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Seabury Celebration of Service: Honoree Previews

Each spring, Seabury co-sponsors a service honoring the contributions of older adults to their congregations and the community. Episcopal and UCC congregations and programs are invited to select as their honoree an older adult who has made a significant impact through service and leadership. The Seabury Celebration of Service 2018 will be held on April 24, 2018, at Washington National Cathedral. Read about some of this year's honorees below!

Rene H. Griffith, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Norwood

Rene, a Washington, DC native, has been a faithful member of St. John's for more than 30 years, joining the church in 1988. Rene became a St. John's parishioner through her initial work at St. John's Thrift Shop, The Opportunity Shop or "Op Shop," where she dutifully and consistently served from 1984-2015. Rene served four three-year terms as chairperson of the Op Shop board, and as a member of the Altar Guild from the late 1990s through 2017. She also served as a member and Co-Chair of the Women of St. John's, a committee that provided fellowship opportunities for the women of the church. In this capacity, she lined up speakers and organized luncheons to support faith and ministry. Rene also served for many years as a greeter and as an integral part of the St. John's Newcomer Committee. Rene, with her kind smile and vibrant interpersonal skills actively reached out to new parishioners to provide a warm St. John's welcome. Welcoming duties included setting up quarterly liturgies of welcome; creating a biography for new families joining St. John's and setting up social activities in the Parish Hall for new families. Rene currently serves as a teller, helping to count the Sunday plate offering. We honor Rene for her tireless efforts to the Glory of God and love of neighbor.

Louis Herring, Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ

Deacon Louis Herring has been a member of Peoples church for more than fifty years. During this time he has served as a Deacon, usher, and occasionally an all-around handyman who makes needed repairs around the church. As a Deacon, he participates in the worship service by assisting with communion and welcoming new members. Along with his wife, Lucille, Deacon Herring visits sick and shut-in members and provides transportation for seniors. Perhaps his greatest continuing contribution is the purchase and preparation of food for repasts following the funeral of a deceased member. Led by Deacon Herring and members of the Diaconate, this voluntary act is a great comfort to bereaved families and their friends.

Deacon Herring prefers to remain in the background and not draw attention to himself or the work that he does. However, it is fitting that he be recognized as the 2018 Outstanding Senior Volunteer for Peoples Congregational United of Christ.

Printzy Sims, Knollwood Episcopal Congregation

Printzy Sims, 98, is a member of the Episcopal congregation at Knollwood, the Army Distaff Foundation’s military retirement community in Washington, D.C. She has been active in the Episcopal Church since her childhood in Iowa in the early 20th century. She continued her involvement with the Church during her college years in Missouri. During World War II, Printzy joined the Marine Corps, serving as a fixed gunnery instructor in aviation in North Carolina. While a Marine, she created choirs at the military installations where she served. After the War, she and her husband, who was in the U.S. Navy, were deployed to Germany, where she continued her music ministry in the Episcopal Church. Upon their return to the United States, Printzy and her family lived in Hackensack and Ridgewood, New Jersey, where she sang in the choir of their parish church. Later, while living at Leisure World in Maryland, Printzy organized residents there as a choir. Since moving to Knollwood, Printzy has continued her music ministry with the Episcopal congregation, directing the congregation’s choir for special services and even playing the organ on occasion during Sunday worship. Printzy also serves as a Lector, known for her beautiful readings of Scripture and the Prayers of the People.

D. Bruce Hanson, First Congregational Church, DC

Bruce’s life of service and justice work began in college. He worked at East Harlem Protestant Parish, New York City. At Union Theological Seminary, Bruce was named Amherst-Doshisha Fellow by Amherst College and spent time in Japan at Doshisha University. Ordained at First Congregational UCC in Washington, DC, he served as Assistant Pastor for three years before taking a leave of absence to organize training sessions (sponsored by The National Council of Churches) for students conducting voter registration and civil rights work in Mississippi. In 1971 Bruce began working for The Center for Community Change, a national nonprofit based in Washington DC. For 29 years Bruce worked on the Center’s mission of strengthening low-income community organizing and community development groups throughout the country. The groups were urban and rural, predominantly African-American, Mexican, Mexican American, Native American, and working-class white. Focal issues were voter education and registration, low income housing, and improving employment conditions. Upon retirement in 2000 he continued to support the ecumenical National Farm Worker Ministry, and served on the board of DART, a Miami-based organization of some 20 church groups in six states that work on justice issues. Bruce also served as a volunteer for the UCC Pension Board, assuring that retired clergy were receiving their benefits and advocating for them when they needed assistance.

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