Here’s a final update and word of thanks about the project to gather backpacks and school supplies for children in need who attend Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School.

I just wanted to take a minute and express my gratitude towards everyone who supported this effort.  Whether you supported us through donation and/or prayer, it is because of your efforts that I am able to say that we were able to fill 24 backpacks with extra supplies to donate.

 The backpacks are filled with at least one of every item that was on the supply list, as well as a small gospel tract and information card about Grace Church of Alexandria.  These backpacks and supplies will go straight to kids in our community in need attending school at Samuel W. Tucker Elementary.  

We will directly touch well over 24 students, but through your actions and love, we will touch countless families, teachers, and staff at Samuel Tucker.  So, thank you, thank you for your participation and support.  I pray we will be able to do this again next year.

~ Dominique Johnson, Project Coordinator

Escape From Slavery
Across the street from Whole Foods in Old Town Alexandria stands a statute in tribute to Emily (age 13) and Mary (age 15) Edmonson, courageous African-American sisters who tried in April of 1848 to escape their bondage as slaves. As I retold last Sunday at Grace Church of Alexandria as an illustration for that day’s sermon, the Edmonson sisters were born into slavery, yet they yearned for freedom. They secretively boarded a sloop on the Potomac River called The Pearl, led by sailors sympathetic to slaves who wanted to escape to liberty.


Statute of Emily & Mary Edmonson in Alexandria, VA

As The Pearl set sail from the District of Columbia, a steamboat filled with furious slave owners gave chase and captured the sloop with 76 slaves in the cargo hold, including the teenage Edmonsons. This turned out to be the largest escape attempt by slaves in American history! The poor slaves were locked up in Alexandria at the infamous Bruin slave jail at 1701 Duke Street. Emily and Mary were paraded on the slave market by slave trader Joseph Bruin who sought to sell them for sexual exploitation to the highest bidder. Their father, a freeman, sought desperately to gather funds to redeem them from the slave market but could in no way afford the extravagant sum for which his young, attractive, daughters were selling for on the market.

Praise be to God, a church in Brooklyn heard of the sisters’ plight and contributed the money to purchase their freedom. Mary and Emily were set free! A writer named Hariett Beecher Stowe told the story of their slavery and capture during their escape attempt in her book The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The account of Emily and Mary’s abuse and bondage spread across the country and helped stir up sympathy to free the slaves. The sisters ended up becoming friends and helpers of Frederick Douglass in his campaign to end slavery in America, and Emily’s relatives ended up helping to start two Christian churches in D.C.

A Call For Justice
I am sobered as I consider how deeply the evil of human slavery has stained our city’s history. The statute of the Edmonson sisters is a constant reminder of the depravity of the human heart and a call for Christians to pursue justice and stand for the oppressed.

Social action is not the gospel, yet it flows as a consequence of the gospel. Christ set us free from the grip sin held upon us, and he now calls believers to love radically like he has loved.

We value justice because Scripture is replete with statements that make clear God values justice for the oppressed who are made in his image. We ought to take seriously His call to care for “widows, orphans, and stranger in the land” (such as Leviticus 19:33 and Jeremiah 7:6) and “to care for orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). And we value justice in this world because pursuing justice now gives us the chance to display what it looks like to live under God’s gracious rule, when Christ will soon usher in his kingdom in its fullness.

Justice–There’s An App For That
We are grateful for Christian organizations like International Justice Mission, based near Alexandria (IJM), that organize Christians to fight modern-day slavery, sex trafficking, and other forms of injustice. Last month IJM released an app for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7 that includes updates from the field, stories of justice, and tools to take action–

IJM_App from Fire Tribe Productions on Vimeo.

Grace Church of Alexandria regularly informs our members how they can stand for justice for oppressed Christians and human beings throughout the globe, first by carrying the good news of salvation in Christ to the ends of of the earth and then by praying for and advocating for the oppressed.

This post was written by Jonathan Matías and Garrett Lee, pastors of Grace Church of Alexandria.

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We will be collecting backpacks and school supplies for Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School students in need. We are grateful to be able to meet in the school for worship on Sundays and would like to give back to the school community.

Collection dates: from May 31 to July 5.

List of supplies: at the Welcome Table on Sundays or email the church to request it. Monetary donations are also accepted. You can gather a full backpack, or a dozen of the same needed item (erasers, for example), or whatever combination you’d like.

To Donate: Please put your donations in the plastic bin at church or give directly to project coordinator Dominique Johnson.

Thank you for helping to give back to our community!


This Thursday August 21 is a historic day in Alexandria history. It’s the 75th anniversary of the Alexandria Library sit-in led by Samuel W. Tucker, what is believed to be the first civil rights sit-in in American history. On this occasion, our lead pastor Jonathan Matías retold Samuel Tucker’s story and preached a synopsis of what the Bible says about race.

Listen by clicking the play button below, and follow along with this visual presentation.

Race, Cross, and the Church: Toward a Biblical Theology of Race by gracealexandria

Sermon Title: Race, Cross, and The Church: Toward a Biblical Theology of Race
Sermon Text: Genesis 1:26-28, 8:13-17; Ephesians 2:11-22; Revelation 7:9-10

Read more about the historic sit-in here and here.

Click the link below to listen to an audio recording of the sermon.

Chris Sicks, NavPress author and pastor in Alexandria, will be preaching about mercy ministry at 10:30 am on Sunday November 17, 2013, at Grace Church of Alexandria. Join us at 10:30 am to hear Chris–an engaging, thoughtful, compassionate believer–share how we can make God’s gospel love tangible to people in our city.

Chris has an incredible story of grace to tell, about how God has led his church Alexandria Presbyterian Church to have a powerful ministry to refugees in the Washington D.C. area, which has opened up countless doors to witness. Read the story here.


As I’ve gotten to know Chris, by his life I’ve been personally challenged to reassess how I should more actively and lovingly care for the physical needs of people in my life. By sacrificially meeting physical needs, this opens up doors to speak the truth of the gospel to hurting hearts. Chris has challenged me–what he would call a “word” person”–t0 also be a “deed” person, to make God’s gospel love touchable and real to people, so they will be more open to the saving message of Christ. As Chris says,

“I find it fascinating that Jesus chose to help hurting people as the most frequent proof of his divinity. He could have commanded the sky to rain or snow, moved mountains, and turned rocks into diamonds. These acts would have demonstrated his divinity as clearly as healing and feeding did. He once calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee, but even then his attention was on the terrified men in the boat. Jesus’ heart of compassion was always moved by people and their needs.”

– p. 30 from Tangible

Chris’s book Tangible is available from NavPress and will be for sale at Grace Church on November 17th. Here’s the print version and the Kindle version. I invite you to come hear Chris!

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Seek God’s grace for Alexandria.
Meet like-minded Christians.
Come hear a devotional on prayer.

Grace Church of Alexandria is gathering with other gospel-centered churches to pray for our city.

When: Sunday, October 6, 6 pm
Where: Franconia Baptist Church
5912 Franconia Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22310
Children: Stay tuned. Childcare may be provided for kids up to age 3.

We love our city, and praying for the good of our community is one way we can express our love and make a difference. As Jeremiah 29:7 encourages–”Seek the good of the city” where God has planted you.

Come join us!

  • Grace Church of Alexandria
  • Franconia Baptist Church
  • Franconia Korean Baptist Church
  • Iglesia Biblica de La Gracia
  • Woodlawn Baptist Church
  • Grace Baptist Church of Arlington
  • Good News Baptist Church

Who Was Samuel Tucker?
Each Sunday Grace Church of Alexandria meets in a building named the Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School. Who was Samuel Tucker? Why is our city honoring him this week with a series of commemorative events?

five African-American teenagers being arrested for the 1939 sit-in

five African-American teenagers being arrested for the 1939 sit-in

Unsung Civil Rights Leader
Samuel Tucker was an African-American lawyer in Alexandria who brilliantly organized the nation’s first sit-in right here at Alexandria’s public library to protest discrimination against African Americans. Long before the civil rights movement adopted sit-ins as a key tactic to overturn racism, on August 21, 1939, Samuel Tucker sent five African American teens to stage a sit-in in our public library, where it was illegal for black people to enter. As expected, they were arrested by the Alexandria police. Attorney Tucker then defended them in court and used their case to secure a new public library for African Americans who, until this time had no access to a public library.

We take seriously the Bible’s command for believers to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (Proverbs 31:8). Because of this, we take great pride in the fact that our church’s meeting place is named for this noted civil rights leader who helped pursue biblical justice in our community.

Samuel Wilbert Tucker

Samuel Wilbert Tucker

Commemorative Events This Week, Aug 25-31, 2013
In honor of Samuel Tucker, the Alexandria Black History Museum is offering:

  1. $1 DVD – “Out of Obscurity” – the story of the first sit-in in America, led by Samuel Tucker. Copies are available for $1 at the Alexandria Black History Museum. Screenings of this engaging film are taking place today, August 28, at 1, 2, 3, and 4 pm at the museum.
  2. Civil Rights Walking Tour – A free tour on Thursday, August 29 at 12:30 am and 7:00 pm exploring important sites related to Samuel Tucker and Alexandria’s historic 1939 sit-in. Sponsored by Virginia Tech.

Can’t make it on the tour or film showing? Drop by the Kate Waller Barrett Library at 717 Queen Street in Alexandria where the sit-in took place. Visit the Alexandria Black History Museum. Or watch this C-SPAN video about the 1939 sit-in.

Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, Grace Church's meeting place for the last five years

Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School, Grace Church’s meeting place for the last five years



That’s right! A gospel-centered church meets right in Alexandria’s Cameron Station–Grace Church of Alexandria. For five years we’ve been meeting at Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School on the far end of Cameron Station. Come join our church family for worship at 10:30 am on Sundays! You’ll find a warm welcome, grounded Bible teaching, and a place to learn about Christianity.


This fall you may notice these posters, announcements, and web ads in Cameron Station, introducing you to Grace Church of Alexandria. Drop in and consider making Grace Church your church home! Our six community groups meet in Alexandria and surrounding communities. And if you’re new to Christianity, we invite you to come and learn what the Christian message is all about.



On September 1, 2013, Sunday services will be back at our regular meeting place, Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
10:30 Service
11:30 Lunch
Afternoon – hang out at the park

Where: Instead of our regular meeting place, GCA will meet at:

Ben Brenman Park
The pavilion across the footbridge
Deer Run Court, Alexandria, VA 22304


Download and print a map here: Map from GCA to Park Pavilion

Casual church service including singing, devotional, and testimonies.

Free Lunch!
GCA will provide subs for everyone. Sign up to bring sides, dessert, and drinks.

What About Kids?
• Childcare will be provided for walkers (kids who can walk & play).
• Two pack-n-plays will be available at the pavilion for infants.
• Check in your walkers before the service begins, then they’ll be dismissed after the song service to go with GraceKids workers to the nearby play area.
• Crayons and coloring sheets will be available during GraceKids check-in.

Bring a volleyball, frisbee, soccer ball, board games and stick around for fellowship!

Inclement Weather 
In case of bad weather, we will meet at our regular meeting place:

Samuel W. Tucker Elementary School
435 Ferdinand Day Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22304

This change would be announced on Saturday via church email, GCA web site, and Twitter.


Come join other gospel centered churches in Alexandria and Arlington to pray for our community. This joint prayer meeting for God’s work in our area is called “A Humble Attempt to Unite In Prayer.” Consider meeting with Christians from other churches to seek God’s grace on Alexandria and Arlington.

When: Sunday, June 30, 6 pm
Where: Grace Baptist Church of Arlington
700 S Buchanan St  Arlington, VA 22204
Children: Childcare will be provided for kids ages 0 to 3

Wondering where the title came from? It is drawn from a treatise on prayer by American theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Come pray for Christ to be glorified in our area!