The century-old Arlington Presbyterian Church in Virginia is selling its building in order to build low income housing in one of the country’s more expensive real estate markets. According to the Washington Post, the church came to that decision after asking themselves, “For whom are our hearts breaking?”
The congregation set out to determine exactly what issue spoke to them the most by surveying the minimum wage and middle class workers that came to eat at the food truck that parks in the church’s parking lot.
When asking about needs the responses the surveyors most often encountered were related to rent. Many of those asked lamented the skyrocketing property prices and expressed concern that they would soon be priced out of their own homes and neighborhoods.
As the investigation continued, and more of the same responses were heard, the church board of elders began to suspect that God might be calling them to take action.
And so, after a lengthy and slightly bureaucratic, process during which approval was hard won from both the congregation and the national presbytery, Arlington Presbyterian officially announced that they would tear down their building to build 173 affordable apartments for the community.
A vote to rezone the church property into residential space was carried earlier in December and now all that is left is to begin construction.
The day after this bittersweet news the church’s Bible passage for their service was this reading from Ezra:
““No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.”
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