Holy Comforter History

Our Diocese

The Church of the Holy Comforter, St. Andrew’s Parish, is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, which includes the District of Columbia and the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George, Charles, and St. Mary’s. Under the leadership of the Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, the “Diocese has committed to engaging a changing spirituality in everyday life, and striving for justice.”

Our Neighborhood

The Church of the Holy Comforter is located in the Brightwood neighborhood, in the northwest quadrant of Washington, DC. It is a stable neighborhood with well-maintained houses, small businesses, and nearby parks. Brightwood is notable for its African American and Civil War history. It manages to mix history well with development.

Brightwood is home to many historical sites. There is a Brightwood Heritage Trail, which allows discovery of the personalities and forces that created this intriguing urban community. The Brightwood Heritage Trail’s 18 poster-sized, illustrated signs combine storytelling with historic images and maps. The 90-minute, self-guided tour loops through the Brightwood neighborhood and ends at the southwest corner of George Avenue and Peabody Street, NW.

The houses of Brightwood are the most notable element of the neighborhood. A drive through the area will reveal row after row of moderately-sized, well maintained row houses, duplexes, detached bungalows and colonials, and unobtrusive apartment buildings with an art deco design style. The neighborhood developed as a stable, traditional African American, professional community. However, the character of the area is changing gradually as a younger, more culturally and ethnically diverse population replaces the longtime, aging residents.

Our Building and Property

The Church of the Holy Comforter is located at 701 Oglethorpe Street, NW. The brick structure occupies the northwestern corner of 7th and Oglethorpe Streets and comprises the church and the Bishop John T. Walker National Learning Center (Walker Center). The goal of the Walker Center is to support the surrounding community and others who might affiliate with the Center, wherever they may live, in strengthening themselves academically, economically, spiritually and socially. The lower level includes a large fellowship hall and kitchen. The upper level includes a conference room; two libraries; four classrooms; and two offices. The Walker Center has hosted summer school for homeless youth. The Walker Center hosts various international group functions that provide educational presentations and the sharing of music, dancing, and other cultural information. It is a venue for workshops, conferences, college preparatory classes, classes on etiquette and preparation for the job market, as well as other community outreach and service events such as baby showers, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and retirements..

Who We Are

We are a joyous, lively congregation, and we genuinely like to interact with each other. Our church environment is warm and friendly. We see our church as a family and community of friends who are supportive of one another. Our congregation is composed primarily of members from the African American, African, and Caribbean communities. Each culture contributes its own unique richness, and we welcome diversity from all races and ethnicities. Our church is open to several outside groups for meetings.

Our congregation is informal, relaxed, and open in our dealings with our leaders. Volunteers perform most of the work in our church. Because our congregation is relatively small, some volunteers are responsible for more than one leadership function. However, while we would welcome more volunteers in leadership positions, those who prefer not to lead, contribute their support to our efforts.