E. The Modern Era

Social Action

Alice in Blunderland DumbartonLooking Outside Its Walls. No longer a neighborhood church, Dumbarton drew college students from Georgetown and nearby areas and social activists from the suburbs to renew itself. Previously nonpolitical, the church now immersed itself in civil rights marches, peace rallies and local and world affairs. A Dumbarton-performed traveling musical, “Alice In Blunderland,” nuclear disarmanent. The church became nationally known as a leader in progressive Christianity.

Sanctuary. In 1985, Dumbarton sheltered a Salvadoran immigrant who entered the country illegally. The cause was part of the national sanctuary movement, in which churches defied national law by taking undocumented persons under their wings. Church members also took numerous mission trips to Latin America and Palestine to observe conditions and recommend changes.

Sexual Identity. Dumbarton became a reconciling congregation in 1987, throwing out the welcome mat to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals. Many of them joined the church, grateful for the opportunity to openly worship without concealing their sexual identities. When the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Dumbarton became the first United Methodist congregation in the city to agree to perform such weddings, despite opposition from the larger United Methodist church.