midlands School of Music (UK) in 2006, and from the Royal College of Organists (UK) in 2007. He was also presented the International Performer of the Year award by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists in April 2009, and received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from McGill University in Montreal Canada in 2010. Current as of April 2015

A Prayer on 9-11

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Loving, present God, as we begin this day 
we pause to remember. 
We remember the 2,976 men, women and children 
who died in New York City, at the Pentagon 
and on Flight 93 seventeen years ago. 

We pray for spouses and children and parents 
and grandparents and friends and co-workers 
who find themselves weeping today.

As we remember that harrowing day, 
we acknowledge that You are Almighty God, 
maker of heaven and earth, 
giver of life, 
vanquisher of death, 
bringer of life everlasting.  

You are the God of all power 
who has given us power, as well:

power to create, not to destroy;
power to love, not to hate;
power to build instead of tearing down;
power to reconcile instead of breaking apart; 
and power to seek restorative justice instead of revenge.

As we pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
may we walk always in his Spirit and in his way,
even as we pray the words he taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Peace and grace,



Pastor Julie

Building the Beloved Community: Breakfast & Conversation with Nineteenth Street Baptist Church


Saturday, September 15, 9 - 11am, at NSBC | Led by Pastors Julie Pennington-Russell and Darryl Roberts

A Shared History
Thomas Jefferson was President when, in March of 1802, six laypersons and four ministers established the First Baptist Church of Washington City. From its earliest days, First Baptist Church included African American members both slave and free. By 1810, black members comprised twenty-nine percent of the congregation and by 1822, forty percent. In 1839 First Baptist Church decided to leave their location at the corner of Nineteenth and Eye Streets, NW, and move closer to the city’s center, subsequently purchasing property north of E Street along Tenth Street. First Baptist continued to meet for a while in its two locations while preparing to transfer the property to the mostly black congregation remaining at Nineteenth Street.

Relationships between the two congregations became strained, in part because of arguments over the transfer of the property (which took more than 30 years) but also likely because of the painful realities of racial injustice. Even so, our two congregations worked together during and after the Civil War, with support from the Freedman’s Bureau, to offer health care, shelter and education to the more than ten thousand freed and fugitive slaves living in camps throughout Washington City.

Nearly 80 years later, in the early 1940s, Dr. Walter H. Brooks, esteemed pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, preached in worship at First Baptist Church at the invitation of First Baptist’s pastor, Dr. Edward Pruden.

It has been more than 200 years since our shared history began. Today, in a season in our nation’s life when racial tensions are once again flaring, the pastors of FBC and NSBC, Pastor Julie and Rev. Dr. Darryl Roberts, along with Hannah McMahan from the New Baptist Covenant, have begun meeting for the purpose of knowing each other and talking about how our congregations might shine a light together in Washington. These conversations led to our churches meeting on August 12 at the MLK Memorial for a prayer walk and communion.

A New Chapter
If you sense God’s Spirit leading you to help plant fresh seeds of understanding, love and shared mission between our two churches, join us on Saturday, September 15, from 9-11am for a light breakfast and conversation at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (located at 4606 16th Street, NW,) led by Pastor Julie and Pastor Darryl. Please RSVP by September 12 to Zena Aldridge at