Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your support as I joined the diaconate Feb. 11th! The ordination service was a huge blessing to me, my friends, my family – I loved being with you all, as we all move forward together as one church family, committed to loving each other and our neighbors. In the words of Paul, echoed by Duke in his charge, I am excited to care for and serve each other deeply in the years to come: 
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
- Romans 12:10-11
I have seen so much of this love, service and devotion in our “Out” neighborhood ministries in the past month. As we pursue being a cross-cultural, spiritually diverse, and neighborhood-centered church, I wanted to take time, with my first newsletter, to praise how God is working in Columbia Heights, Petworth, Adams Morgan, and Mt. Pleasant. A couple of these stories, around the young men myself and others are mentoring, are captured below:

Rita Bright Boys Basketball End Season 4-2!

Led by head coach Chris Yook, the Rita Bright Boys Basketball 10 and Under Team finished the regular season 4-2. The highlight of the season was a last second, 2-point victory for the boys in an away game – with the stands (including my parents visiting from out of town) going wild. Because of this victory, the team made the playoffs (!) - with the first round game on March 6th (contact me or Chris for details if you want to come). Pray for continued, developing relationships with these young men, and more team outings to deepen our bonds - like the pizza party (see picture above) and Saturday workouts (starting in April).

Tyreik Thompson Starts Second Semester of College!

As many of you know, our church has walked with Tyreik Thompson – a young man who we first coached in basketball when he was only 12 years old! – as he enters college. He is now starting his second semester of community college at UDC, taking three classes. In a recent meeting with him at IHOP, Tyreik shared, “I feel like we’re in the driver’s seat and I’m cruising!” Praise God for these words and how Tyreik is
encouraged by all the progress he has made and continue praying for him on his journey.

DC127 Guys Have Sushi Lunch/Black Panther Movie Party!

Last Sunday, we had the first DC127 Guys Hangout – and at Makhai Spruill’s request, we ate sushi and saw Black Panther. I have never seen a young person eat that much sushi – as you can see in the picture below, Makhai ate way more than even Noah Downs, Joe Mosby, or I could chow down. We had a great time and Makhai is excited for more meet-ups to come – from sleepovers, to Go-Karts, to fishing - anyone is welcome to join!

If you would like to participate in any of these or other youth and young adult ministries, please contact anyone on the diaconate or myself (! There is so much to praise – and it’s a joy for all of us to be in this Kingdom-making work in our neighborhood together.
In Love,
Walter and the rest of the Diaconate