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Every Week on Sundays @ 5:00 p.m. EST

Join us for the Weekly Holy City Sunday Church Service, In Person or Online!

Everyone is welcome to join our spiritual community on Sundays at the Church of the Holy City, held live every week in person in the church sanctuary or online via Zoom. Join Us!

Our Sunday in-person attendance is growing!

Every Week on Mondays @ 7:00 p.m. EST

CHC Read and Discuss: “Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will”

The CHC book group is reading and discussing “Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will”” by Robert M. Sapolsky.  Our CHC Read and Discuss Group meets on zoom and in person on a weekly basis, each Monday at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

We are creating spaces for spiritual seekers to meet & grow.

The mission of the Church of the Holy City is to be the place where anyone at any time can get support as they embark on their spiritual journey. We meet spiritual seekers where they are.

While other religious institutions see it as their mission to convert whoever they meet, our role is to support people where they are and offer them what we have to meet their needs.

We believe that faith exists only in action. We provide tools to spiritual seekers as they seek to live out their divine purpose.

Our vision is to reject the culture of contempt and build a community of belonging where we each live for the other.

I just watched your sermon from last week about forgiveness. It was powerful and reminds me of my struggle with finding forgiveness. My brother was killed almost 30 years ago and I had the opportunity to participate in two victim offender dialogues with the gentleman who is incarcerated for his murder. To say I was and still am humbled by my dialogues with him would be an understatement. Forgiveness is not easy to give and sometimes it takes forgiving ourselves first before we can forgive others.


The faith is within you, not within the space. It's within you. It's how you treat your fellow man. It's how you interact with each other. It's how you go on with your day to day life that's faith. Faith is not in the building. We come to the building to worship, but faith comes from within yourself.

Jimmy Cox

The three reasons why I decided to attend the Church of The Holy City are quite simple – frist, that it is inclusive while also incorporating believing in Jesus; the second is that the insights of Swedenborg really bringing some additional perspective that allow us to see inside the spiritual realm and help translate that to what we are seeing in the Bible; and the third thing is the discussions, where everyone does not have to have the same opinion to be heard.

Sheri Smith

Something I've always loved about our church, and why I would consider raising my kids religious, even though I am not very religious myself, is because of its focus on love, community, and being honest with yourself and other people. It's not fear-based.

Tony Raffa

1) Our community is committed to being inclusive, promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.
2) Biblical stories seen as metaphorical and not literal truths.
3) Over the years our membership became more youthful, which makes it more appealing to stick with it.
4) We LIVE our spiritual values.
5) We support young people who are building a better world, and that is personally inspiring to me.

Malcolm Peck

What do I love about Church of the Holy City? Mysticism, intelligence AND social activism. I believe that faith in action is the 'missing link' in Christianity today, and being in Washington, DC, the CHC community is well-positioned to fill that gap. Fight, change laws, do good, not just pray about it!

Ellie Montazeri

My Dad has secular leanings. My Mom is a Christian who has a strong faith in God, but is not tied specific to one sect. I've always come somewhere in between - seeking a higher purpose. I wouldn't consider myself to any particular faith tradition, but there are elements of it this community that appeal to me on my journey towards spiritual growth.

Nikiar Ahmadi

It feels like I found a hidden gem in the Church of the Holy City. I haven't felt so welcome and connected to a church in a long time. This is a church that meets people wherever they are at and welcomes them, not superficially but from a deep understanding of the nuances and limitations of many other traditional religious communities. Church of the Holy City seeks to support the whole person.


Our spiritual community is open to all

Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Whether meeting in person or gathering online for virtual church service, we welcome you to our services.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of our church functions have been online through Zoom.  You are welcome to join our spiritual community virtually or any of our other events listed below in the events section.

Spiritual community events

Our events are open to everyone and all are welcome! From our weekly service, to book clubs and local events, we encourage everyone to join us. Become part of the community.

Special Events

No event found!

All Events

No event found!


The Swedenborgian movement began in Sweden, France, and England in the 1780s to reform Christian traditions, influenced by the writings of scientist Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772).
The Swedenborgian tradition values freedom of thought in matters of belief. Any precepts of faith that we accept should make sense to our minds and our hearts.  Swedenborgian acknowledge what they believe to be the universal nature of God’s church: all who do good in accordance with the truth of their religion will be accepted into heaven (since God is goodness itself), and doing good joins one with God.
The Swedenborgian Church avoids making definitive statements on doctrine, in order that all people of faith might come to their own conclusions. We welcome good faith dissent and discussion around all ideas of faith, culture, and belief, which has produced a rich tradition of theological discourse.

Two easy options to hear our weekly message

Weekly service on Sundays, in person and online.  To know when Reverend Tafel is physically in the church each week, please check the weekly newsletter.

    Live Weekly

    In Person or Via Zoom

    Join our spiritual community on Sundays in person at the church or online via Zoom.


    On YouTube

    See all of our sermons online on our YouTube channel.

    Healing communities from polarization

    Healing communities from polarization

    Healing communities from polarization

    Healing communities from polarization

    Healing communities from polarization

    Bridging cultural and spiritual divides

    Bridging cultural and spiritual divides

    Bridging cultural and spiritual divides

    Bridging cultural and spiritual divides

    Bridging cultural and spiritual divides

    Frequently asked questions

    What do you believe?

    Church of the Holy City is a Christian Church that seeks to follow the teaching of Jesus in the gospels for guidance in our lives.

    We believe that our purpose in life is to follow our calling to be useful in doing good in the world.

    We believe that all faith paths are good and lead to heaven.

    We believe our goal in life is to love our neighbor by seeking to serve others.

    We believe that Christ consciousness transcends religions.

    We believe that people who live a life of love and service are connecting to Christ consciousness.

    We believe the Bible is a holy book that offers wisdom in our lives.

    We believe the Bible can be read at a deeper symbolic level for deeper wisdom.

    We believe a new generation of spiritual entrepreneurs are rising up who integrate their spiritual life with their service to the world.

    We believe that after physical death God condemns no one to hell, but that each of us gravitate to the spiritual community that shares are greatest love from our life on earth. For some their greatest love brings them into hellish communities.

    We believe that the focus of Christianity should be to fight for inclusion, diversity, justice and equality.

    We believe it is not so much what theology you espouse, but how you actually live your life that makes a meaningful life.

    We believe that the secret to finding meaning and purpose in life is to live in community serving others.

    How often do you meet?

    Weekly service is held virtually every Sunday via Zoom, Sundays @ 5pm EST.  To join, please click here.

    What do we welcome as part of the community?

    We welcome all spiritual seekers who sincerely want to grow in their compassion for others.

    We welcome people of all faiths and no faith.

    We welcome people with questions, not answers.

    Who Was Swedenborg?

    Emanual Swedenborg was a world renown scientist who pioneered brain studies. He was also an inventor. His drawing of an airplane hangs in the Smithsonian. Later in his life, he had mystical experiences that opened up a new dimension in his life. The mystical visions offered him insights into heaven and hell, which he wrote down.

    He wrote more books than anyone in the 18th century recording what he saw. His insights challenged traditional Christian teachings, claiming that all faith paths were good. That having the correct theological statement was not important but living a life of love motivated to do good lead to a heavenly life. He claimed that our life on earth is very important, and we must live our lives being useful to others.

    What impact has the tradition had?

    You may never have heard of the Swedenborgian tradition, but it has had a huge impact.

    Fighting Against Racism
    Inspired by the mystical insights shared by Swedenborg on the importance and power of the African race, some the earliest abolitionist in the US were Swedenborgians, including proofed life stories of Carl Wadstrom and Lord Fairfax.

    Fighting for Ecumenicism
    Inspired by the mystical insights shared by Swedenborg on the importance of all faith paths, the many of earliest ecumenicists in America were Swedenborgians. Charles Bonney, the founder of the first World Parliament of Religions took place in 1893 launched by a Swedenborgian. This introduced eastern religions to the US.

    Fighting for Women’s Rights
    Inspired by the teachings of our church, the founder of Mother’s Day joined with others to create the right for women to vote.

    Fighting for the Rights of the Disabled
    Helen Keller championed the rights of the disabled and wrote about her Swedenborgian book in My Religion.

    Fighting for LGBT Rights
    Our current pastor was one of the earliest public champions for same sex marriage. Our church ordains gays and lesbians and also provides marriages for LGBT couples.

    About Reverend Rich Tafel

    Our Reverend, Richard L. Tafel, has been involved with social change in the political sphere for several decades. He believes that social entrepreneurism offers a new way to combine the best of capitalism and the social sector towards sustainable systems change worldwide.

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