My mentor in ministry, Dr. Thomas Reid of Buffalo, NY, used to tell me in my formative days as a minister, “There’s no room for competition in the work of God. There’s plenty for all of us to do!”
I’ve lived by that adage ever since. It’s one of the reasons Faith and
Actionhosts several “allied ministries” in our ministry center behind the U.S. Supreme Court. We also cooperate with other Christian groups located here in Washington, DC, and throughout the country.
Today we celebrated with one of those cooperative organizations. The Center for Christian Statesmanship, a part of Evangelism Explosion International, founded by the late Reverend Dr. D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and Coral Ridge Ministries (Florida), has opened a similar center to ours–only on the opposite side of Capitol Hill. That geographical location is very important in many ways–and very distinct from our mission field. I’ll explain more further down, but, first, let me say more about “the Center’s new center!”
Their facility, a Victorian row house built in the same period as our Ostrowski House on Capitol Hill, will be a venue for various programs including Bible studies, lectures, fellowship events, and evangelistic efforts. That sounds a lot like what we do here at Faith and Action, but it’s not redundant, and I’ll tell you why: Washington, DC–and even Capitol Hill itself–is divided up into very distinct spheres. For example, the various branches of the federal government make up three of those spheres: The executive branch (White House and related agencies), the Congress, and the Supreme Court represent very different–and very separate spheres. They each have their own rules and regulations, facilities, police forces, even cultures. Because the three branches practice the “separation of powers,” they deliberately do not interact much. Within the branches themselves there are also serious distinctions. For example, because our ministry center is adjacent to the Supreme Court, it places us on the “Senate side” of Capitol Hill. That is. we’re positioned within view of the north side of the US Capitol, where the Senate chamber and related offices and function rooms are located. We are also within sight of the three US Senate office buildings. It is the US Senate that confirms presidential nominees to the federal courts, so the administrative headquarters of the federal courts is nearby. That makes our “neighborhood” very different from where the Center for Christian Statesmanship is located, which is on the south side of Capitol Hill, close to the House side of the US Capitol and the office buildings for the members of the House of Representatives. The House, made up of 435 members has a very different culture than the Senate, made up of its 100 members. I often think of the House as the blue collar labor force in the Congress, and the Senate as the white collar management.
There’s another important difference between our two locations: Our proximity to the US Supreme Court is deliberate. The High Court is our principal mission field. Of the three federal government branches, it is the most unusual and least accessible. As I explained in a previous post, federal judges (including Supreme Court justices) and appointed for life, not lected to serve terms. We didn’t elect them–and we can’t “un-elect” them. Consequently, federal judges owe no one anything. They don’t open their doors to anyone because they don’t need to–and they don’t want to. That makes our mission field uniquely different.
Today, when I congratulated Center for Christian Statesmanship director Dr. George Roller on the opening of their new facility, I said, “You have the south end of the Hill and we have the north end. You have the House and we have the Senate. That means we have them surrounded!
On a personal level I’ve got to tell you I had a mixed reaction during my visit to the CFCS. It houses a portion of the late Dr. Kennedy’s personal library, along with a portrait of him, and even the pulpit robe he wore so often. Dr. Kennedy was another mentor to me and helped us enormously in our work. He endorsed both of my books and often had me as a guest on his radio and television shows. He was a good man whom I esteemed highly. B
eing around his things made me realize just how much I miss him. I felt that loss today, but thanked God for his great legacy.
Faith and Action looks forward to working closely with our colleagues, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ at the Center for Christian Statesmanship. We have cooperated in many Christian outreach efforts already and will now do even more! Welcome good neighbors!