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"That two fell doesn't prove that the house -- which has seen many members of Congress pass through and engage in Bible studies -- doesn't mean that the house has failed," said conservative columnist Cal Thomas, who once spoke to a group of interns at the house. "If that was the standard, the whole Congress would be corrupt."
The house's residents mostly adhere to a code of silence about the place, seldom discussing it publicly, lending an aura of mystery to what happens inside and a hint of conspiratorial speculation. In a town where everyone talks about everything, the residents have managed largely to keep such a refuge to themselves and their friends. On a street mostly occupied by Hill staffers and professionals in their 20s and early 30s, some of the Democratic staffers nicknamed it "the Prayer House." On summer evenings, the congressmen would sometimes sit out front smoking cigars and chatting, but what went on inside stayed inside.
The house, which is assessed at $1.84 million, is registered to a little-known organization called Youth With a Mission of Washington DC. Carver, who said his Fellowship group is affiliated with the house, said that he has never heard of Youth With a Mission of Washington DC and that he did not have a phone number for it. Later, he said, he spoke with someone who "at one time was involved with the house" and had "heard secondhand" that the organization that runs the house is "subscribing to the no-comment."
"They've done a very good job of creating an atmosphere as separated as it can possibly be from the tensions of the city . . . a spiritual retreat from the cacophony and distraction of Capitol Hill," said the Rev. Rob Schenck, who has attended prayer meetings at the house. "But I've questioned in the past the highly secretive nature of it. The secretive nature of it has come off as a bit too clever. It places them at risk of suspicion about their motives. It hasn't served them well."