Seabury Celebrates Service: 2017 Honorees
On April 26, more than 300 people gathered at Washington National Cathedral to recognize the contributions of 55 special people: the honorees of Seabury Celebrates Service 2017. 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, 2017 honorees!
Rev. Dr. Robert N. Abarno, Seabury at Springvale Terrace
Robert N. Abarno is a retired Lutheran minister affiliated with Trinity Episcopal Church, DC. With his wife Eleanor (also a retired Lutheran minister), he volunteers with the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage, Washington National Cathedral. The Springvale Terrace community knows him simply as “Pastor Bob.” For the past three years, he has been a faithful volunteer, arriving every Friday to lead his “Matters of the Heart” program. The residents enjoy the casual way Pastor Bob presents the gospel to them with kindness and love. He also fearlessly leads the congregation in a robust round of sound. At Springvale Terrace, he is more than just a volunteer; he is a part of our family. We thank him for all that he does for us.
Audrey Balderson (September 23, 1916-February 8, 2017), St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olney
Audrey Balderson lived a life filled with the love of Christ and dedicated many hours to serving others, providing a role model for her four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and us all. Born on September 23, 1916, she died on February 8 of this year, just a few months after her 100th birthday, and only two months after logging her last volunteer hours.
Audrey grew up near the Washington National Cathedral and after returning to the area in 1986 volunteered during special exhibits there. Audrey came to Saint John’s, Olney during this time and learned about the parish outreach mission to Africa, African Palms USA. Audrey embraced its mission and volunteered with African Palms from 1986 to November 2016, usually for several days a week, and was often the “first in, last out.” Audrey often said, “I receive a lot more than I give; I would probably be six feet under if I didn’t lead a busy life.”
Audrey considered Saint John’s her family; when a reporter asked about the best part of her 100th birthday celebration, she stated it was “walking into church with my family.” Audrey gave so much to her church community; she was proud to serve on Altar Guild, as President of the Women of Saint John’s, and to volunteer at the spring fling, church yard sales, Christmas Bazaar, and others events. She was always there to help. Audrey exemplified how to live life as a true Christian and Episcopalian.
John Barnett, Grace Episcopal Church, Georgetown
John Barnett’s work with the Garden Group at Grace comes naturally to him. While living in Florida, he was deeply involved in developing and maintaining the Withlacoochee State Trail, a hiking and biking trail converted from an abandoned rail line. A memorial bench he purchased for the trail sports a sign (signed by him) wishing a good rest to those who use it. John also served as a transporter (wheel chair jockey) at the Seven Rivers Community Hospital in Crystal River, and now volunteers at the National Museum of American History, where he helps clean displays in the “America on the Move” exhibit and contributes clerical work. He volunteers in the ER at GWU Hospital, doing supply-related work, and serves as a level walker along the C&O Canal National Park, picking up trash and reporting problems found on the first 3.5 miles of the trail. Grace Church is grateful for everything John does for his church and community.
Susan Beale, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church
Susan had performed all kinds of volunteer service since joining St. Columba’s in the 1970s, including the Stephen Ministry, the flower guild, the healing ministry, Good Shepherd’s meal delivery, Sunday school, youth groups and choir, but most notably, organizing St. C’s plant sale each year since the 1980s. The plant sale is a year-long process based out of Susan’s greenhouse and involves planning, selection of seeds, recruitment of volunteers, hosting several “potting parties” and getting the plants organized and sold at the church in the spring. Work on the plant sale brings youth and parents together and the proceeds have gone to various initiatives over the years. Susan works as a clinical social worker for Capital Care Hospice at Providence Hospital. She has spoken about her work with hospice at Rector’s Forums and for smaller groups. Susan and her husband Henry recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have two sons, Andrew and Nathaniel, and two grandchildren.
Anna D. Belstein, Episcopal Church of the Ascension
Anna has been a member of the Diocese of Washington since her birth in 1923. Throughout her lifetime, she has served four congregations: St. John’s, Georgetown; St. David’s, Washington, DC; Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda; and now, Church of the Ascension, Silver Spring, where her daughter Joan serves as Rector. Among Anna’s many ministries at these parishes, she served on the Altar Guild, the Women’s Guild, as a Sunday School teacher, a Lector, a faithful member of prayer groups, a lay pastoral parish visitor, and often a “listening ear” to parish clergy. At Ascension, Anna is a faithful member of the Elderberries (the 55+ group) and brings support, joy, and faith to younger members of the parish. Anna has faithfully offered her time, talent, and treasure to support her parish homes and the Diocese of Washington. At 94, while her support now is mostly through her prayers and treasure, Anna remains a pillar of the Church who will continue to inspire current and future generations.
Constance Bishop (May 16, 1924-April 19, 2017), St. John’s Episcopal Church, Norwood
Connie’s more than 51 years as a member of St. John’s provided many opportunities for her to use her organizational and interpersonal skills, as well as the gift of faith which she shared with so many. As a long-time member of the Altar Guild, she served with reverence and good humor born of a faithful spirit. Connie was an especially important part of setting up/clearing up before and after Wednesday noon Eucharist services, and she was a regular attendee of Wednesday morning Bible Study, often providing chauffeur service to others. She enjoyed lively discussions on the intersection of faith and life.
While she never considered herself an “arranger” of flowers, Connie served as treasurer of the Flower Guild, and provided sustenance (in the form of pecan coffee cake) and encouragement, as well as setup and clean-up assistance for the great festivals of Christmas and Easter. She was particularly fond of “dressing” the large wooden Cross in preparation for the placement of flowers by our children on Easter morning. Connie served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister at major Sunday services, always sharing the cup with a calm and reverent manner. She served as teller at the Annual Parish Meeting.
For her many services to St. John’s, heralded and unheralded, Connie is honored as one who served with joy and humility – a woman of faith in action.
Charlene Blaine, Church of the Transfiguration
Charlene Blaine is one of those quiet Christians who lead without fanfare. Charlene schedules the 8:00a.m. service, ushers, brings in goodies for fellowship, folds bulletins, and works at C-4, taking care of those who need to be fed. Always interested in new ideas, her eyes sparkle with good humor. She has served on the Mission Strategy Team as they have reordered themselves and how they now do outreach. Charlene has traveled to the Holy Land with other parishioners and been a major contributor to the camaraderie of the group. Charlene’s quiet and gentle spirit speaks volumes to those who know and love her as she leads by action.
Marta Brenden, Episcopal Church of the Ascension
Marta has been a member of Ascension since 1996. Among her many leadership roles, Marta has served as senior warden, junior warden, and member of the vestry; delegate and alternate delegate to diocesan convention; and a member of the Diocesan Refugee Task Force. Currently Marta sings in the choir; serves as a lector; is chair of the outreach facilitators; is co-chair of the Elderberries (our 55+ group); is a graduating member of our EfM program; and serves as co-chair of the Race and Social Justice Task Force of the Diocese. Marta’s contributions to our parish and to the diocese are immeasurable. We are grateful to God for her gifts and look forward to serving with her in her current and future ministries!
Brigadier General Geoffrey Cheadle, Knollwood Episcopal Congregation
Brigadier General Geoffrey Cheadle (United States Air Force, Retired) is a member of the Episcopal congregation at Knollwood, the military retirement residential community near Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Geoff is a frequent lay reader and also sings with the prologue choir. Recently, he coordinated and hosted the reception held in honor of Bishop Jay Magness, Bishop of the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries, during the Bishop’s Knollwood Visitation in November 2016. Geoff has contributed to The Living Church Foundation as a guest columnist, publishing such articles as “A Matter of Righteousness: ECUSA and Israel” (August 30, 2005) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1473699/posts His late wife, Margaret (Peg) Cheadle, was a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary. During their military career, the Cheadles were posted to New Mexico, Guam, West Point, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Texas, Kansas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York City, Hawaii, and at the National War College and Andrews Air Force Base. At all of their postings, the Cheadles were active in the Episcopal congregation. Before moving to Knollwood, Geoff and Peg were members of Washington National Cathedral. General Cheadle continues to pursue the principle given by the title of his wife Peg’s final thesis at the Seminary: “The Primacy of the Holy Eucharist in Christian Worship.”
Millie Coleman, Christ Church, Georgetown
Millie Coleman has been a faithful parishioner at Christ Church, Georgetown since 1994. Graciousness, hard work, and steadfast dedication are words that only begin to describe her positive approach to the many ministries she supports – and most often leads. In addition to being an usher at the 11:15 service, Millie heads up the St. Benedict’s Guild. This welcome ministry seeks to make Christ Church an inclusive, hospitable place where all feel warmly welcomed. With Millie’s faithful leadership, witness, and guidance, the Saint Benedict’s Guild works each Sunday to actualize Chapter 53, Verse 1 of The Rule of St. Benedict: Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ.
The Christ Church Thrift Shop is yet another area of the parish that receives Millie’s dedicated service. Over many years, the small community of Thrift Shop volunteers has been able to make grants of over $500,000 to a variety of organizations, including: Meals on Wheels, Iona Senior Services, Washington Literacy Council, The Bishop Walker School, Joseph’s House, Aged Woman’s Home, and Washington School for Girls. Millie was a key volunteer for many years when the former leader of the Thrift Shop died suddenly in the spring of 2015. Without missing a beat, Millie not only assumed leadership of the Thrift Shop, she also walked lovingly and bravely with many through their grief.
Christ Church, Georgetown is blessed to have Millie Coleman as a parishioner and we are truly thankful for her many years of faithful service to Christ and to our parish family.
George Crossman, Wellspring UCC
George Crossman is one of the founders of Wellspring UCC; he and his wife Rita joined the congregation in 1997 when it still met in homes. He has served on many committees through the years, including the Finance Committee. As Treasurer, he developed a careful system for the congregation’s finances; his work is the foundation of the congregation’s stability today. He continues to be an active member of Wellspring Council, the church’s governing body.
He also was a founder and active participant in the Living the Question Covenant group, which now meets weekly at his home to discuss the relationship of faith to current issues. George invites new participants, encourages new topics, and sends out weekly reminders for the group. George’s gifts bring inspiration and joy to his congregation, his family, and his friends. At 91 years, he never stops growing, appreciating and thanking others, and he continues asking questions that pull others into conversation. A scientist, historian, translator, and foreign policy analyst by training, he is a man of faith and an amazing volunteer of time and talent.
Elizabeth (Betsy) Davis, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Bethesda
Elizabeth (Betsy) Davis has been a member of St. Luke’s Bethesda since 1999, and in the intervening 18 years she has held just about every position possible in the church. Betsy served on the vestry and as senior warden during a major remodeling of the church. Afterwards, she accepted the chairmanship of the Strategic Planning Committee, through which St. Luke’s reviewed and updated its operating structure. Betsy has served on many committees for seminarians and on lay discernment committees.
For more than 13 years she was on the finance committee, including a term as chair. The Committee handles all budget and finance issues of the church, and during her time she participated in the task of selling the rectory and investing the money for future parish needs.
Outreach activities also play a part in Betsy’s church life. For years she was the representative for Companions in World Missions and an active member of the outreach committee. For the past nine years, she has served as co-chair of the Holy Cow Initiative, which has raised over $132,524 for Episcopal Relief and Development. She is a willing coordinator for our Community-Based Shelter program as well as a long-time food provider for the Men’s Shelter.
Betsy was co-chair of Fellowship, which planned social events at St. Luke’s for three years, coordinating all aspects of the events, volunteers, food, supplies, and publicity. She still keeps in practice by organizing coffee hour at the 8:00 a.m. service once a month even though she has moved to Leisure World! She is now the co-chair of the Flower Guild with responsibility for decorating the church each Sunday with a group of enthusiastic volunteers. St. Luke’s Church is very grateful for Betsy Davis’ service.
Bud Dennie, Christ Congregational Church
Bud Dennie has been a member of Christ Congregational Church (CCC) for 50 years and has served the congregation in numerous ways. He led CCC as Church Moderator for one year. His leadership continued when he was chair and/or a member of the Board of Deacons, the Board of Missions and Service, and the Board of Stewardship. Bud has also chaired or served on many committees. These committees include Audio Visual, Senior Adults, Referral and Service, Nominating, Building and Grounds, Personnel, Technology, Child Care, Kitchen, and Safe Church. He has supported the youth program in our congregation by chaperoning youth trips, directing summer camps, teaching Sunday school, and mentoring seven youth in our Covenant Class. In addition, Bud has been involved with other activities in the congregation. These activities include organizing a 20-30 young adult club, assisting low-income families with financial matters, coordinating Christmas in April for 12 years, volunteering in the church office, serving the homeless at Shepherd’s Table, and planning and overseeing an all-church visit. He has truly been a remarkable member of our church. It is with great pleasure that we honor Bud Dennie.
Onra Dillard, Peoples Congregational Church
Onra Dillard has been actively involved in the life of the church for 72 years. She has held many positions, including president of the Evangelism and Outreach Committee and of the April/May Birth-month Club. As a member of the Board of Trustees, she served as secretary. She also served on search committees for senior and associate pastors, chaired the confirmation committee, and taught confirmation classes.
A lifelong Congregationalist, Onra has a distinguished record of service within the denomination, the Potomac Association, and the Central Atlantic Conference, and has represented the UCC with the Interfaith Conference in Washington, DC. Onra remains active in the church, serving as a deacon and chair of the repast committee for funerals; singing in two choirs, and serving with the Wednesday Prayer Group, the Senior Leisure Group, and the Music Aid Circle.
Onra has also been active in her Capitol Hill community. As a member of the Community Council, she helped to stop construction that would have displaced many families and was instrumental in establishing 31 libraries in elementary schools. In addition, she used her paralegal training to provide volunteer services for the Council for the Elderly for many years.
Jeanette Ferris, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church
Jeanette loves to cook, and she uses this skill to help feed the men who are residing at the Chase House in Rockville. Every month she is in our church kitchen preparing a meal with love and care, akin to preparing a feast for her own family. She is part of the welcome and hospitality team at the church for the Mobile Medical Clinic. Her cheerful and calm smile works wonders on the children who she inspires to deepen their faith during Sunday school classes.
Nadine Farris, Pilgrim Church
Nadine Farris, together with her husband Dave, started attending Pilgrim Church in 1970 and, finding a home there, joined as members in 1972. During these 47 years, it is hard to find a Pilgrim who hasn’t been comforted, cheered, congratulated or encouraged by Nadine, who served on the church’s Parish Care committee for much of that time. Her organization skills, coupled with a generous and compassionate heart, made her a natural choice for leadership and Nadine served as chair of the committee for an unprecedented 23 years! From baby showers to funeral arrangements, meals for the sick or recovering, organizing transportation, or simply cards, visits and phone calls, Nadine ensured that congregational life events great and small were noted with bountiful Christian love. She has also been an effective fundraiser over the years, arranging rummage sales and Christmas bazaars for the church’s benefit.
A mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother (and proud Navy wife), Nadine was also active for many years with the Girl Scouts. Pilgrim Church is grateful to Seabury for the opportunity to publicly recognize – and thank – this extraordinary woman.
Catherine Gaines, Lincoln Congregational Temple United Church of Christ
Catherine Gaines has been a long-time, faithful, and diligent worker at Lincoln Temple. She has served the church in many ways: as a member of the Women’s Fellowship, Special Events Committee, Church Council and Asst. Church Clerk. Catherine has made a special ministry of greeting worshipers as they enter the sanctuary. Even though she recently reached a milestone birthday of 100 years, Catherine remains faithful to her church. Her vision for Lincoln Temple is that we will survive. She has stated that the survival of our church will depend upon each member caring enough to contribute more – in service as well as substance. It is important, she said, to voice ideas and make suggestions for improvement, especially with increasing membership in mind.
Catherine has been a long-time volunteer at Children’s National Health System. One of the longest serving volunteers, she has registered more than 13,400 hours of service. She retired in 1970 after a civil service career in the Department of the Army, and spent a few years (1943-1946) in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II.
Gardeners of the Junior League of Washington, Seabury at Friendship Terrace
Seabury at Friendship Terrace is proud to honor the Gardeners of the Junior League of Washington for their continued contributions to the 180 plus residents of our senior community. For the past three years the Junior League’s “Gardeners” have volunteered their time, talents, and hundreds of dollars in materials, to assist our residents in creating their own beautiful flower arrangements. It is beneficial on so many levels, from the beginning smiles at just seeing the array of flowers, to watching aging hands create something of true beauty they can keep, share, or be able to give. To receive this award behalf of the Gardeners of the Junior League of Washington is President Vicki Campbell. The motto of the Junior League of Washington is, “Women Improving the Washington, DC Community Since 1912.” The Gardeners of the League exemplify this through their continued contributions of time, talents, and materials at Seabury at Friendship Terrace.
Ann Gardner, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square
Ann Gardner is a member of the Outreach Committee who helped St. John’s Church to form a relationship with Communities in Schools upon retiring from her professional life. St. John’s Church began its partnership with CIS in 2002 by helping fund a needs assessment to determine the viability of a CIS in the Nation’s Capital. Since the founding of CIS in 2004, St. John’s Church continues to provide its support through the time, talent, and financial support of the parish. Ann and many other volunteers from St. John’s work with CIS to provide support to seven schools in high-need areas in the District, impacting more than 3,300 students. We are grateful to Ann’s ongoing commitment to service at St. John’s and in the larger community.
Ladi Grey-Coker, Church of the Transfiguration
Ladi Grey-Coker is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sierra Leone. He has served this nation through his work with the highway administration, and his church in many and varied ways. He served on the vestry for many years, but upon retiring from that service took on the job of facilitating fellowship at Transfiguration. Under his guidance, that hour in our church became a pivotal hour for welcoming new people into our midst, creating unity out of a very diverse population, and celebrating our life together as a community. Ladi has also been a mainstay of the choir, the Lay Eucharistic Ministers, and the lectors. In recent years, he has served on the Mission Strategy Team of the Church, becoming the leader of the Samaritan Ministry team, supporting that larger ministry in its breakfasts, walks, and other promotional events while serving as Transfiguration’s ambassador to Samaritan Ministry. Ladi is an affable, funny, spirit-filled son of God, and we are pleased to present him as our honoree.
Theresa Harris, St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Theresa Harris is a lifelong member of St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church located in Anacostia, Washington, D.C. She and her husband David raised their three children in St. Philip. Mrs. Harris is presently the president of the board of directors of the St. Philip’s Child Development Center. She is a founding member of the CDC and has raised funds for it annually. She campaigned relentlessly to have the school accredited. This has given the school a more advanced program for its 65 young students. Mrs. Harris is also a lay minister and serves on the altar twice a month. Her leadership in the church is outstanding. She is a member of the Episcopal Church Women, the Dunbar High School alumni federation and many other organizations that work with children. Mrs. Theresa Harris is a true woman of God.
Macie M. Jackson, Episcopal Church of the Atonement
Macie M. Jackson was born and grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina in a family with strong religious values. She lives in Prince George’s County where she has taken an active role in the Glenarden Community, advocating for elected officials to be more responsive to the needs of the citizens. She joined the Episcopal Church in 1957 and is very committed to God. At the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, she has served on the St. Agnes Altar Guild since 2006. Macie’s life continues to evolve around making God the center of her decisions and thoughts. She feels very blessed and thankful to God and to those around her who helped her along the way.
Carol Jarvis, St. Francis Episcopal Church, Potomac
Carol shares her time and creative energy to design and lead a variety of fellowship and educational programs at Saint Francis Church. She is an eager and faithful Sunday school teacher, helps families create Advent wreaths, organizes the annual parish Thrift Sale, and is a wonderful source of new ideas for fellowship and service events.
Barbara Kamara, Faith UCC
Faith UCC is pleased to honor Barbara Kamara for her excellent service to church and community. Her commitment is demonstrated in the generous contribution of her resources, time, and talent to numerous ministries and outreach efforts. Her genuine and unceasing devotion to serve others and God is reflected in all that she does. Barbara is the energetic Chair of the West African Ministry; and a member of the Diaconate, Choir, Hospitality, Nominating, and Publicity Committees. She also serves on the Faith development team and as liaison to the United Church of Christ.
As Chair of the West African Ministry, she is instrumental in helping Faith collect and ship to Liberia annually over 100 barrels and boxes of needed supplies: medical and school supplies, non-perishable goods, materials and books for preschool children, men’s clothing and materials for the quilters. These shipments support schools and families in Caldwell and Duazon. Barbara is also vital in planning the annual “Jazz Concert” to raise money for student scholarships and teaching resources for the Liberian Marketing Association’s Waterside School.
Barbara consistently represents Faith at the Michigan Park Civic Association (Ward 5) meetings, voicing our concerns for making this community “A better future for the children and seniors.” She shares her and our passion and goodwill to the Embassy of Liberia, Alpha and Omega End Times Ministries (our sister church in Caldwell, Liberia), and the Friends of Liberia. Her tireless service to the church and the global community make her strongly deserving of this recognition.
Margaret (Peg) Lorenz, First Congregational United Church of Christ
Margaret (Peg) Lorenz has been active at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC, since 1940. She is an activist, teacher, moderator, leader, and compassionate friend to so many – in and outside the church. Over the years, Peg has served in almost every Commission and leadership position in the church. She especially treasures the time she spent on two different building committees and on the pastoral search committee that called John Mack as pastor. She continues to be involved in the life of the church participating in worship and Bible Workbench.
Outside the church walls, she has been an activist on issues of social justice and racial equality. Recently the youth in the church enjoyed her story of participating in the Civil Rights Movement. Currently, Peg is a client/volunteer in a 20-year study of Alzheimer’s, and hospice volunteer at the Goodwin House, where she now lives.
She is the mother of three sons and six grandchildren – and a loving nurturer to all of us at First Congregational UCC. We thank God for her faithfulness, her passion for justice, her leadership, and her friendship. She is dearly loved and we are delighted that she is being honored for her service and ministry. Congratulations, Peg!
Ann Lowrey, United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley
Ann Lowrey has been a faithful member of the United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley for more than 30 years. During all those years she has been an active contributor and volunteer to the life of the church and her community. She chaired the first committee to raise funds to build our church and has been involved ever since. Almost 25 years ago she encouraged members to serve as volunteers for an ecumenical effort to provide, prepare and serve dinners at a local church to needy people in the community. She is still involved in this effort called The Lord’s Table, recruiting volunteers, cooking and serving meals. She has served on or chaired most of the committees in the church and helped start several new programs that continue today. Her kind manner, level-headedness, and excellent baking skills have been valued assets to UCCSV throughout the years. She is very good at recruiting volunteers because, as it is often noted, “How can you say no to Ann?” She has also volunteered in the community at her son’s schools, the PTA, and the Gaithersburg Library, where she helped in the reference room for more than 15 years at a time when you needed books to look up something! United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley celebrates Ann and is grateful for her service.
Doris Lyttle, Webster Congregational Christian United Church of Christ
Doris is a cheerful giver of her time and talents in every task she undertakes. She is always living her faith and showing the rest of us how to do the same. As the Clerk of the Church, she faithfully keeps the records of our work: the minutes of the Board and Congregation meetings, the records of weddings, births, baptisms, deaths, member directory, and general history. As Chair-for-life of the Society of Congregational Christian Women, she keeps a small group of women motivated to care for each other, raise funds for community missions, and act benevolently to those outside the church. As the organizer of two large fundraising events, she keeps fastidious records of the costs and profits, the process to involve others and to make each one a success. She is tireless in these efforts. Doris is the motivator for the Church’s participation in the Blessings in a Backpack program. She and her husband do all of the purchasing (always at the lowest cost!), organize the cupboard, pack the bags, deliver to the elementary school, and help raise the funds to support the program. Her long career as a teacher has contributed to a life-long concern for the welfare of children. Doris regularly attends the conferences of the Central Atlantic Conference, UCC, and makes sure we are informed about the direction of our denomination.
Dr. Bertha Martin, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, DC
Dr. Bertha Martin, DDS has been a member of St. Mark’s since 1969. She entered the big wooden doors, looked around, and right off she found two places that needed help. The first was the Altar Guild, where she found a one-woman show doing it all and Bertha knew that that was not right. She set about joining, welcomed or not, and became friends with the only member. In time Bertha took over and, saying, “I am not doing this myself,” she created by force of will the St. Mark’s Altar Guild. The same thing happened with the money counters; she looked around, started to help and created better ways to do things, again saying, “I am not doing this myself.” We now have a cadre of trained, disciplined counters. Throughout her almost 50 years at St. Mark’s she saw what needed to be done, and brought others along for the ride. Bertha, with her “puckish” way of being, is able to correct behavior with a smile on her face, and can give a look capable of chilling both children and clergy misbehavior. Along the way she has been on the vestry, taught Sunday school, and served as treasurer for our dance studio. She is the person who stepped in and helped people when they had suffered a great loss. Because of all of this Bertha is considered the “moral grandmother” of St. Mark’s.
Donald McArthur, Seabury Care Management
Don previously worked with the Care Management program as our office manager. He retired, but has always remained in contact and supported our endeavors. When his schedule freed up a couple years back he reached out and returned to us a volunteer. He comes on a weekly basis without fail to help ‘keep us in line’ and keep our background work running smoothly. He joins us at other events when he is able. He is a spot of sunshine for our office and team, quick with a joke or a funny story and remains one of our biggest supporters. It is with great joy that we are able to recognize what he does for us and certainly what he has meant to our program for so many years!
Ernest McNeil, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
Ernest McNeil grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, as the eldest of seven children. He was baptized at St. Stephen’s AME church, and at the age of 12, was confirmed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. While serving in the military, he met his wife, Kazuko Yamauchi, in Okinawa, Japan. They have a son, a daughter, and one granddaughter. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion Post 275, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Retired Enlisted Association and Blacks in Government. His career included a nine-year stint at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
As a member of St. Timothy’s, he has sung with the contemporary and gospel choirs, served on the vestry and many committees, including Christian Education, Samaritan Ministry, Senior Ministries, Social & Cultural, Mission & Outreach, Evangelism, Altar Guild and Ushers Guild. He is a member of MOST, Brotherhood of St. Andrew Chapter, and Potomac Assembly of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.
Susanne K. Mitchell, Christ Episcopal Church, Kensington
Susanne Mitchell has served Christ Church in almost every possible capacity: Altar Guild, Vestry, Clerk of the Vestry, Newcomers’ Welcome Committee, office volunteer, member of the Women of Christ Church, prayer shawl ministry, regular hospitality & outreach contributor, and a Lay Eucharistic Visitor. Whatever she does, she lends her pastoral presence, honesty, humor, dedication, and wisdom. Susanne doesn’t like to talk about faith, she likes to live it. Despite her allergy to committee meetings, she has endured quite a few for the good of the parish, ever urging us to get on with the work! Christ Church is quite simply a better and more loving community for her presence among us. For all that she is, and all that she does, we are deeply grateful.
John More, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square
John is an active and engaged member of St. John’s Church who helps our parish think about those outside the four walls of the church. John has served as the parish representative for the Washington Interfaith Network (W.I.N.) and has worked on issues of homelessness and affordable housing in the D.C. area. John regularly serves as an usher on Sunday mornings with his wife, Livy, and has served in the past as a member of the vestry, as parish counsel, and as a member of the parish house renovation committee. The parish staff agreed that if anyone at St. John’s deserves to be recognized for their good work, it is John More! We give thanks for all that John has done for his church and community.
George Nicol, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, DC
George Nicol has been a member of St. Luke’s for over 35 years. He has served in various capacities within the church. He was a member of the Men’s Guilds and later became the chair. Also, he served on the outreach committee, feeding the homeless. He served as an usher and a lay reader, and was a member of the vestry; as Junior Warden, he was responsible for the buildings and grounds for four years. He was then elected Senior Warden and was in charge of the church for almost three years in the absence of a Rector. He was instrumental in the calling of the last two rectors of the Church. Presently he serves as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and also chair the International committee.
Obie Pinckney, Jr., Episcopal Church of the Atonement
Obie Pinckney, Jr. is a resident of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and has been a member of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement since 1963. He is strong in his faith and deeply committed to God. Obie is very active in the church. He is currently a member of the vestry, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and the Men’s Club as well as a teacher in the adult bible class and chairman of the strategic planning committee. Obie was instrumental in setting up the Atonement Young Adult Employment Ministry and serves as director of the program. He is dedicated in his service to God and a blessing to Atonement.
Joyce Ramsey, Christ Episcopal Church, Clinton
For Joyce Ramsey, there have been few dull moments. In forty years of teaching, professional involvement, and volunteerism, she has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fairfax County Summer Arts Institute (dance), and in retirement, costume jewelry presentations all over the DMV area. She has also been the successful producer of jazz concerts at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church and Christ Church-Clinton. She has found these opportunities to give back immensely rewarding. Joyce reports feeling the most energized, creative, and happy when helping others create successful church activities. She notes that collaborative efforts cause others to flourish, too: knowledge is shared, friendships are formed; spiritual bonds are strengthened; and parish health is improved. Christ Church-Clinton salutes Joyce Ramsey!
Delores Rhodes, Seabury Resources for Aging Ward 6
Delores Rhodes has been a volunteer with Seabury Resources for Aging, Ward 6 (Arthur Capper Community Dining Site) for approximately four years. Ms. Rhodes enjoys assisting with delivering homebound meals to seniors in her apartment building and also enjoys assisting with daily activities of the program. Loretta Mitchum, Community Dining Site Manager, states, “Ms. Rhodes is a very kind and gentle person and always willing to help people. She has the right attitude and knows how to get the seniors involved and I can always count on her.” Ms. Rhodes is an asset to Seabury Resources for Aging Ward 6 and we appreciate her for all that she does.
Carl Ridenour, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olney
Time, talent, and treasure are often words we use to describe what we ask of our fellow parishioners. Carl Ridenour exemplifies all three of these areas when it comes to John’s Episcopal Church in Olney.
Carl and his wife Roberta have been parishioners for over 20 years. During that time Carl has continually volunteered in all aspects of church life. He has served on the vestry multiple times, and has served as our Junior Warden since 2011. Carl felt called to serve as Verger, and has done so since 2012, assuring that our worship services run smoothly. He has served both as a volunteer and board member for our mission African Palms.
Carl and Roberta have always been wonderful financial supporters of the church, and just last year made a significant contribution to ensure that replacing our HVAC units in the church would not upset our annual budget. Typically, Carl can be found at church at least three days a week volunteering to do anything he can to help our church continue on its successful path. I take great pride in nominating Carl for the Seabury Celebrates Service award, and cannot think of a more deserving recipient.
Valerie Samuels, Calvary Episcopal Church
Ms. Samuels supports many aspects of the Church’s ministry, most notably as the coordinator and unofficial director of Calvary’s Saturday Breakfast for those in need, a ministry that feeds, both spiritually and physically, more than 80 people each week.
Philip Schrefer, St. Mary’s Court
Philip Schrefer has lived at St. Mary’s Court for several years and enjoys the social community, meeting neighbors, and dining together. He chaired the nominating committee for the Residents’ Association. Philip is active in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, too, and in 2014 was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for Foggy Bottom /West End. ANCs advise the DC government on issues such as traffic and parking, recreation, police protection, trash collection, zoning, liquor licenses and the District budget. Various community groups attend the ANC meetings including George Washington University, community activists, and the Foggy Bottom Association. Philip also volunteers as a tutor with 7- and 8-year-olds who attend the Boys and Girls Clubs in DC’s Petworth neighborhood.
Prior to living at St. Mary’s Court, Philip enjoyed several careers: social work, health insurance, and international consulting. As a social worker he served Operation Head Start, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the Whitman Walker Clinic, assisting families of children, psychotic patients and HIV patients. As a health insurance manager, he worked with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Travelers Insurance Company, and a health maintenance organization in California. He served as a consultant to other insurance companies and as a chief operating officer of a $44 million dollar revenue health plan. As an international consultant, he worked with the American International Group (AIG) and USAID, where he advised the government of Hungary on health care reform and was Health Advisor to the U.S. embassy in Turkmenistan.
Marilyn Seitz, Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring
Marilyn Seitz is a longtime parishioner at Grace Church, Silver Spring. She recently stepped down as Shop Manager of the Pennyworth Shop, the church’s thrift store located in downtown Silver Spring, after 10 years of service. In addition to her work at Pennyworth, Marilyn served on the vestry for two terms and was on the search committee that called the Rev. Janice Robinson, beloved former Rector of Grace Church. Marilyn also taught at the Grace Episcopal Day School for 17 years.
The Rev. Joan A. Shelton, St. Stephen and the Incarnation
The Reverend Joan A. Shelton celebrates the 40th anniversary of her ordination in 2017. Shelton is one of the first women priests ordained shortly after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women in 1976. It took her eight years before she was able to find a full-time position as an Episcopal priest. In her years of ministry, she has worked in parishes in Rhode Island, upstate New York, and Maryland. In 1995 a changed family situation enabled her finally to answer a call to mission in Haiti, where she taught for two years in the Episcopal Seminary. While in Haiti she made friends and sampled and tried to enter a very different culture while traveling about as the first woman priest licensed in that diocese. Her seminary students are today leading parishes, battling the horrible poverty and general challenges of Haiti, and helping direct the work of the Diocese. Since leaving Haiti, Shelton has continued her support of parishes in Torbeck and Mirebalais, Haiti. In 2012, Shelton with her family returned to teach some of Torbeck’s children. Today The Rev. Shelton is part of the affiliated clergy team of St. Stephen and The Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington, DC and also a member of the pastoral care team of the parish.
George E. J. Singleton, Westmoreland Congregational Church
George Singleton joined Westmoreland Congregational UCC in 1976 and has been part of the fabric of the congregation ever since. A member of the Air Force Singing Sergeants (1975-1998), George was hired to be a section leader for Westmoreland’s Chancel Choir, a position which he held for forty years until his retirement in 2016, having served with distinction under four Directors of Music. He also directed the Westmoreland Children’s Choir for a few years. In addition to his weekly service at worship, his talents have been much in demand at church for musical productions, concerts, and memorial services.
George has served in numerous volunteer positions over the years including: Westmoreland’s Volunteer Corps Board, the Boards of Community Action, Deacons, Arts and Music Committee, Executive Committee, Senior Minister Search Committee, Pastoral Support Committee, Moderator (the chief lay person of the church’s governance structure) and Board of Directors of Westmoreland Children’s Center. As the President of the Lincoln-Westmoreland Housing, Inc. (LWH), he successfully negotiated with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a $500,000 grant to rehabilitate the LWH high-rise apartment building that provides affordable housing for low-income families in the Shaw community of DC.
Having pursued his passion for photography, George became a professional Master Photographer following his retirement from the military. His artistic work has been exhibited annually in Westmoreland’s art exhibits as well as in juried shows. In all his pursuits at Westmoreland, George serves with quiet authority, dignity, and good will toward all with whom he comes in contact.