As executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations for more than 23 years, Terry Lynch has taken on issues of homelessness, graffiti, broken parking meters and heat for the poor and elderly in cold weather. Lynch, a graduate of Georgetown University, is now advocating for Cleveland Park businesses affected by road construction at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street in Northwest.

Are you religious?

No. I minored in theology. Basically, I was a homeless activist [and] community organizer.

Why do the churches careabout how small businesses are doing?

The churches want jobs. The churches believe in strong jobs, strong neighborhoods, safety, good economies, good neighborhoods. It’s all interconnected, one big weaving. Small businesses are usually, I believe, the best District residents.

How do you uncover your issues?

I walk all over town at all hours of the day and night. ... I like to have a good feel about what’s happening in the neighborhoods.

Why is it called the Downtown Cluster?

Well, when they were first founded, it was a handful of downtown churches, and they eliminated their boundaries 15, 20 years ago. … Now we have 43, stretching from the Chevy Chase circle to the Capitol.

Some people might say, why care about things like broken meters?

I believe in the broken-window theory, that little things add up significantly.