The houses in Columbia Heights range from two to three stories; they stand side by side, shoved against each other, several yards back from the streets. Many have front porches or steps that during the summer become gathering places for kids jumping ropes, and in the relative cool of the evening, for adults who turn up their radios over the whirring of fans and gunning of car engines.
In the winter, landlords tend to skimp on the heat. And the neglect of needed repairs, which was more tolerable in the warm weather, becomes a crisis as people spend more time indoors.
It is here in this inner-city Washington, D.C. neighborhood that the 37 adults and 10 children who make up Sojourners Community have our various houses and apartments. We live on Euclid, Fairmont, Harvard, 13th, and Girard Streets—names that have come to mean home for us.
While the community carries out several ministries centered in our neighborhood, we see also a world beyond Columbia Heights. It is a violent one filled with injustice; but too it is graced with the presence of Christ, whose church offers the good news of Jesus' victory over the forces of death and of a kingdom of love, justice, and peace. Sojourners has responded to the call to be a Christian community attempting to reflect that kingdom. Our particular vocation is to the church and for the sake of the church's faithfulness in the world.
Some in the community first sensed that call nearly 15 years ago, when a handful of students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, began meeting to discuss the relationship of their faith to political issues, particularly the Vietnam War. In 1971 the group decided to publish a tabloid that would express their commitment to social justice and peace and test whether other Christians had similar convictions about the radical nature of the gospel. The Post-American was born.