Today the head of the National Community Church
is announcing to his parishioners that a deal has been struck for NCC to buy the People's Church
at 535 8th St. SE
in the middle of Barracks Row.
With their home base at Ebenezers Coffee House
near Union Station overflowing and any completed construction on their new Virginia Avenue footprint
probably 3-4 years away, this gives the church an instant "phase 1" building with more than double the capacity of Ebenezers.
tells me that the first service on 8th Street will be on Palm Sunday, April 17. They'll have one service a week there until the land deal is completed in early June, after which more services and events will be held at the new location, but they'll continue to meet at Ebenezers as well. In time, they are looking at converting the building back to its previous life as a movie theater: it opened as Meader's Theater in 1910, then became the New Academy Theatre before being converted to a church in the early 1960s. (If you've been inside the church, you certainly would recognize the seats and layout as vintage movie theater design.) NCC may even reopen the balcony, which has been closed off as a separate meeting space. They also hope to adapt the stage so that the space can be used for community events; and they're open to suggestions and ideas if you have any
The People's Church will be moving to Maryland, where most of their members now live.
This gives NCC a bit of breathing room for designing and getting through all the bureaucratic hoops of building at 8th and Virginia, but Batterson considers 535 8th to be a "stepping stone" to the new location. And you can see how excited he is in his recent tweets
hinting at the deal, which described to me as a "double miracle for both churches."