Clarendon Presbyterian Church (CPC) has a long history of doing the right thing and speaking truth to power. In the ‘60s, CPC fought for civil rights, created protest kits for the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, and became active in fair housing initiatives in Arlington County and D.C. In the ‘70s, we maintained a food pantry that later developed into AFAC – Arlington Food Assistance Center. During the ‘80s, CPC provided space in our building for Whitman Walker Clinic to hold AIDS support groups as the epidemic surged.
In the ‘90s, CPC elected the first openly gay Elder in Virginia before it was actually "legal" in the Presbyterian Church, and we became a More Light congregation. In the following decade, we supported the fight for marriage equality. We instituted a Marriage Policy whereby our Pastor offered religious blessings (of marriages and same-sex unions) but would not function as an agent of the state until Virginia legalized gay marriage, resulting in significant national media publicity, letters of support, death threats, and financial donations from all over the country.
In more recent years, nearly three-quarters of our members gathered annually through Rebuilding Together to rehabilitate homes for local families with low incomes. We converted our sanctuary and other spaces in our church building to host periodic Naturalization Workshops and assist legal immigrants along the path to U.S. citizenship. We regularly attend organized demonstrations, including the Women’s March on Washington, the March for Our Lives in support of legislation to prevent gun violence , and the annual D.C. Pride Parade. And in recent years, we launched a wide variety of partnerships with a focus on serving alongisde others especially those who have been marginalized.