This May, more than 300 members representing L’Arche USA’s 18 communities will gather in Washington, D.C. to celebrate culmination of the organization’s 50th anniversary.
Two free events will be open to the public. RSVPs are appreciated so planners can accommodate all guests.
Friday, May 29, 2015, 2-4 p.m.
Sharing Our Gifts: A Public Celebration
American University Friedheim Quad, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC
Come and celebrate the gift of relationship between people with and without intellectual disabilities. Join members of L’Arche from across the United States, local friends and supporters, peer organizations and members of the general public for this event. Enjoy a program of music, a mime, games on the lawn, and a photo booth to record the experience with old and new friends.
Saturday, May 30, 2015, 2 p.m.
Calling for a New Vision of Peace: A Public Forum and Interfaith Prayer Service
National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC
Join Krista Tippett, radio host of On Being, Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, and members of L’Arche from across the United States as we celebrate 50 years of L’Arche, give thanks for the gifts received through relationship between people with and without intellectual disabilities, and speak to our call today in the world.
About L’Arche: For much of recent history, people who have intellectual and development disabilities have been hidden away, ignored or feared, and abused or neglected. In 1964, a revolutionary movement began when Jean Vanier invited Raphaël Simi and Philippe Seux, two men with intellectual disabilities, to move out of an institution to live with him in a small village in France. Over the course of 50 years people around the world were drawn to the idea of people with and without disabilities living and working together as peers. Today, the International Federation consists of 145 L’Arche communities in 35 countries. Communities consist of one or more homes and/or daytime programs.
L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C., was founded in 1983 on Ontario Road in Adams Morgan. Some of the first core people (adults who have intellectual disabilities who form the heart of L’Arche) came from Forest Haven, Washington, D.C.’s notorious institution for people with intellectual disabilities. A second L’Arche home was opened in 1988 on Euclid Street. L’Arche expanded to Arlington, Virginia, with a home on South Highland Street in Arlington Heights in 2006, and the fourth home opened nearby on South Sixth Street in 2010.
The celebration in D.C. comes on the heels of the news that Jean Vanier received the Templeton Prize, “one of the world’s largest annual awards given to an individual and honors a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” At age 86, Jean Vanier still lives in L’Arche in Trosly, France. His beautifully penned thoughts about living in community continue to inspire people who are seeking to live gently, love fully, and give themselves freely.
Contact: Liz Yoder at 202.232.4539