This Arlington Mansion Is The HQ Of A Religious Organization That Runs D.C.


Netflix's docuseries The Family dives into a secretive organization of many names, including the Fellowship and The Family, but the name of the groups isn't nearly as important as the massive influence the organization has over Washington D.C. The series explores the many facets of The Family's reach, including two housing facilities called Ivanwild, which housed men, and Potomac Point, which housed women. Residents of both houses would send their tenants to work at an expansive estate known as The Cedars. Many prominent political figures have visited or lived at the mansion over the years and after watching The Family on Netflix, you might be wondering who lives at The Cedars in 2019, given that it's still under the Fellowship Foundation's purview.

The Fellowship Foundation, the official name of The Family, proudly states on their website that one of their many services includes "Hosting overseas visitors and diplomats in Washington, DC at the Cedars in Arlington, Virginia." (Remember, The Family is a secretive organization, not a secret organization, there's a difference.) The website goes on to describe The Cedars as "a place of peace and privacy, where trusted relationships are nurtured to encourage a leadership led by God ... [that] provides a place where young people learn the ways of servant leadership."

Peter J. Boyer reported for The New Yorker back in 2010 that The Fellowship has been in the possession of The Cedars since 1972 and explains that it is mostly used for meals, prayer meetings, and the assembling of groups that the Fellowship supports or donates the building to temporarily. Anyone interested in the estate's more recent visitors can simply go to its Facebook page and look at the organizations who have recently tagged to location such as the Badge of Hope Ministries. While a large number of people pass through The Cedars every year, it's safe to assume that anyone who visits fits firmly within The Fellowship's faith-based mission, and the same goes for the Cedars most notable guests.

The Cedars has temporarily housed figures as varied as Republican political operative Lee Atwater, former United Way director William Aramony, and Michael Jackson. The estate's reputation as a place where powerful people meet has a seductive quality in Washington, as Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center tells The New Yorker. "You bring an oligarch over to the Cedars and he says, ‘Ah, these are my kind of people. They have pictures on the wall of all these Presidents, they seem to be in touch with power, they know people with money, this will help my business.’"

While The Cedars is an impressive piece of real estate, the mansion and associated grounds are not the end-all and be-all of The Family's power. When considering the powerful people that come through The Cedars alongside the influence of the infamous C Street Center, as well as the growing supporters of the group housed at Ivanwild and Potomac Point, the tapestry of influence The Family wields over Washington begins to truly reveal itself.