Historic Church Offers Salvation to Millennials

Suzzone McAfee, Howard University News Service

Alfred Street Baptist Church is more than 214 years old and was first established in 1803 and is one of the oldest African American churches in the United States.

It is located in downtown Old Town on 301 South Alfred Street in Alexandria, Virginia. Services are held on Saturday at 6:00 p.m., and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. The church offers a shuttle service on Sundays at the King Street Metro that goes to and from the church for congregants riding public transportation.

Reverend Dr. Howard-John Wesley has been the pastor for over ten years and is the church’s eighth pastor.

The church has dozens of ministries and has over 7,000 members. The church estimates that 70% of the members are young professionals, and it offers numerous ministries and worship services to accommodate them.

One such worship service is CAYA – Come As You Are. This service is for 21 to 40-year-old professionals. It is on the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm in the Sanctuary. They offer food, fellowship, and worship.

Ministry program coordinator Whitney Lockett discussed CAYA, “CAYA is not your regular church service. It is not set up like a regular church service. It’s almost like a one on one conversation with Pastor Wesley, and he is acutely going to discuss the topics that matter the most to young professionals or millennials. But whatever the case, it will definitely be relevant to you.”

La Monica Walton, office administrator at Alfred Street, described another ministry for young people, “The Student Outreach Committee Ministry purpose is to service college undergraduate students ages 17 to 25 who are actively enroll in a current undergraduate and academic school year.”

“They meet from August until May. They seek to encourage and strengthen the students’ spiritual growth with God while in college. This ministry serves as a resource to further deepen their faith by focusing on fellowship and community outreach.”

Alfred Street also helps historically black colleges and universities all over the country by having college fairs and by offering scholarships. This past year was their sixteenth-year hosting college festival.

Walton added, “The church gives full scholarships to students to these schools and this year they gave over 4 million dollars in scholarships. All the money for these scholarships is raised through the church, different sponsors, donations from individuals or businesses, and from different activities and events that they have throughout the year."