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"Wall Smashing" On a Sunday Afternoon

Rising Hope is now in the midst of a $900,000 capital campaign.

Wall smashing is usually something frowned upon by the local constabulary. In this case it was a celebration of joy and accomplishment.

This wall smashing was symbolic of the triumph of dedication, selflessness, and generosity over what would have appeared to many as insurmountable odds and a quixotic quest. What started in the truck of a car in 1995, will soon consume three levels of a 10,000 square foot building.

Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church held a dedication celebration for its new home at 8220 Russell Road last Sunday. It signaled the commencement of renovations on a building that will house a mission church to the low-income and homeless along the Route 1 corridor.

Working out of the trunk of his car just eight years ago, the Reverend Keary C. Kincannon built a congregation to serve some of the neediest members of the community. As he has proclaimed many times, "What makes this congregation's mission stand out is that the neediest members of the community are the members of Rising Hope who serve the needs of others."

Housed in five locations of donated and rented space, Kincannon has built an organization that plays a significant role in meeting the needs of the poor throughout the community.

"In the last eight years we have been displaced twice at the whim of our landlords, not unlike those we serve. It will be a blessing to move into a building we actually own," he told the crowd standing and seated in the stripped down structure.

IN AUGUST, 2001, Rising Hope purchased their new headquarters from Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services which remained a tenant until January, 2004. The purchase was made possible through a gift of $485,000 from Edwin and Helen Lynch of Mason Neck.

Last Sunday, their son Edwin W. (Bill) Lynch, Jr., told the assembled crowd, "This whole process was a great object lesson in faith. This is a great opportunity to be of service to our fellow man. This is going to be a great enterprize going forward."

In addition to the initial Lynch gift, the United Methodist Church made another $200,000 available. Rising Hope is now in the midst of a $900,000 capital campaign they call "Raising Hope with Rising Hope."

Of that goal, $528,676 has been pledged from members of 41 supporting churches and $308,561 has been received. Similar to Habitat for Humanity, volunteers will be used to assist the professional builders, according to Pete Baldwin, project manager.

Architectural design for the renovated building is being provided by BerryRio Architecture and Interiors of Sringfield on a pro bono basis. Mission teams from United Methodist congregations throughout the local area and across the state will assist in the project, according to Kincannon.

"The best part of this for me is to know the people who make up this church. I can't think of another ministry like this one in this part of Virginia. This church is unique and that's due to its pastor, said the Reverend Doctor John (Jack) Martin, pastor, Annandale UMC.

The Reverend Dr. Susan Garrett, director, Virginia Conference Council on Ministry, UMC, echoed those sentiments. "If there is any church that lives our mission it is Rising Hope," she said.

Dana Kauffman, Lee District supervisor, in who's district the new building is located, thanked Lynch "for giving back to the community." He also told Kincannon, "Time and time again you and your church has lived up to its name."

Rose Lambert, chief aide to Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland, read a congratulatory letter from Hyland. She also noted, "This church is an outreach program that makes all the others come up."

Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee, the Reverend Steve Bray, pastor, Fairfax UMC, told the audience, "Today we are standing in the promised land. This gives us the opportunity to grow. We can do missions right here in our own backyard at Rising Hope. But the promised land is not quite paid for."

Following the various presentations which were interspersed with songs from church members accompanied by Kincannon on his guitar, the wall smashing commenced by various members wielding a "golden" hammer on a drywall partition erected for the occasion.

As Kincannon and the crowd read from a prepared blessing, Cade Hamilton, Erica Wright, Steve Warhol, Boyd Brown, George Brown and Theresa Whitsworth-Ramsey, all members of Rising Hope, swung "the hammer of righteousness" against the free-standing wall.

PRESENTLY LOCATED at 8605 Engleside Office Park, Rising Hope has grown to nearly 100 members, of which 60 percent are now or have been homeless, according to its statistics. It ministers to more than 500 people each week providing food, clothing, emergency assistance, case management, tutoring, and sharing the Gospel.

Total cost of the church's new home considering purchase, renovation and equipment, is estimated at approximately $1.5 million. By raising the funds now it is estimated as much as $250,000 in interest will be saved. The renovation is estimated to take approximately six months.

For additional information, contact Laura Derby at 703-360-1976. Church or community members who wish to volunteer their labor should call volunteer coordinator, Lauren Bainbridge at 703-830-5037 or email lbainbridge@cox.net.