8/23/2012, 5 p.m.
A Source of Pride in the Neighborhood
Fantastic article by Elton Hayes, "Inside The Gates, Barry Farm Basketball Courts are a National Treasure," August 16, 2012. I was so glad to see it in your paper; this spot has been jumping in Southeast for years. I mean, we were doing it even before all of the upgrades and national coverage. Barry Farm is a special place for a lot of people and the Goodman League has always been a source of pride for those in and around the area.
Just like The Informer, the Goodman League offers and highlights some of the positive aspects of Southeast Washington. Thanks for the article and thanks, Goodman League for another summer filled with fantastic hoop dreams.
Pushed Out by Parking Restrictions
It was with great sadness that I read the front-page article in your August 16 issue, "St. Matthews Baptist Church Moves to Prince George's County," by Sam Collins. The city is losing an historic 100-year-old congregation because of newly imposed parking restrictions in favor of new residents in the church's neighborhood. I agree with the Rev. Washington when he says that the current administration, including the City Council, is unfriendly to the faith community, because District officials are allowing this disturbing trend in church communities across the city.
I am a member of Shiloh Baptist Church, which is in the Shaw neighborhood, and is very close to the Mount Vernon Square area, one of the hottest new development areas in town. In disbelief, we recently saw signs placed directly across the street from our church, prohibiting us from parking there at any time on any day of the week, except for 12 midnight to 7 a.m. (Is somebody trying to be funny?) We have heard that more signs are coming soon to adjacent streets, eventually squeezing us out of all parking.
Shiloh is a vibrant, dynamic congregation with many, many community outreach programs that are in operation seven days a week. We also have choir rehearsals, Bible classes, and mid-week services that are heavily attended. We recognize that parking is tight when gentrification brings new residents to a community, but surely those new residents, when checking out their potential new homes, must have noticed the churches that have been there for decades. This is the 21st century - churches are no longer Sunday-only institutions.
In D.C., the new attitude seems to be, "We're in your neighborhood now; you have to abide by our rules, even if your church was here long before we arrived."
Shame on the city officials who are condoning this attitude and looking the other way while historic congregations are forced to abandon their beloved sanctuaries.