A Brief History of Arlington Church of Christ


Around 1940, two congregations in the District of Columbia dreamed of starting another self-governing Church of Christ across the Potomac, in part because some of their members resided in northern Virginia.  After an organizational meeting, the new congregation’s first worship assembly occurred Sunday, September 22, 1940 in rented space on Irving Street in Arlington.

In its first two decades, the Arlington congregation grew rapidly.  Within nine years of the congregation’s founding, its surging membership prompted Arlington’s leaders to establish congregations in neighboring Alexandria and Falls Church.  Despite giving birth to these new congregations, by 1953 the Arlington congregation still had more members than could fit comfortably in its initial meetinghouse (completed in 1942 and now used as the congregation’s chapel).  Consequently, in 1954 the congregation expanded its meetinghouse to add the south wing containing its auditorium and classrooms.

The Arlington congregation has assisted in establishing or maintaining numerous other Churches of Christ throughout the mid-Atlantic region by providing money, preaching, teaching and song leading.  The Arlington congregation also has planted or fostered congregations around the globe, including in England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, West Germany, and in the last twenty years, in Belize, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Madagascar and Nicaragua.


The Arlington congregation also has been a national leader in breaking down barriers of race and ethnicity and in initiating innovative ministries.  Among these is the congregation’s ministry to Spanish-speaking immigrants, begun in 1988, and a Spanish-language ministry school.

Moreover, the congregation has worked closely with other churches and area community organizations to help to meet the needs of children and the poor.  To aid our region, Arlington has played a leading role in establishing area-wide Bible camps, a now-closed home for orphaned children, and a trust for the needy.  More recently, Arlington members, with congregational coordination, have assisted the homeless through the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc.  And throughout its history, the congregation has contributed to benevolent efforts to meet physical needs elsewhere in the United States and around the globe.

Thus, the Arlington Church of Christ aptly has been described as “one of the largest, most progressive and most influential” of the Churches of Christ in the Washington, DC area.  In our community and around the world, the congregation has long presented — with thoughtful simplicity and depth — the good news of Jesus as savior and Lord.