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2015 Senior Celebration Honorees

On April 22, more than 300 people gathered at Washington National Cathedral to recognize the contributions of 43 special people: the honorees of Senior Celebration 2015. Nominated for their service to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the United Church of Christ Potomac Association, and Seabury Resources for Aging programs, their stories are truly remarkable – so we are pleased to share them here. Hats off to you, Senior Celebration honorees!

Betsy Bennett, Westmoreland Congregational UCC

Betsy has supported So Others Might Eat ( S.O.M.E.) since 1982 by preparing casseroles; she now coordinates the program. As Assistant Treasurer, she keeps our financial books and electronic records. In addition, she serves as an usher; supports the Prime Timers group; and is representative to the UCC Potomac Association. Her leadership positions have included co-chairing a Senior Minister search.

Inga Blust, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church

Since joining our parish in 1968, Inga has served in myriad ways, most notably on two terms of the Vestry, as Junior & Senior Warden, and as Chair of the Columba Fund Capital Campaign. Inga has held leadership positions over many years in the St. Columba-Truesdale Elementary School Project (STEP), in Winter Haven, our program for homeless women, and in the Stephen Ministry. What she enjoys most is playing second violin in the orchestra and her work as a Stephen Ministry leader. Altar guild, flower guild, chalice bearer, healing minister, usher, theatrical productions…you name it, and Inga has probably done it! We are very fortunate to have Inga’s energy, enthusiasm, spiritual presence and wisdom in our parish and we are very grateful for her volunteer service!

Eda Brawner, Christ Episcopal Church, Clinton

Eda Brawner has been a mainstay of the Music Ministry at Christ Church, Clinton for over 50 years. Her amazing talent ranges from arranging music to singing in the choir to serving as pianist on Sunday mornings. She helps our entire community make a joyful noise to the Lord. Eda rehearses the choir on Saturday mornings. She is also a soloist. She has ensured, by her dedicated service, that there is music every Sunday morning.

Sig Cohen, Seabury Resources for Aging, Ward 6

Mr. Cohen serves on the Senior Advisory Committee of Seabury Resources for Aging, Ward 6, and is very involved in his community. Not only does he help others in his profession as a mediator but he also donates his time to volunteer for a number of organizations. Mr. Cohen founded the Hill Havurah, Capitol Hill’s Jewish congregation, and is also involved with many other groups including Capitol Hill Village, Capitol Hill Group Ministry Board of Directors, and Seabury Resources for Aging.

Sumner and Jean Clarren, Episcopal Church of Our Saviour

Few communities are blessed with the kind of love and service demonstrated by Church of Our Saviour’s Sumner Clarren and his wife, the late Jean Clarren. Sumner and Jean arrived at COS In the early 1970s, initiating decades of service to COS and the greater Silver Spring community through their passion for service and music.

Both Sumner and Jean served on the COS Vestry, Sumner as Rector’s (or Senior) Warden. Jean served many years as chair of the Outreach Commission. They have provided strong support and leadership for C4, the Colesville Council of Community Congregations, an interfaith alliance of congregations whose efforts have helped thousands of area residents with both short- and long-term needs. Together, they formed the backbone of the COS Chancel Choir until Jean’s untimely death in 2014. Sumner sings with us still, and continues to embody the spirit of discipleship laid out for us in the Gospels. Church of Our Saviour is honored to nominate them for recognition at Senior Celebration.

Lola Crawford, Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring

Lola has served Grace Church in many ways over the years. She was a member of our Healing Ministry and co-founded Dining with Grace at the movies, a ministry in which parishioners would come together to watch a film and then discuss it. She also served on our Vestry. Lola continues to be very involved with our Sunday School program, helping us form the next generation of Christians.

Joyce Crocheron, St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church

Mrs. Joyce Crocheron has provided dedicated and faithful service to St. Philip Episcopal Church and the community in a variety of key roles and leadership positions over her many years at St. Philip. She is always willing to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to advance the Kingdom of God.

Under her highly effective and inspirational leadership, the Altar Guild has developed into one of the most effective organizations in the Church. She never fails in carrying out the duties and responsibilities, exemplifying the servanthood qualities of our Lord. She and her team members prepare an immaculately dressed altar that adds immeasurably to the church worship experience for all. Although Mrs. Crocheron has suffered through the passing of her husband and her son in recent months hers dedication and commitment to the service of the Lord and her church family has remained as strong as ever. Her steadfast membership to St. Philip has been a testament to her overall faith.

Arthur K. Dixon, St. John’s Episcopal/Anglican Church

Arthur has been a member of St. John’s since 1978. He has served on the Vestry in many capacities, as Junior Warder, Vestry member, and Treasurer. He was instrumental in reorganizing the choir and in creating a celebration for St. John’s that included every nationality, our famed International Sunday. He is a driving force behind our yearly picnics, as well as our Social and Cultural Committee.

Kojo is our chief cook and bottle washer, and I mean that literally. He is the cook at every function, and is so good at what he does. He is our go-to man; anything anyone wants, “go to Kojo”. Kojo deserves to be recognized not because of what he has done, but because of the type of person he is: good, kind, gentle, compassionate, godly. He treats everyone with total respect, and is known for resolving issues with diplomacy. He voluntarily runs the Treasurer’s Office (not an easy task). I admire him so much. He is the best.

Cynthia Durham, Seabury Resources Home First Residences

Cynthia Durham started volunteering with Seabury’s Home First Residences only two years ago. In this brief period of time, she has become a vital part in each program within the Home First Residences and Age-In-Place® offices. What began as an opportunity to sit in on Advisory Council meetings once a month, has turned into volunteering over 20 hours per week. “I like Seabury because it brings generations together, which teaches and inspires the seniors to stay active,” says Durham. “It also teaches the young about being a senior.”

Cynthia is the Chair of the Resident Activities Committee, encouraging the 20 seniors who live in Andrus House, House of Togetherness and Pleasant Hill to participate in activities throughout the community and with their fellow residents. Her favorite job within the organization is running Bingo on Thursday nights and assisting the caretakers in Pleasant Hill.

When asked about her work with the residents of Pleasant Hill, Cynthia responded with tears in her eyes that Seabury is her favorite place to volunteer because of her interactions with the eight formerly homeless seniors. “All you have to do is give them attention,” she said. We at Seabury Resources for Aging, Home First Residences and Age-In-Place® are a strong, thriving nonprofit organization because of volunteers like Cynthia Durham.

Karl Edler, Collington Episcopal Life Care Community

Karl is Collington’s “man behind the scenes.” He is an integral part of the AV Group, setting up and running the camera and equipment for live broadcasts throughout the community on the large screen in the Collington Auditorium as well as simultaneously captioning the meeting, event, drama production, etc., on our in-house TV. Karl is also our bee keeper. He has set up several bee houses on Collington’s property and the honey harvested is sold in the Country Store. Karl is also an active member of the Woodshop Committee. In this capacity he is also involved with our annual Regatta on Collington’s Lake.

Elise Fisher, Christ Lutheran Church

Elise celebrated her 90th anniversary of her baptism at the very same font and church! At almost 95, she remains a pillar of our church. Over the years, she has served as a teacher of math at Valparaiso, organist, church secretary, and greeter of excellence. Some of her former Sunday School pupils are seniors in our church today! If we need to know where the wooden manger is located, the correct liturgical color, how to speak clearly for the readings, or who is missing from service today, Elise knows. She would have made a superb pastor, like her brother, if women had been allowed in her day. She is a great patron of music, especially the Master Chorale of Washington, the programs at the National Cathedral like St. Matthew’s Passion, the In Series, the Bach Consort, and Reformation Sunday at the Cathedral. What a blessing she has been to our church!

Lin French, St. Mary’s Court

Lin French has been an active resident and volunteer at St. Mary’s Court since her arrival in 2012. Currently she serves on the Resident Association’s Executive Committee as Secretary and is a member and past chairperson of the Food Committee. She has volunteered at the front desk, Market Day sales, blood drives, voter registration, and the monthly religious service. She is part of an intergenerational storytelling project that pairs residents with School-Without-Walls students. Her enthusiasm for staying active is evident in the research she does for community trips and event planning, and in her own promotion of outings to other residents.

Lin worked as a nurse for twenty-five years, serving in a medical capacity in hospitals and clinics, but also as a resource for her patients. This same gift for helping others is still evident in her efforts to connect residents with each other. Lin is a connector who seeks the best for life as a senior. In her quiet time, she enjoys reading, discussing politics, watching movies, writing, and most importantly, adoring small dogs.

Sallie Holder, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, College Park

Sallie Holder first came to St Andrew’s Episcopal Church in May of 1983, after moving to College Park to work with the University of Maryland University College Conferences and Institutes Program. This year (2015), Sallie celebrates her 32nd year at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church and her 50th year as an Episcopalian.

Sallie has served as an usher at St. Andrew’s (20+ years), counter (10+ years), reader (8+ years), and member of the Parish Finance Committee (4+ years). She served two terms on the vestry, was Diocesan region 5 representative, parish pledge secretary (1997-99), and served on the Stewardship committee (2 years), the organ search committee, rector search committee, the congregational care committee (12+ years). Sallie was active with Seabury Resources for Aging (formerly Episcopal Senior Ministries) for 17 years as parish contact (14 years), member of parish council (4 years) and as a board member (9 years). As a Board member, she served on the Delegate Council of the National Interfaith Council on Aging (NICA) and attended the National Council on Aging Conference for 5 years. She worked on Wingspread, a preconference NOCA/ASA workshop on Spirituality and Aging, for 4+ years. For the past eight summers, Sallie has served as reader, usher, flower arranger and altar guild member in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in Chautauqua, New York.

Alice Gatewood, Calvary Episcopal Church

Ms. Gatewood has been a tireless supporter of a host of ministries at Calvary Church, and has been especially diligent, creative, and effective in her fundraising efforts for the congregation’s Building and Grounds fund.