Not long ago Kimberly Genau of Gaithersburg, Maryland, saw a need and answered it: a ministry for members of Congress and their spouses. As Kimberly points out on the Alabaster House website, “Most of our leaders have substantial workloads, coupled with significant time away from family and home. This creates great strain on their lives emotionally, spiritually, and physically.” Alabaster House was created to address these needs.
I recently sat down with Kimberly to find out more about this new bipartisan ministry.
Anne: How does Alabaster House work?
Kimberly: Alabaster House provides spiritual resources to government leaders and their families through confidential prayer, biblical devotions, and friendship. As you know, the higher in leadership one ascends, the [more] opportunities are diminished for leaders to genuinely share their prayer requests. The last thing these leaders need is a gossip article in the newspaper. Many people interacting with leaders have an agenda and there are fewer opportunities where government leaders can trust. Alabaster House is a safe place for leaders to be encouraged in their faith.
Anne: What sorts of activities does Alabaster House engage in?
Kimberly: We host chapel times, devotionals, prayer appointments, Capitol Teas, Capitol Ladies Retreats, [and] Congressional Marriage Retreats, and help foster friendships among government leaders. We recently held a Congressional Marriage Retreat offering members of Congress an opportunity to get away and spend time with their spouse. Many people asked us who would be our “big” speaker. Congress can have a big speaker any day of the week. We felt the most important person they needed to listen to was not a big speaker, but their spouse. We created all kinds of options for them to spend time together and included tables for two all across the property. Couples worked on key questions related to their marriage and also had options to go on a trial walk, zip line, watch the sunset, lounge in a hammock, learn from other congressional couples at our fireside chat, and receive prayer and ministry together.
Anne: What did members and spouses think of this retreat?
Kimberly: They shared how grateful they were to be a part of such a unique and memorable experience, saying it was exactly what they needed after their hugely time-consuming schedules serving in D.C.
Anne: What made you realize that there were unique spiritual needs in our nation’s capital?
Kimberly: All of us, no matter where we work, have spiritual needs. Those who govern directly affect millions of people through their elected office. I was hired by an evangelical leader in 1998, essentially as a missionary to Capitol Hill. I saw firsthand the unique needs those in government have and how we can encourage them spiritually.
Anne: What results have you seen since becoming involved in the spiritual lives of members and spouses?
Kimberly: Over the years, we have seen leaders make personal decisions to follow Christ, and we have been able to help many stay grounded in their faith and their marriage. We often encourage the spouses, especially of new members of Congress, to come to the city often and try to participate in the D.C. schedule. Many that choose to stay back home have found it difficult to keep up with all that happens, and it can put additional strain on the marriage.
So praying for congressional couples and their marriages is certainly something that we do, and we would encourage others to specifically pray for the marriages of elected officials.
Anne: If readers have a heart for America’s leaders, how can they get involved with Alabaster House?
Kimberly: Readers can get connected with Alabaster House by subscribing to our prayer updates. Scripture reminds us to pray for our leaders, and by subscribing, readers can pray with insight and make a difference even as we are on the front lines meeting and praying directly with leaders. Subscribing also keeps readers informed of various special events, like the gala we are hosting.
Anne: Are tickets still available for your gala fundraising dinner on April 27?
Kimberly: Yes, tickets are still available and can be purchased online.
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