October 31, 2015 Michelle Matthews

Who We Are.

The Kingstowne Communion exists to gather people into communion with Jesus Christ through

– courageous conversation

– creative community

– collaborating for the common good

We believe that church isn’t a spectator sport – church is something that we get to do together.  You aren’t going to get surface-level, shallow expressions of Christianity here.  We pride ourselves on asking hard questions, struggling with real-life issues, and becoming better people by taking this spiritual journey together.

The Kingstowne Communion seeks to be a community where our faith makes a difference in our everyday lives – we believe that the things we believe should transform how we live.  Therefore, we seek to create courageous, creative, and collaborative opportunities for people to be stretched and transformed by God’s love – through worship, common tables, pub theology, community engagement, and mission – so that we can go out and put that love into action each day.

Our Name.

The word communion has multiple meanings:

Communion /kəˈmyo͞onyən/ [noun]

– the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared

– intimate sharing of life and faith

We call ourselves a communion which, for us, is just another name for church. But when we say church we mean a specific kind of church, one where all are welcomed to the table.

We are called to be in communion with:

– God through worshipping around the Lord’s Table

– Other disciples through gathering in Common Tables (groups of 5-12 disciples who gather weekly or bi-monthly to eat, share faith, and pray for one another), and

– The world through extending the table to all who are hungry for deep communion with God and neighbor

“The table is one of the most intimate places in our lives. It is there that we give ourselves to one another. When we say, “Take some more, let me serve you another plate, let me pour you another glass, don’t be shy, enjoy it,” we say a lot more than our words express. We invite our friends to become part of our lives. We want them to be nurtured by the same food and drink that nurture us. We desire communion…Strange as it may sound, the table is the place where we want to become food for one another. Every breakfast, lunch, or dinner can become a time of growing communion with one another.”   

– Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey

Growing in Faith Together.

Growing in faith is something that is best done together, in community.  We need people to stretch us, to help us see what we otherwise wouldn’t see, and to challenge us to become more of what God always intended for us to be.  We work hard to create opportunities for people to challenge each other, serve together, and build relationships that will help them grow in faith and live lives of love.

As a part of this, we believe that families should have experiences of worshiping and growing in faith together.  Too many churches hide teenagers and children away during worship.  But we believe that children only learn to worship by worshiping – we believe that shared experiences help give children the foundation they will need to claim faith for themselves when they get older.  Therefore, we do our best to maximize opportunities for children to participate in worship, while also creating space for them to learn God’s story in ways that fit their particular learning styles.  For more on our children’s ministry, click here.

Our Church Exists for the World Around Us.

We believe that the lives of our neighbors should be better because we are Christians.  Alexandria should be a better place to live because our church is here.  We believe in building up our community, improving the lives of our neighbors, collaborating with partners for the common good of our city, and sharing God’s love with others through words and actions.  God has called the church to be a gift to the rest of the world, and so we seek to indiscriminately bless our community. We don’t care if you’re a Christian, a person of some other faith, or a person of no faith at all – we are here to make your life better, and we are going to try to do that however we can.

Kingstowne’s Core Values & Strengths.

Courageous Conversation.

We believe that the Church should not be a place where people shy away from tough conversations. Jesus calls us courageous in our conversations so that we might challenge one another and build one another up to be the people God has called us to be. Jesus was political, so at times, we will talk politics. Jesus was justice-seeking, so at times, we will talk about justice and reconciliation. Jesus invited questions and doubt, so we get courageous with our questions, invite doubt, and wrestle with Scripture and doctrine. We have these kinds of conversations on Sunday mornings through the preached word, and we continue these kinds of conversations at pub theology and in common tables (our form of small groups).

Creative Community.

We believe that the Church should be in the business of creation. God is still speaking. God is still creating. And, therefore, the Church should be constantly reinventing itself for the community. At the Kingstowne Communion, we create community though the multiplication of common tables, and we create creative community, through collaborating with other local businesses, taking worship outside the walls of even our elementary school through pop-up worship in parks and pubs, and keeping our eyes ever-open to what God is doing around us and inviting us to join.

Collaborating for the Common Good.

We believe that if the Church is to exist for the world around us, that we must always seek to partner with others in the community before doing anything all on our own. Our community is stronger because of the gifts and work of all of us. Therefore, we regularly partner with local businesses like Nalls Produce and Fiona’s Irish Pub for worship, mission, and community engagement. We host Easter & Christmas services at Nalls Produce, and we host monthly Pub Theology at Fiona’s Irish Pub. We also collaborate in our mission to our local community and to the world. We often collaborate with the Fund for Alexandria’s Child and Rising Hope Mission. We partner with Rise Against Hunger two times a year to pack 20,000 meals for worldwide hunger, and we partner with Sunday Suppers every 1st Sunday to make, take, and eat a meal with the homeless community living in and around Franklin Square in DC.

Our Connection with Aldersgate Church.

The Kingstowne Communion began as a dream by the people of Aldersgate Church (in the Fort Hunt area of Alexandria, VA).  A few years ago, a few people from Aldersgate felt a call from God to plant a church in Kingstowne that could help people in this growing community connect with God and each other and put their faith into action. That sense of calling is the beginning of the story of the Kingstowne Communion. Aldersgate Church currently offers us various forms of support to help us achieve our mission.  Even though most of the people of the Kingstowne Communion will rarely (if ever) attend an event at Aldersgate Church, the work we do would not be possible without the prayer, kindness, encouragement, and support of the people of Aldersgate. In particular, Aldersgate provides administrative and spiritual support to our community. Aldersgate is the Kingstowne Communion’s “mother in faith,” and we encourage the people of the Kingstowne Communion to pray for Aldersgate and its ministries each day. We continue to give thanks for Aldersgate and for the opportunity to work together to make disciples of Jesus Christ across Alexandria and Fairfax County.  Together, we are putting God’s love into action in amazing ways! For more information about Aldersgate Church, check out aldersgate.net.

Our Heritage

The Kingstowne Communion is a new United Methodist church serving the Kingstowne area of Alexandria. For more information about our Methodist heritage, history, and core beliefs, visit our What We Believe page.