By Christy Vaughn

Dr. Michael Bledsoe, Pastor of Riverside Baptist Church; Photo Courtesy of The Banks/Riverside Baptist Church

Riverside Baptist has reopened its doors alongside The Banks apartment building at 7th St. and Maine Ave., in the location it has occupied since the 1960s. The architecture for these buildings located across the street from The Wharf brings in aspects of water and stone for our Southwest neighborhood with a park-like feel outside and a mid-century modern design. Michael Bledsoe, who has been the pastor at Riverside for 28 years, worked very closely with Geier Brown Renfrow Architects to design the new church with elements old and new. The new edifice was built with stone reclaimed from the old building and the stained-glass windows were preserved, making long-time congregants feel at home. The new space includes a fellowship hall, office space, a pastor’s garden for reflection, and of course the new sanctuary.

Pastor Bledsoe and Riverside are pleased to serve their Southwest community and pride themselves on their openness and inclusivity. In fact, as you walk down Maine Ave. you might find Pastor Bledsoe sitting on the corner with his “The Pastor is in” sign ready to talk to anybody and everybody. His ultimate goal at Riverside is to create a “community of integrity and dignity.” As a result of this development project with PN Hoffman, Riverside was able to create their first endowment fund to safeguard the church and donated $100,000 to more than two dozen nonprofit organizations that help heal the world.

Hidden behind the church is The Banks, a 173-unit luxury apartment building with amenities including a gym, coffee station, and a rooftop with breathtaking views of the city skyline from the Capitol dome all the way to the water. They also hold tenant events including cultural talks, yoga classes, and even terrarium building. Again, the architect designed the building with water elements throughout, a park-like exterior, and a warm, cozy interior. The building also includes 21 affordable units and is certified LEED Gold. The Banks worked very closely with Riverside throughout this development and wanted to make sure they built a place for the people in our neighborhood.

Stay up to date with upcoming events at Riverside Baptist at, on twitter at @Riverside_wharf, or on Instagram at riversidebaptistdc. Stay up to date regarding The Banks at, on twitter at @TheBanksApts, or on Instagram at thebanksapts.

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