“Metropolitan, with all that rich history, it gives me perspective because I can see our journey” as a people, said assistant pastor Jonathan Newton. “Metropolitan represents our collective struggle. When I think about the things that have happened in this church at different points, how we separated ourselves, how we came together, the anniversary — when you mix it with the Trayvon [Martin] case,[it] shows that we have come a long way but we have a ways to go.”
In April, the men of the church held a Silent March from the church to Freedom Plaza to protest the high number of incarcerated black men. Guy Charity and Kimbrough are co-chairmen of the church’s “Reclamation Ministry,” which helps incarcerated men reenter society.
“The ministry is very important because it touches a lot of youth,” said Richard Corley, a member of the Mighty Men of Metropolitan. “We pray for them and their families. We talk about life skills.”
But aside from the community service that is led by the men, the men also support each other in understanding their love of the Word. After the early service, about two dozen men filed into the basement of the church for the men’s Bible class, which was taught by Solomon Palmer. For about an hour, the men wrestled with scripture and current events as Palmer attempted to stir people up with thought-provoking questions.
“This whole summer we are talking about worship. What is real worship?” Palmer asked the class. “We have got to be careful and not give mixed signals about what true worship is. We often mix worship with religion. You will probably find religion one time in the Bible, but we spend a lot of time talking about religion.”
As Palmer talked, seated around the table were men from all walks of life, from a retired Howard University cardiologist to William Borders, a longtime Washington trial lawyer.
“This church is a refuge. It is an inspiration. It is everything to me in terms of dealing with the trials and tribulations that I have. Everybody in here has trials and tribulations,” Borders said. “We come here to be here with other brothers with similar thoughts to be able to deal with these trials and tribulations.”
Geoffrey Tate, president of the Mighty Men of Metropolitan, said that the work of the men is part of the church’s 175 year old tradition. “As sons of [Richard] Allen, we are doing no more than he would do if he were alive at this time in terms of our social ministries.”