Arlington Interfaith Council

County Board Chairman Jay Fisette and Arlington Interfaith Council president John Shanley pose with recipients of the organization's Helping Hand grants during a June 16 meeting.

Its member organizations know a thing or two on the topic of resurrection, and the head of the Arlington Interfaith Council is hopeful some elbow grease applied over the summer months will lead to the group’s renaissance down the road.

At the council’s last meeting before a summer hiatus, president John Shanley said he would head an outreach effort to the leaders of the roughly four-dozen congregations that comprise membership.

Participating religious institutions are allotted two representatives apiece to the Interfaith Council, but with the high turnover of residents and church leaders in the local area, participation has lagged.

“We’re going to be asking the ministers to see if they actually know we exist,” Shanley said.

A forum for discussion as well as raising funds to support nonprofit groups, the Arlington Interfaith Council has faced the same challenges as groups like the Arlington County Civic Federation, Committee of 100 and area service clubs: Interest is declining and longtime supporters are aging.

Shanley thinks that can be turned around.

“We need to build a legacy for future years to come,” he said at the group’s June 16 meeting, held at Bethel United Church of Christ.

The gathering drew County Board Chairman Jay Fisette, who highlighted the government’s support for social services, and provided the Interfaith Council the opportunity to present financial support to its Helping Hands partners.

Those organizations provide an interlocking safety net for the at-risk community population, said Linda Kelleher of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).

“We rely on one another,” she said.

In addition to APAH, grants were presented to the Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless, Arlington Food Assistance Center, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Arlington Free Clinic, Arlington Thrive, Borromeo Housing, BRAVO (Buyers and Renters Arlington Voice), Culpepper Garden, Doorways for Women and Families, Habitat for Humanity, Just Neighbors, Offender Aid and Restoration, the Reading Connection, Residential Program Center Shelter and Shirlington Employment and Education Center. A grant to Phoenix House of the Mid-Atlantic will be presented soon.

The organizations “do such a wonderful job” providing support and care for those in need, Shanley said.

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