Capitol Hill United Ministries was formed in 1985 in order to formalize the
cooperation of clergy of Capitol Hill who had been meeting monthly since 1983 in
order to discuss common ministry priorities. The early focus of this coalition was
around the issues of hunger, homelessness, chronic mental illness and the AIDS
crisis. Children and youth issues were added as an additional category.
Denominations represented included: Methodist, American Baptist, Catholic,
Episcopal, Unitarian, Presbyterian and Lutheran. Joint worship services were held
and there was an annual pulpit exchange. (See member organizations map at
bottom of this page).
The early purpose was to minister to the community and each other. Information
was shared about services already being provided. New services and organizations
were added in order to address unmet needs. Organizations that were born of
those needs are: Capitol Hill Community Services, Metro CareRing, the Center for
the People of Capitol Hill and the CHUM coupon program which provides subsidy for
service organizations serving Capitol Hill.
The coordination of ministries led to advocacy around issues such as mental illness,
minimum wage and affordable housing. Current advocacy efforts are addressed as
Attempts are constantly being made to assure continuing services for the poor and
needy in the community. The only salaried member of the CHUM staff has been a
part-time community minister (at large) who has performed a function of laison
between the staff and member clergy as well as to coordinate advocacy efforts.
Structure has varied over the years with policy defined by an executive committee,
or board. Monthly clergy meetings held at member churches have been constant