What's Happening

During the 2022 Lenten season, many Dumbarton United Methodist Church parishioners pledged to give up as much as possible buying and using plastics designed for a single use before disposal.  We learned a lot about what a global threat plastic pollution is to our health and the environment, and how hard it is to reduce our use of single-use plastic bags and containers -- largely because they're so ubiquitous as to be practically invisible to most consumers in everyday living.  But we did learn about twenty-five workable actions you can take to reduce your use of plastics now and in the future.  We also learned about products with plastic-free or minimally-plasticized packaging, and about substitute products for things like food storage and even dental floss.  We found a surprising number of places where we could buy these products locally or online.  And we discovered several online resources to learn more about the extent of the problem and what we can do to change both our personal habits and public policy to mitigate it. Here are the highlights of our lessons learned:

Big Picture Lessons:

  • Plastics Production is in Overdrive, both in the U.S. and the World 
  • Plastics Do Not Break Down in the Environment 
  • Plastics are a Major Contributor to Climate Change 
  • Plastic Waste Is a Global Problem – Especially for the World’s Oceans 
  • Plastics Aren’t Just in the Environment.  They’re in Our Bodies.
  • Recycling Isn’t the Solution.  It’s the Industry’s Rationale for Perpetuation. 
  • Americans Are By Far the Biggest Plastic Polluters World-Wide

Lessons Closer to Home

Trying to give up plastic for Lent opened a challenge that brought us new awareness.  We’re sobered by what we learned, but grateful going forward.

  • Our efforts to reduce or eliminate our use of plastics mainly made us hyper-aware of how much plastic is in our lives, and how easy it is not to notice.
  • It can be easier to give up more plastic if you have the money, but it doesn’t cost that much more.  It does cost more time, however, to wash things for re-use, re-order non-plastic consumables like FreshPaper and beeswax wraps, and shop vendors that offer no-plastic or minimally-plasticized products.  On the other hand, if you have storage space, you can get lower prices buying in bulk.
  • Most of us who participated plan to continue pursuing ways to cut down our purchase of products that come in plastic wrap or containers.
  • Many of us made more changes than we thought we could, but realized how much our reduced plastic consumption was still just a drop in the bucket.


To read our full report, with more on each of the big picture lessons learned, more on what you can do, more on plastic substitutes and where you can buy them, and more online resources, click here: File Lessons Learned from Lenten Plastics Pledge.


Amid the fear and sadness of the COVID-19 pandemic, our congregation, like so many others, adapted to new ways of worship overnight so that we could be together in a time when we could not safely gather in person.  In March 2020, we began worshiping solely online, using the Zoom platform.  Returning to in-person worship after the worst of the pandemic subsided, we saw an opportunity to rethink our worship experience in light of what we learned as a virtual Christian community.  We decided that we now can conjoin the advantages of a virtual church with our traditional in-person worship to make Dumbarton a more powerful and far-reaching witness to God’s word in the years to come. 

The result of our rethinking, approved by the Church Council on June 8, 2022, was a strategy document that sets forth our vision for digital ministries as an integral part of the church’s mission.  It finds that hybrid church is here to stay, although our worship services and other church activities will continue to adjust as technology evolves and creates more possibilities.  Our online tools already permit our Sunday services to include both more of our local congregants who have difficulty attending in person and more remote participants nationwide -- and eventually, we hope, globally.  These tools also enable both local and far-flung members of our community to participate remotely in our Discovery Groups, committee work, study groups, and all aspects of the life of our congregation. 

The strategy document also commits us to develop an implementation plan to improve virtual participation in all aspects of the church’s life while also restoring and enhancing the attractions of in-person worship and post-service fellowship.  The plan will be reviewed periodically and adjusted as needed to address changing technology, changing opportunities to reach new audiences, and changing practical needs, including those for protecting people’s health and safety.  As a starting point, some measures the implementation plan might address are presented in a temporary addendum to the strategy document.


A dedicated team of Dumbartonians (Rev. Rachel, Mittie Quinn, Neal Christie, Stuart Johnson, Jeehye Kim Pak, Kelly Dickenson, and Barbara Michelman) set out last year to faithfully represent our church as part of the inaugural cohort of the Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Conference churches selected for its Catalyst Iniative to answer this question: “What is our congregation uniquely qualified to DO?”

Thanks to everyone who attended the Catalyst team presentation Tuesday night!  We had an energizing conversation around what Dumbarton is uniquely called and positioned to do:

To walk alongside people who are in the midst of life transitions,

Help them name their God-given gifts, and 

Support them in living out their purpose.

If you missed the session, the link to the zoom recording is below, and you can read a one page summary of our process and conclusions HERE.

In 1974, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted a first-of-its-kind resolution calling for a national ban on the manufacture, sale, and private possession of handguns, with exemptions for police, military, and licensed security guards.

Rev Jack Corbett of the Board of Church and Society turned to his predecessor, long-time Dumbarton parishioner Mike Beard, to create an organization to implement this resolution.  Mike had been the founding executive director of two earlier successful national coalitions, and was then on the staff of then-Congressman Walter E. Fauntroy (D-DC). 

Mike persuaded Rep. Fauntroy to convene a meeting of national religious organizations to discuss forming a coordinating committee. The first meeting took place in January, 1975 at the United Methodist Building with 15 organizations attending. They called for a plan of action and a budget.  At the second meeting in January the initial 15 organizations agreed to the plan to create a National Coalition To Ban Handguns as a "special project" of the United Methodist General Board of Christian Social Concerns.  The UMC provided office space, each participating organization made a financial contribution to the annual budget, and they elected Mike Beard to be the Coalition’s executive director.

The NCBH was immediately denounced and attacked by the National Rifle Association.  

June 4, 2022 Worship 10:00 am at West River

Worship will be held at 10:00 am at West River. If you can't join us in person, the service will be live-streamed on the church YouTube channel.

West River Retreat Center

5100 Chalk Point Rd, West River, MD 20778


Our Location

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3133 Dumbarton St
NW Washington, DC, 20007
Phone: (202) 333.7212

Transportation to Dumbarton


A Reconciling Congregation


All are welcome for in-person worship at Dumbarton Church each Sunday at 11:00 am. For more information about our Covid safety protocols, please click here

You can also join us on Zoom where our in-person worship will be broadcast simultaneously using: Meeting ID: 898 3876 7270 Passcode: 312148, or dial by your location 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

 Adult Education is also held in-person and via Zoom most Sundays at 10:00 a.m.

Accessible. All are Welcome!

     Listening Devices Available

What People Say About Us

--"There is a welcoming fellowship and a continuing challenge to be engaged in social justice."--Harry K.

--"I love how Dumbarton continues to stand up for the rights of the marginalized, especially LGBT people"

--"I appreciate the incredible lay participation and leadership - it is unrivaled elsewhere, in my experience."--Jamie M.

--"Everyone at Dumbarton is honestly and uniquely who they are - there are no pretensions or facades to pretend to be someone we are not." Michelle D.

--"I like the time in the service when we prayerfully express our joys and concerns."--Joan C.