Network Blog

From A Kid's Point of View: How and why we need to be good neighbors

In between the swings and homemade sundaes, we sat on the park bench and talked about our neighborhoods.

Out of curiosity, I asked my very neighbor-friendly friend if I could interview her two daughters and find out why it’s important to be a good neighbor and the reasons you want to have good neighbors in your life.

Ella is 11, and being a military kid, has moved six times so far. She is used to being the new kid on the block and has learned how to make friends rather quickly. While she’s always sad to leave her friends and neighbors, she has come to realize the excitement that accompanies a move.

She smiles when she thinks of moving into her current house. Although it took 4 days, “which is kind of a long time,” Ella became friends with Reese. “She baked us cookies and invited us over for a bonfire. She and her family were friendly to us and made us feel welcomed in the neighborhood.”

Because she has been the new kid, Ella also understands how it feels to move into a neighborhood and not know anyone. So, she and her family are intentional to act when they see a moving truck pull up to a house on their street.

Nine-year-old Quinn has similar feelings when she recalls the many summers of moving with her family.

She was feeling rather lonely but met Rylee a few days after she moved in and they became fast friends. They play together and welcome other new friends by baking cookies, inviting them to bonfires and simply saying hi to them.

Quinn remembers living in her old neighborhood and a particular neighbor who was grumpy and would yell and leave mean notes on cars that were parked in front of her house. “She was scary and made me sad,” says Quinn.

Both girls agree there are many benefits to having and being good neighbors.

Ella sees the value of having someone close by whom you can trust and who will keep your secrets safe. She likes the thought of being able to depend on her neighbors and she loves when she and her family can be the ones the neighbors rely on when they need someone to watch their kids or bring a meal.

The practical one, Quinn, believes it’s important to have good neighbors “in case your house catches on fire so someone can call the fire department.” And then she giggles as she recalls the afternoon not long ago when her mom left the oven on and had to call a neighbor to go in and turn it off. “If you don’t have good neighbors, it can make life hard. Everyone needs someone they can rely on to help.”

We wrap up our conversations as Ella and Quinn walk back to their van, headed home, but of course, first stopping to deliver dinner to a neighbor down the street who has just gotten home from having surgery.

Sometimes people don’t have family close by so we get to be a big family together.

Posted by Michele Husfelt with

The Church of Clarendon Celebrates 110 Years!

On Sunday, May 19, 2019, my husband and I had the privilege of joining other Baptist leaders from our area in worshipping with The Church at Clarendon and celebrating their 110th Anniversary.

“Clarendon was not even a village and the total population of the county was only 10,000 in 1909, when the First Baptist Church of Clarendon was constituted. Life was simple in those days. Each house had its own well; lighting was furnished by kerosene and gas lamps. Telephones were few, automobiles rare. Bicycles, buggies and trolley cars provided transportation.”

On May 10, 1909, a group of twenty-three individuals from the Clarendon area met to start the process of organizing as a church with Rev. W. S. O. Thomas, the pastor of Columbia Baptist, guiding the process and moving it forward.

One of their first actions was to elect delegates to send to the Potomac Baptist Association (as we were known at that time) for the purpose of joining.

By 1913, with Pastor Thomas’ duties increasing in his church and needing to resign, Clarendon called their own full-time pastor and moved into a new building in 1915. In 1926, they planted First Baptist Church of Ballston, and in 1940, their pastor and a few other members came together to form the nucleus of what became Westover Baptist Church.

In March of 1952, pastors and representatives from all the churches of Potomac Baptist Association were invited to Clarendon for prayer and serious consideration of starting a new association in the more urbanized part of our region by those congregations closer to DC—including Clarendon.

By the end of that summer, Mount Vernon Baptist Association was organized, and it was their pastor at the time, Dr. M. Jackson White, who gave key leadership to this new organization and served as its Moderator for the first two years.

50 years later, in 2002, it was again Clarendon’s pastor, Dr. Alan Stanford, who was an integral part in designing and forming our current association called NorthStar Church Network. (Mount Vernon and Potomac Baptist Associations had both decided to disband in order to come together to create something completely new to our serve churches in this new century.)

We are excited at what Clarendon has done to impact their local community, including planting six churches: First Baptist Church of Ballston, Westover Baptist, Glencarlyn Road Baptist, Vienna Baptist, Westmoreland Church and Washington Plaza Baptist; housing and supporting international congregations (including the first Hispanic Church constituted in Virginia); launching a Child Development Center that will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary; serving their neighborhood through a clothing center that operated from 1979 until their building renovation in 2000; housing the Arlington Food Assistance Center (now AFAC) when it first began in the church basement; and re-envisioning their ministry and building structure to provide affordable housing for community residents, a much needed resource in Arlington County.

We want to thank The Church at Clarendon for their partnership, leadership, mission and vision in NorthStar Church Network and congratulate them on 110 years of remarkable ministry. We look forward to what God has planned for Clarendon under the dynamic leadership of their current pastor, Rev. Danielle L. Bridgeforth.

The above is a compilation of my greeting given at The Church of Clarendon on Sunday, May 19, 2019, as well as historical information taken from the First Baptist Church of Clarendon 50th Anniversary Booklet and various Mount Vernon Baptist Association Annual Reports.

Katie Harding serves as Associate Director of NorthStar Church Network and Founder/Director of NorthStar Women's Network.

Easter Reflections

This past January, I was privileged to be part of a group of pastors and staff from NorthStar traveling to Israel for a Holy Land Pilgrimage. The trip impacted each one of us in some way. As we move towards Easter, for me it sparks a sense of self-reflection on what this experience has meant to me. We had the opportunity to walk the same steps that Jesus walked, from entering the city of Jerusalem, to standing on the Southern Steps where Jesus taught the crowds, to where he spent his final days with his disciples.

We spent about half an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, where we contemplated the evening Jesus spent there. Overlooking the Eastern wall of Jerusalem, he would have seen the soldiers and religious leaders coming from the Temple to the Garden to arrest him. He had ample time to turn and leave and save himself before they arrived. Obviously, he knew his purpose was to sacrifice himself for each of us, but it does make you wonder about the thoughts that may have crossed his mind as he saw them coming, knowing escape was just over the hill. Being a follower of Jesus, and most of us on the trip dedicating our lives to ministry, this brings to light how we should be making decisions in life. Many feel that being a Christian means God should be on your side, so He should want you to have all the things you want in life. When things are going wrong, He should make them right for you. When you are in pain, He should take the pain away. As we see in scripture, this was not the case for Jesus, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will but as you will’…He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’” (Matthew 26: 39, 42). In the garden, Jesus prayed twice for God to change what Jesus knew was going to happen. Jesus had the ability to take it into his own hands and run, yet he put aside his wants for God’s will. We often focus on our own comfort and feelings, thinking that is what God wants for us. Of course, God does want good things for us, but sometimes we are to go where we don’t want to go and do what we don’t want to do for the sake of His will.

 We also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of two sites believed to be the place of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and ultimately, resurrection. We spent time at the Garden Tomb, too, the other location that could be the place of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. We took communion here and contemplated the death and resurrection of Jesus.

For me, I wanted this to be the place where Jesus was laid to rest and then emerged from the tomb. The garden is beautiful and peaceful, and felt more worshipful. Our group leader reminded us that wherever it actually took place didn’t really matter. What mattered is that everywhere we had been that day, including there in the Garden Tomb, we would have seen the sky get dark and felt the earth tremble on that day of his death. “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land…And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split” (Matthew 27: 45, 50-51)

 Jesus had been in the same places as we had been throughout Jerusalem and throughout our travels in Israel. His story is real. The places are real. The people are real. I’ve read the stories all my life, and I knew in my head that they were real places, real people, real experiences, but now I have seen those places and heard the stories at the sites they took place. It has made it so much more real for me. Now, whenever I hear the stories of Jesus, I will picture those places and imagine what it felt like to be there with him.

I imagine it’s like when you meet a big celebrity that you have admired. It makes them so much more real, not just someone you see on a screen. And you want to show everyone the pictures, and tell them about the experience. Tell them this is what they are really like. I know that I feel this way about Israel. I want to tell others what it is like, and what Jesus may have been looking at when he told these stories, or taught the crowds. What he may have seen and heard in his last week before the cross. And that it is real. It happened there and I truly feel blessed to have experienced it and hope to be able to again in the future.

Mary Beth Inman is Office Manager and Communications Manager for NorthStar Church Network.

Posted by Mary Beth Inman with