- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

It is perhaps a rare — even brave — church pastor who asks some of his congregants to forgo Sunday worship at his church, but Rod Stafford, senior pastor at Fairfax Community Church had his reasons.

First, he explained, the church’s Sunday services were overflowing — just about every seat at the 9:15 a.m. service yesterday was filled, and, Suzy Ivy, Mr. Stafford’s executive assistant, said it was more than likely that the 11 a.m. service would be packed as well.

“We were averaging 160 in a service at our old building,” Mrs. Ivy said. “When we came [to the new facility on Braddock Road], attendance exploded and has never been below 900 every week.”

About 1,460 people, including children, attend the church’s services each week, Mrs. Ivy said.

That growth, Mr. Stafford said from the platform, was why the church would reinstitute a Saturday evening service, and he encouraged those members who were able to attend to do so, creating space for newcomers on Sunday morning. The first Saturday service is scheduled for this weekend at 5:30 p.m., he said, and it will inaugurate a series of talks called “Fight Club: Strengthening Your Relationships Through Conflict.”

The other place Mr. Stafford invited some members to go would take them from Fairfax Community to a related congregation on 16th Street Northwest in the District. The Fairfax congregation is helping to “relaunch” the National Community Church there on Oct. 15, and those members willing to participate there were urged to do so.

If current trends continue, however, there should be no shortage of people to fill the seats at any service: Just yesterday, Mr. Stafford baptized 16 new members.

Mark A. Kellner



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