(PNS) Located just across the street from the U.S. Capitol building, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness (OPW) staff regularly meets with members of Congress in their offices and at events to share the church’s point of view on issues of the day.
But beginning in September, the office is inviting members of Congress and others working on Capitol Hill to come to Presbyterian devotional services that will be held in the congressional office buildings.
“It’s really relationship building,” says the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, coordinator of the Office of Public Witness. “We want people in Congress to get to know us and see us as a trusted entity.”
The first morning devotional and breakfast will be at 8 o’clock on Sept. 12 in Room 122 of the Cannon House Office Building. It will be a half hour of informal worship followed by light refreshments and fellowship.
Hawkins says that the venue for the services will flip between office buildings for members of the House of Representatives and Senators, to make it convenient for members of both branches of Congress to attend.
According to Hawkins, there are 26 members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Congress, 13 in the House and 13 in the Senate. But the services are open to all people.
Plans are still being made for the initial and subsequent services, but Hawkins says he hopes to be able to bring Presbyterian leaders in to speak at services.
To Hawkins’ knowledge, the only other denomination hosting worship services for Congress is the Episcopal Church.
“I got the idea from them,” Hawkins says. “They did that to call representatives of all faiths together.”
The services are part of what looks to be a busy fall for the office, Hawkins says, with additional projects to be announced soon.
by Rich Copley, Presbyterian News Service