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Coming Up: Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Weekend

Reston Community Center will hold a series of events this weekend to kick-off the 33rd annual Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration.

Tamika Mallory, co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, will deliver a keynote address on Monday at noon at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets are $5 for Reston residents and $10 for all others. A community lunch will follow the speech.

Mallory, a nationally recognized advocate for social justice, worked closely with the Obama administration to push for civil rights, health care, equal rights for women and ending gun violence.

Leila Gordon, RCC’s executive director, said Mallory is among the “new and urgent voices” pushing the country toward realizing Dr. King’s vision.

“Reston’s annual celebration of his birthday has always been designed to reinvigorate our commitments to the goals of the civil rights movement and the values of Reston’s founding. We look forward to Ms. Mallory’s visit and her call to action,” Gordon wrote in a statement.

Tickets are available for purchase at CenterStage box office or online.

A breakdown of events scheduled for the celebration weekend is below.

Saturday, Jan. 13

Sunday, Jan. 14

Monday, Jan. 15

  • Youth Program at RCC Hunters Woods: While the community lunch takes place, children in first grade through sixth grade can watch videos, complete arts and crafts and do other activities based on the history of the civil rights movement from 11;30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Limited on-site registration will be available on the day of the event.

The celebration weekend is made possible by Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church, Supervisor Cathy Hudgins, Reston Community Orchestra, Reston Association, Southgate Community Center and Cornerstones, with the support of other religious and civic organizations, business groups, and schools.

Several days after the celebration weekend, RCC Hunters Woods will feature a performance about friendship and multiculturalism on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. 

Mohammad Bilal and Josh “Boac” Goldstein will challenge stereotypes linked to black and white, Jew and Muslim, and urban and suburban during their hip-hop concert titled, “The Color Orange.” Tickets are available for purchase $15 for Reston residents and $20 for all others.

Photo via Women’s March

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Plans Progressing for New Martin Luther King Jr. Church Building

The long journey toward a permanent building for Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church (11400 North Shore Drive) is a little closer to its conclusion.

After discussion during Tuesday’s meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board (video), approval was given for the site plan for the 6,000-square-foot building. The new structure will be located on the opposite side of the parking lot from the current, temporary church building. The project still needs to go through the county approval process, along with further local approval.

Church representatives said they would like to keep the current building — a prefabricated double-wide structure — in place even after the new building is completed. They said the extra space would be required until an addition could be added to the new building.

However, Design Review Board members balked at that idea.

“I work with churches regularly, and I know every church out there would want to hold onto that building,” said Neal Roseberry, DRB vice chair. “Frankly, it’s our job as the Review Board to say, ‘Hey, it was temporary when it was approved over 10 years ago; it needs to come down now because you’re finally building your permanent church.’ That’s my position at least of why we should help you do what you said you were doing originally.”

The church is located between the Crescent Apartments and the Northgate Condominiums. DRB told the church representatives there needs to be more communication between them and their neighbors in regard to the development. Andrew Ivovich, representing the Northgate community, spoke during the meeting regarding the lack of communication.

“It’s much clearer what you’re proposing at this meeting … [but] I do, however, wish that it was presented with a little more time for us to review,” Ivovich said. “I’m glad you met with some of the community members, [but] we have not heard from you. We are your neighbors too, so we would love to sit down and meet with you guys.”

Ivovich, along with DRB members, shared questions about removal of trees and retention of a vegetative buffer.

“I think the site plan as you presented it is much more modest, [with] much less tree removal,” Roseberry said. “The landscaping along the path and paying attention to North Shore Drive is probably the biggest weakness in what’s still there.”

In addition to removal and replanting of trees, a portion of Reston Association’s Blue Trail would need to be moved for the construction. Larry Butler, RA’s director of parks, said there has been “good discussion” about those plans. He added that there is an RA easement that will need to be re-routed for the work.

The future addition to the proposed building, for which they are asking permission to clear space ahead of time, is also included in the church’s plan. Mel De Gree, representing the church’s building project, said it is hoped that it would be added within five years of the building’s construction.

The Design Review Board approved the plan as presented, with several conditions. Among those are the development of an updated landscape plan and meetings with the community members. Results of those conversations, along with other provisions from the DRB, are to be presented at a future meeting.

The full presentation packet provided to the DRB during the meeting can be downloaded from the Board’s website.

Illustration via Waldon Community Architects

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Letter: All Are Welcome as Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church Celebrates 35th Anniversary Sunday

Editor’s Note, May 4 at 12:55 p.m.: The date of this event has been corrected to Sunday, May 7 at 11 a.m.

This article was submitted to RestonNow by a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Church. Similar submissions can be sent to [email protected]

All are welcome at Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church’s (11400 N. Shore Dr.) celebration service this Sunday, May 7 at 11 a.m.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Christian Church began in February, 1982 by a band of Christians who wanted to have a worship center like the worship homes they had come from as they settled in Reston.

The first service was held in the Southgate Community Room in South Reston. The name of the church was chosen because of the turbulent times its founders had lived through during the Civil Rights movement and the lasting results brought about by Dr. King.

MLK Church met in several locations until 1997, when the church moved into it’s “Phase One” location on North Shore Drive.

The church has thrived at this location, and has performed valuable services in the area such as feeding the residents of Embry Rucker Shelter and working in conjunction with the Reston Community Center to found the Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Reston, which is an annual gospel concert held each year at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation.

Currently the church offers a mathematics academy where free tutoring is offered to students from elementary through high school.

MLK Church has had four pastors over the years who have served it well: Rev. Dr. Dancy, Rev. Dr. Clinton McNair, Rev. Dr. Clarence Davis, and Rev. Dr. Jean Robinson-Casey. These leaders have provided those necessary steps in organization and development to help the congregation move forward.

Rev. Dr. Robinson-Casey is the current pastor, and along with her husband, Rev. Clyde Casey, are leading the church through the phase of building a permanent structure at the current location. This structure will allow the church to expand its already extensive ministries to further serve the Reston community.

MLK Church exists to serve and has been effective at that service for the past 35 years.

All are welcome at this Sunday’s celebration service, in honor of the church’s 35th anniversary. The service begins at 11 a.m.

Photo of Rev. Jean Robinson-Casey courtesy of MLK Jr. Christian Church.

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