The Church of the Saviour

The Church of the Saviour, Washington DC

The current structure of The Church of the Saviour is a “scattered community” of small independent churches. Having come from a common family history and vision, the churches and other affiliated communities share similar, but not identical, practices and commitments. Each is a unique local expression of the Body of Christ. The churches welcome your participation in their worship services, classes and other gatherings.

The Church of the Saviour History

Being part of a disciplined, committed, diverse, ecumenical church was an early dream of N. Gordon Cosby and Mary Campbell Cosby. As children growing up in Lynchburg, VA, during a time of explicit separateness among churches, races and classes, they dreamed of a church that would be unapologetically devoted to the reconciling way of Jesus.

Mary Campbell Cosby and Gordon Cosby

Gordon had a native curiosity and enthusiasm for race relations. When he was a teenager, he asked a rural African-American church who had no minister if he could be their preacher. They said they would give him a try and he preached there for two years. He and his older brother challenged each other to take seriously the evangelistic nature of the gospel, competing to share the Good News with at least one person each day, or pay a fine if they did not. Many nights, Gordon admitted, he would sneak out of the house from his second floor bedroom after curfew and go out in search of some “lost soul” so as to avoid paying the fine. A lonely night watchman down by the railroad got “saved” more than a few times, just to help Gordon out.

During World War II Gordon enlisted as a chaplain and served in the Glider Infantry Unit of the 101st Airborne Division. It was there that he became convinced of the futility of war and it was there that he saw how desperately people need a deeper experience of faith than most churches are structured to offer. He promised God that if he survived the war he would dedicate himself to the pursuit of creating new structures and methods which he hoped would give the church greater integrity and help people enter the depths of discipleship and find the life that sustains.

When he returned to the States in 1946, he and Mary began to act on their dream of a different kind of church. They started by hosting Sunday evening gatherings in restaurants and other borrowed spaces around Washington, DC. Several young people from the Baptist church that Mary’s father pastored in Alexandria formed the beginning nucleus, and in October of 1947 Gordon and Mary, along with seven others, made their first membership commitment as the founding members of The Church of the Saviour. From the beginning, church members sought to embody Christ in intentional ways, welcoming radical diversity and calling all to be ministers through the generous sacrifice of time, energy and resources.

From 1947 to 2009, the “home place”
Never owning a traditional church building, the community had a “headquarters” building, a small brownstone mansion near Dupont Circle, for teaching and training members for mission. In 1953 the church was legally incorporated, and although the center of their life and activity was in the city, that same year they felt guided to purchase over 200 acres of meadows and lakes and trees near Germantown, Maryland, where they would learn to rest and play and absorb the rhythms of nature. Recognizing the tendency to mistake busyness for meaningful engagement, Gordon wanted the community to learn to trust the slower rhythms of God. So they began to have silent retreats on the land as well as work parties. In 1956 a lodge was dedicated on a remote part of the land, followed in 1962 by an inn, and Dayspring Silent Retreat Center was born.


"Today we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany: the mystery of God’s revelation in the form of the Christ child. The ancient story foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures and told anew in the gospel of Matthew (2:1-12) has been sung throughout the ages, portrayed in numerous works of art, and reenacted in many a school play–Magi journeying from afar, following the luminous star of the Holy One, to pay homage to a newborn savior king with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh...." -Trish Stefanik, Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring

[01/06/19]   Thank you to Trish and Catalina who hosted us at Overlook Retreat House at Dayspring for a song and spirit-filled remembrance gathering for Kayla, on the eve of the one year anniversary of her death, and Epiphany. The music plays on!

"My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?"

[12/31/18]   As we prepare to enter the new year, here's a "Note to Self" tip list for remaining grounded in the Spirit from a longtime CoS member.

"To keep my equilibrium, I have to remember the way I have come and who brought me here, which helps to keep me grounded.

-Practice of Silence
-Listening for God in the silence
-A word from Scripture
-Continuously practicing the Presence
-Daily affirmations and calling forth possibilities in all circumstances
-Leaving negativity behind—in thinking, in associates
-“Learning to catch the wind of the Spirit”
-Praying the difficult situations and distractions– seeing how God manifests in and through them
-In “lapses” of focus, a gentle return to the center
-Practicing daily gratitude and thanksgiving for God’s mercies, grace, and provision
-Forgiving myself and others
-Knowing that prayer is always answered. This is not wishful thinking. It is the reality of my personal experience to be claimed at all times. It is the stuff of life.
-Learning to leave behind the things that distract from the central focus of living in the Divine Presence
-Keep reading
-Don’t be too hard on yourself
-Getting used to being alone and devoting time to hallowing these circumstances
-Gratitude for what I have and not focusing on what I do not have
-Celebrating how resources manifest, are created and flow to achieve ends

This is just my road map– always being updated in the moment, as the spirit directs.”

[12/30/18]   "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:12-17

[12/26/18]   Merry Christmas! May Christ's peace be with you. 🌟🙏💕

Jim Knight - Washington Business Journal

Congratulations Jim Knight and Jubilee Housing on Jim's 2018 C-Suite Award, Non Profit category honoree. Learn more about what this great organization does providing affordable housing in D.C. and what drives Jim's passion.

"That was really the big shift, seeing life through their eyes. I realized for the most part people needed Jubilee Housing because the system didn’t work for them." Jim Knight,

Career Opportunities - L'Arche Greater Washington, DC

Our sister community L'Arche Greater Washington, DC is seeking to fill positions in communications and recruitment at their nearby office as well as assistants in local group homes. Theirs is a beautiful witness to wholeness!

At Home Among the Animals – Dec. 7, 2018 | Inward/Outward

"In the fullness of time, the Christmas story says, a girl gave birth ringed by animals. She lay the baby in one of their feeding troughs, where animal bodies would warm the air around his fresh-born human body. Mother and child fell asleep and woke to their chuffs and shuffling hooves, their calls and the shuddering of their hides… To recognize him they should look for a child at home among animals.” -Gayle Boss, "All Creation Waits" "In the fullness of time, the Christmas story says, a girl gave birth ringed by animals. She lay the baby in one of their feeding troughs, where animal bodies

Near As the Leaf on a Tree | Inward/Outward

"Don’t let your fears lead to despair or distractions. Instead, notice the small signs of life. Pay attention to buds of newness against the naked sky. Listen for the heartbeat of life beneath a snowy crust. The realm of God is as near as the leaf on a tree." -Marjory Bankson, Seekers Church The slow work of winter curls inward as Advent begins. It is a season for hibernation and gestation too.

[12/01/18]   Church of the Saviour lives out its call to the inward/outward journey together in 8 different communities that worship in different places on different days. Each has a distinct charism and style, but all share the principles of deep commitment, listening for the Spirit’s leading, and servant ministry in Washington, DC. In addition, more than 40 separately incorporated non-profits have grown out of Church of the Saviour. Some continue to be supported by Church of the Saviour and others have become completely independent. Many of those ministries have events and activities which we will also include.

Our webmaster, Matthias Martin, will be posting activities and events of interest to all who want to find their own call to service in the world and a community to support that call. We welcome your response and participation!

Jubilee Jumpstart | Inward/Outward

Saturday Mission Feature: Jubilee JumpStart

"If you can imagine the warm, welcoming, light-filled place and the beautiful and brilliant children and teachers who spend their days at Jubilee JumpStart, you know that I am blessed to be living a version of Frederick Buechner’s well-known quote: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”" - Dee Dee Parker Our children, parents and teachers know they are beloved and turn second cheeks, go second miles and give each other their cloaks. We are loving without limits. Thanks be to God.

What is a Mission Group? | Inward/Outward

"The purpose of a mission group is to enable an explosion of unlimited spiritual power and healing into the lives of group members, the Church, and the world." -Jim Melson, Cornelius Corps, New Community Church A Mission group is usually formed as a result of one of more persons who sense a calling from God to address some need/pain in the community, nation, or world and to carry out the calling in community with others who share this calling.

[08/12/18]   "O God, at the beginning of the day we seek your countenance.
In the countless forms of creation all around us,
in the sun's rising glory,
in the face of friend and stranger.
Your presence within every presence,
your light within all light,
your heart at the heart of this moment.
May the fresh light of morning wash our sight that we may see your life in every life this day."
-8th Day Faith Community, Call to Worship

Vulnerability, Shame, and Courage – The Path to Gratitude and Generosity | Inward/Outward

"When you and I share what we have with others, it creates a groundswell of gratitude in the hearts of many, who in turn share what they have with others. Our sharing becomes part of a much larger work of God among people in the world.

Don’t you want to be part of such a movement of God? There is no shame in sharing. It’s not about the amount you have, it’s about the joy of giving."
-Rev. Roy Howard, Faith and Money Network Everyone knows that there are many ways a conversation about money can go wrong. That's especially true when talking about faith and money. The most common way

[07/24/18]   “The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others.”

-Henri J.M. Nouwen, "The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society"

[07/04/18]   "Most of us are living, to some degree, as addicted persons, striving anxiously after power and money and prestige and relevance, trapped in the turbulence of wanting more. These addictions are so subtle for most of us that we have the illusion of being free people when in actuality we are immersed in society's expectations. We have given ourselves to God, but who decides what we do with our lives? Usually, we do. We are subtle control freaks, truly believing we are turning our lives over to God but demanding a minimum of comforts, whether it be good health or a secure home or caring friends. We are addicted to having more and more comfort, which society says we deserve.”

Gordon Cosby

[07/04/18]   I’m part of a Movement that began 2,000 yrs ago when some people risked life & property to cross borders & tell others that their God loves everybody. “America First” makes as much sense in this story as “Caesar is Lord.”

Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove

The Festival Center

We are saddened to share that this past Saturday our dear friend, Kayla McClurg passed away. Kayla was a beloved neighbor, mentor, and source of spiritual support to many of us. Her death has left us wounded and in a state of grief. She will be terribly missed. We will be sharing info on memorial services as details are finalized.

[10/30/17]   “Much sadness & gladness in my life flows directly from my comparing, & most of this comparing is useless & a terrible waste of time & energy.”

Henri Nouwen

23rd Psalm (Bobby McFerrin)

Bobby McFerrin's VOCAbuLarieS featuring SLIXS & Friends, live in Gdansk, Poland at the Solidarity of Arts Festival, 17 August 2013

[10/10/17]   To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

[09/18/17]   Love Knows How to Stoop

Isn't it strange how, even among the people of God, we clutch people rather than love them?

Love knows how to take a basin and a towel, how to stoop and meet the needs of the disciples, how to meet the needs of the world. A person will never be at home in the Christian church until he or she learns how to be at home with a basin and a towel.

I am talking about having a sort of flexibility so that when needs arise we can see the need in our imagination and leap to the need as a fish leaps to the bait, eager to be of service.

Until this is what we are doing with all of our days, and all of our nights, we will not fully belong to one another, because to belong means to know how to take a basin and the towel, and to serve.

Gordon Cosby, Seized by The Power of a Great Affection.

[08/29/17]   "People become more private, with ever more extensive security systems and isolation tactics. The police become more cautious. The business community withdraws. Community organizations no longer try to implement new possibilities. Fear becomes a debilitating, depressing and tragic condition.

Fear also can grip a nation. Its confidence and vigor are sapped. A fearful nation begins to project its fear onto others. Its creativity diminishes. The normal course is for nations and civilizations to peak and then to fall, often into total oblivion. Creativity, love, compassion are totally incompatible with fear."

Gordon Cosby, from Imprisoned by Safety, Crippled For Life. p. 84 Seized by the Power of a Great Affection

[08/29/17]   We are always asking, "What is truth?" And then crucifying the truth that stands right before our eyes.


[08/16/17]   Everyone loves the idea of reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking.

Eugene Cho

Inward-Outward Sermons from the Church of the Saviour Sermons and lectures at the Church of the Saviour, Washington DC, from 1952 to 2008. Most sermons preached by the Rev. Gordon Cosby.

[08/07/17]   May It Be So

Sometimes we make religion much too complicated. Christianity, at bottom, is the simplest religion that ever existed: “Love is God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Seized By The Power Of A Great Affection p. 93
Gordon Cosby

[08/06/17]   "If you are going to love one, you have to love them all." Will Campbell

Jesus was not the powerful or effective Messiah that the Jews hoped for—or that Christians seem to want, for that matter. Paul says that “God chooses the foolish, weak, and despised . . . so that no human being might boast before God” (see 1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

God is good! (Pic taken near Dayspring Farm)

Lovingkindness | Lovingkindness [William Miller] is 20% off every day at Lovingkindness—acting with selfless compassion toward others—is a widely recognized virtue that is honored across world religions.  But what does it . . .

[07/11/17]   "I want to suggest that there is a very clear relationship between our idolatry of money and the inequities and the injustices in our world. And these injustices and inequities for a biblical person must be acknowledged as total rebellion of the society of Yahweh and his justice." Gordon Cosby, sermon 1977

[07/09/17]   "I am convinced communal life can flourish only if it exists for an aim outside itself. Community is viable if it is the outgrowth of a deep involvement in a purpose which is other than, or above that of being a community."

Elizabeth O’Connor

[07/08/17]   "If we wait for some people to become agreeable or attractive before we begin to love them, we will never begin."
Thomas Merton

The Great Turning - Center for Action and Contemplation

There is a deep relationship between the inner revolution of prayer and the transformation of social structures and social consciousness. Contemplation in Action: Week 2 The Great Turning Friday, July 7, 2017 Contemplation is no fantasy, make-believe, or daydream, but the flowering of patience and steady perseverance. When we look at the world today, we may well ask whether it can be transformed on the global or even personal level. O...

Dayspring Church Germantown MD

Dayspring is a small, deeply committed Christian faith community set in the beauty of 200 acres of woodlands,meadows, creeks, and ponds. We search for ways of living that are faithful, simple, just, and peaceful for all people and all creation in a challenging world -- in nature, in our culture, in the church. As a member faith community of the nondenominational Church of the Saviour, we embrace a variety of Christian viewpoints.

The Story - inward/outward One of the most attractive temptations is not to understand something but to keep talking about it anyway. If we keep talking, maybe we will reach a point of greater understanding. We might form a discussion group on the subject, or conduct a survey, or brainstorm possible responses, anything to hel...

[02/12/17]   Word from Gordon Cosby

Who We Are - inward/outward For Sunday, February 5, 2017 – Matthew 5:13-20 We lose ourselves in striving to become people we imagine to be the right kind of people, pleasing to God, rather than simply being who we are. We strive after what might not be ours to do rather than submitting humbly to God’s tasks each day, as Read m...

To Know and Not Know - inward/outward For Sunday, January 15, 2017 – John 1:29-42 Apparently there will be both a lot of knowing and not knowing on the journey with Jesus. In some ways we will come to know more than we ever dreamed possible, and in some ways we never will know him, what and who he really is, nor Read more...

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1640 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC
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