A Saturday afternoon gathering of District Democrats showed some pluses and a minus of the local effort to help nominate Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis for president.

The party at Edward J. Black's Logan Circle home drew more than 200 people -- more than respectable on a World Series Saturday afternoon -- but for some, the crowd's near-monochromatic cast was unsettling.

"That isn't going to cut it," one influential black politician said of the gathering, which was mostly upscale whites. In a city that is predominantly black and Democratic, the crowd included less than a handful of blacks. And those present appeared to be neutral.

D.C. Council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) and D.C. Democratic State Committee Chairman James M. Christian both said they were just politicking and not there to support any specific candidate.

The Democratic campaign in Washington is just beginning to jell. While political leaders say several candidates have a chance of gaining support in the city, many agree that Jesse L. Jackson easily is seen as the front-runner. "We're running for number two {in delegates behind Jackson}," one Dukakis supporter said.

The initial D.C. campaign committee for Dukakis is led by D.C. Council member Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3), whose family roots are in Massachusetts. Other committee leaders include Pat Elwood, a longtime Democrat from Ward 2 and a member of the National Capital Planning Commission; Don Dinan, chairman of the Ward 6 Democrats; Norm Linsky, chairman of the Ward 3 Democrats, and Francis Threadgill, a Ward 3 Democrat.Fallout From the Bottle Bill

The bottle industry's massive funding of opposition to Tuesday's bottle bill initiative has brought some predictable outcries -- and at least one call for change. Local Commitment, a new organization formed by a group of activist Democrats, including Theodis (Ted) Gay from Ward 6 and Mark L. Plotkin from Ward 3, is calling for a limit on how much corporations can contribute to initiative campaigns.

LoCo would like to see corporations limited to $2,000 -- the same as contributions to mayoral races. Ultimately, LoCo said, it wants to see a ban on corporate contributions -- a move that would bring city law in line with federal campaigns.

"District voters cannot be bought," LoCo said in a press release. "Their minds and votes are not for sale." Seminar on Shelters

More than 50 churches and dozens of civic activists are expected to take part in a workshop Saturday on how local churches can get more involved in the Washington area's critical housing problems.

From temporary housing to providing low-income people with permanent housing, churches can do more and press governments to do more, according to organizers of the workshop.

The Churches Conference on Shelter and Housing will hold the forum at 1 p.m. at the Foundry United Methodist Church, 16th and P streets NW.

"There are more churches beginning to explore shelter and housing work than I have ever been aware of," said Keary Kincannon, executive director of the conference and a longtime housing activist. Kincannon said the forum would offer technical advice and other resources for inner-city and suburban churches. Council Member on the Move

Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) has solved a problem of constituents having trouble coming to her office. She's taking the office to them. Not exactly, of course, but Jarvis -- who is up for reelection next year -- has leased a six-seater van that she is using to respond to constituents' complaints and to attend events in her ward.

Jarvis, according to spokeswoman Dawn Alexander, has even dispatched the van to respond to constituents rather than simply returning their telephone calls -- a quick response that comes as a delightful surprise.

The royal blue van has white signs and red letters proclaiming "Charlene Drew Jarvis. Ward 4 Mobile Community Service Van." It is stocked with helpful government pamphlets on what citizens can do about various problems. Jarvis, who is paying for the van from her constituent service fund, hopes to add a mobile telephone soon.

Jarvis already has formed a Jarvis in '88 committee to handle her reelection bid. About the timing of the van and the reelection effort, Alexander said, "Any aggressive effort on the part of an incumbent can be subject to attack or {misinterpretation} -- can I add, unfortunately."