Seabury Celebration of Service 2018 Honorees
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 this year's honorees below!
Monica Abdul-Saleem, Seabury Resources for Aging, Seabury Ward 5
Monica Abdul-Saleem has been a volunteer with Kibar nutrition site since its start five years ago. She provides exercise for the seniors three times per month. Ms. Abdul-Saleem has been a teacher for all of her professional life. For more than 25 years, she served the District's public school system as an elementary school teacher, library media specialist, and computer education specialist. Ms. Abdul-Saleem was twice awarded "Teacher of the Year" from D.C.'s Ward 5. She has pursued a life-long interest in physical fitness. She is a personal and group fitness trainer, maintaining a Zumba license, and cycling and piloxing certifications. She practices Yoga and is a Reiki Energy Healer. She enjoys traveling with friends and spending time with her granddaughters and family. Seabury - Ward 5 is pleased to honor Ms. Monica Abdul-Saleem.
Gordon B. Avery, M.D., St. Alban’s Episcopal Church
During his three decades at St. Alban’s, Dr. Avery has been a stalwart leader on its vestry, including service as junior and senior warden. His terms covered a capital campaign, and the retirement of a tenured rector and subsequent rector search, which he chaired. His service includes lay reader, head usher, Eucharistic visitor, instrumentalist, Cathedral liaison, baptism orientation, member of numerous committees, and 20 years in the choir. He has continually deepened his faith through Bible study, St. Alban’s Core Curriculum, and Education for Ministry. Gordon is active in Foyers, OWLS (older wiser laity), and continues to befriend all who come through the doors. For 17 years Gordon—a cellist—provided musical leadership each Sunday for his parish’s worship service at the Washington Home, becoming a beloved friend to residents. He participates in the supportive lunch program at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. Gordon Avery has been a major contributor to our nation’s child health advocacy. He was a long time member, then chair, of the NIH Child Health Institute’s committee on data safety and monitoring. A well-respected neonatologist, he devoted 35 years of service to Children’s National Medical Center.
Helen Barnes*, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, College Park
It is quite difficult to adequately summarize the impact that Helen Scroggins Barnes had on those who were blessed to know her. Helen's life exemplified the Christian ideal of understanding the entirety of one's life as a vocation. Her deep and profound faith in God and love for others pervaded every aspect of her life and shaped all of her personal and professional relationships. Helen, unfortunately, passed away in February. She possessed a deep interest in and concern for vulnerable populations, especially the aging. Her career was spent in geropsychiatric nursing, often in underserved communities. After officially retiring, she continued to serve as a consultant in this field, and she facilitated support groups, both within and outside the church, for those caring for aging family members. To this day, I encounter people who speak in great detail about their appreciation for Helen's support and guidance in caring for family members. Helen worked tirelessly within the church community, educating fellow parishioners as to ways they might best support others aging in place, and she served on two local government boards doing the same. Our parish community at St. Andrew's, along with the larger community as a whole, is better off because of the efforts of Helen Barnes.
Marilyn Boyd, Trinity Episcopal Church, Upper Marlboro
Ms. Boyd is our Outreach Committee chair, overseeing a great number of activities. These include hosting Marlboro Churches Food Bank at Trinity every month, providing Food Bank breakfasts, creating trail mix packs for Martha’s Table, coordinating Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for food bank clients, coordinating Gifting Tree and Holiday breakfast for food bank clients, arranging Lenten collections for Bishop John T. Walker School, setting up two African Team Ministries craft sales, and supporting Christmas in April. Trinity has an ambitious outreach program and Ms. Boyd makes it all go off smoothly! Ms. Boyd is also our Pledge Chair on the Stewardship team. She meticulously and confidentially handles all pledges and statements. As an Altar Guild team member, Ms. Boyd ensures the church is beautiful and ready for Sunday services, as well as for special occasions. She coordinates the Seder Dinner Trinity hosts on Maundy Thursday every Holy Week. Ms. Boyd does this work quietly, carefully, effectively, and reliably. She lives her faith through service to Trinity and our community every day.
Frances Brown, Christ Episcopal Church, Kensington
Frances Brown has graced Christ Church for decades. As an active member of the Women of Christ Church, she organized and staffed many fundraisers, receptions, events, and pastoral care responses. Frances continues to serve on the Flower Guild and as one of the essential contributors to parish life functions. If there is a parish celebration or funeral reception, Frances is there lending her hands and heart. We honor her for her many years of devoted service!
Robert O. Brown, Jr., Christ Congregational Church
Bob Brown became a member of Christ Congregational Church in 1972, joining the Board of Christian Education on behalf of his five children, all of whom progressed through Sunday School and youth activities. During his continuous membership with CCC, he has served in multiple capacities, including Chair of many Boards and Moderator. He served on searches for Senior and Associate Pastors; sang in the choir, and he now leads prayer at choir rehearsals. In 1998, he was general co-chair of renovation efforts that sought to make CCC physical facilities more accommodating and hospitable. His experience on the boards of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and the Lancaster Theological Seminary is reflected in his ongoing work with CCC. Bob helped support a meditation group and contemplative spirit in church programming. He co-chaired a transition committee and was instrumental in launching Because We Care, a pastoral calling support group that emphasizes being a healing presence to members in need of comfort or support.
Yadira and Carlos Castillo, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church
Yadira and Carlos Castillo have been an integral part of the St. Mary Magdalene community for nearly 30 years. Their service and commitment to the church is outstanding. Their smiles and laughter help fill the church with a sense of joy and love. Yadira’s compassionate translation skills are deeply cherished, as she aides communication in this multicultural parish. Carlos’ sense of adventure and willingness to help the clergy implement their latest ideas is warmly appreciated. The life that radiates from them both is an inspiration to many. We are fortunate to have their little acts of kindness that continue to bring blessings into our lives; for instance watering the rector’s indoor flowers so that the orchids blossom each year. Yadira and Carlos are originally from Nicaragua.
Lorna Meigan Chan, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church
Lorna Meigan Chan is a Humanitarian, Community Activist, and Lover of God. Born in South America in 1935 in Guyana, Lorna moved to the U.S. in 1954. In the fall of 1955, Lorna married Willmott Chan, a Howard University student and international businessman. They have five beautiful children: Hazel, Debbie, Andree’, Paul, and Alicia. Lorna attended the University of McDonald's where her senior advisors at the cooperation paid for her education. Once Lorna obtained her degree, she managed the McDonald's in Prince George’s County, MD. She later began a government career by working with the Environmental Protection Agency for eight years. Lorna moved on to work alongside Marion Barry who personally choose her to work with him during his political tenure. In retirement, she continues her activism in the community and church. She is an active member at St. Timothy’s in several capacities: The Adult Choir, Episcopal Church Women, and Past Vestry Membership among other volunteer services and duties. She has lead operations for the Episcopal Church Women baked goods stand at the annual Flower Mart in Washington, D.C. Over the years she has been awarded for her hard work and dedication. Currently, she sits on the board of Samaritan Ministries. Lorna resides in Washington, DC surrounded by her family, church family, and the community.
Enrique A. Cobham, Faith United Church of Christ
Born in Panama, Enrique is a man of service, commitment, and dedication. He came to Washington, DC more than 40 years ago as a Howard University student, graduating with an MBA in Hospital Administration. He met his wife at Howard; they have three adult children and ten grandchildren. A member of Faith United Church of Christ in Washington, DC, Enrique served ten years as church moderator and now serves as the treasurer. Additional responsibilities at Faith include Deacon, member of the Fundraising Committee, and of the Faith Community Development Corporation. Enrique can always be counted on to actively support programs for children and youth at church and in the broader community. He recently organized and accompanied youth to the March for Our Lives. In preparation for the community Easter Egg extravaganza, Enrique enthusiastically supported the Board of Christian Education in its preparation. He participates with his Advisory Neighborhood Commission and civic association. Active with the wider United Church of Christ (UCC), he served as a delegate to the Potomac Association and served seven years on the Board of Springvale Terrace now operated by Seabury Resources for Aging. During the 2017 General Synod of the UCC, he directed the Youth Stewards. Enrique is Chief Financial Officer for his fraternity, Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc. Washington DC Graduate Chapter. He has worked for Washington Hospital Center and La Clinica Del Pueblo.
Luis Correa, Misa Magdalena of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church
Luis Correa and his wife Pilar, originally from Ecuador, discovered the Episcopal Church nearly 15 years ago at St. John’s, Lafayette Square. In 2006 they became early members of the newly planted Misa Alegria congregation of St. Stephen and the Incarnation. Luis immediately began to help grow the fledgling Spanish language community. He led the way in many areas including door to door community invitations, organizing hospitality, and helping to teach the adult formation class, Living the Anglican Identity. His special joy was organizing the annual Christmas pageant with exquisite attention to the costumes. Luis became the first Latino vestry member and served for many years as St. Stephen's delegate to the Diocesan Convention. In 2016 Luis shared his dream of worshiping God in his own language in his own neighborhood in suburban Maryland. He and his wife would no longer have to travel 45 minutes to church. Luis began to form a group — a house church — that gathered with missioner Sarabeth Goodwin for eight months. When St. Mary Magdalene called the Rev. Sarah Lamming to serve, Bishop Mariann spoke with Rev. Sarah and the Vestry who generously agreed to welcome this new ministry. Since finding a church home, Luis has been untiring in his efforts to grow the congregation and build bridges with the resident community. You will find the congregations dancing joyfully side by side on many a Sunday afternoon. Thank you, Luis, for embracing Evangelism and Joy, and helping establish a new Latino Episcopal community.
Judith Davies, St. John’s Episcopal/Anglican Church
Judith has been attending St. John's for more than 30 years and throughout has actively participated in the operation of the Church. She is a member of the Altar Guild, the Choir, the Social and Cultural Committee, and the branch leader of the Mothers’ Union. Judith continues to serve this parish with distinction, always there. She is very active with the children and youth, and provides for our local outreach ministries as well as those in Africa and the Caribbean. Whenever there is anything to be done, she can be counted on. She knows how things are done and is very instrumental in the training of others. She deserves this honor because there is no one more hard working in the House of God than she.
Raiford Gaffney, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill
Raiford Gaffney’s outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in addressing and raising awareness about aging in place in our St. Marks community is the one of the many reasons she deserves recognition. There are many other ways that Raiford helps our community be knitted together. As our community continues to age Raiford again and again steps in to help out our folks who need a hand to get along. A story to demonstrate the level of kindness: One of our parishioners, Elizabeth, called Raiford at midnight from the hospital and Raiford came and stayed with her during the night. On Christmas when they called Elizabeth for a kidney and it fell through, Raiford went and got Elizabeth to take her home and Elizabeth was hungry. They couldn't find anyplace open to get food so Raiford took Elizabeth to her house and fixed something for her. She has driven people to appointments, checked in on them, helped them with groceries, comes and answers the phones at church during staff meetings, and has stepped in to work on bulletins when we are short of staff. Raiford is the best.
Claudette Garnett, St. Mary’s Court
Claudette Garnett has been an active resident at St. Mary’s Court since her arrival in 2011 and we are honored to highlight her life of service. From an early age, Ms. Garnett wanted to help other people, and so she became a pediatric pulmonary nurse, serving at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and later at a psychiatric hospital. After a 30-year nursing career, she opened her home to families needing child care during the day. Her gift for helping others is still evident today in her efforts to connect the elderly with resources. Ms. Garnett does this in several ways. Once a month, she provides much needed groceries to an elderly woman in need. She also assists others in filling out complicated bureaucratic forms when applying for benefits. The time she takes to help with these tedious tasks, often waiting months to hear results, shows her patience and care for the little things that make big differences in an individual’s life. On a larger scale, Ms. Garnett has had been a tireless advocate for seniors. When the DC City Council has budget meetings, she testifies as an activist for services provided by two agencies, Seabury Resources for Aging and Terrific Inc. She knows how vital it is to keep these agencies well-funded so that transportation, food deliveries, housing, and case management can continue for deserving seniors. Ms. Garnett is not only an advocate for policy, but she also spreads the word and tells others how she has personally benefited when she needed help. The Wendt Center is another agency close to Ms. Garnett’s heart, and she gladly shares her appreciation with others she meets.
Peggy Grant, St. Philip the Evangelist Episcopal Church
Peggy Grant is the quintessential volunteer who has donated years of long hours and tireless service in the roles of bookkeeper, accountant, and financial advisor for both the St. Philip's Child Development Center and our church. One of these assignments alone would be sufficient to justify her receiving this honorable recognition, but performing these duties at the same time for two separate organizations is above and beyond the call of service. The duties she performs are often tedious, demanding, fatiguing, and thankless. Yet, she performs them with amazing accuracy and scrupulous attention to the details of her fiduciary responsibilities. We can rely on her work being both accurate and complete. Ms. Grant contributes in other areas of the church a well. She is a leading member of the Altar Guild, and is also the go-to person for advice and information on whether church policies and practices are in compliance with the regulations of the Episcopal Church. Ms. Grant is a tremendous asset to our church and to our early child development center. St. Philip’s is pleased to honor her.
Rene 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.
Roy A. Grossnick, Westmoreland Congregational Church
In his 32 years as a member of Westmoreland Congregational UCC, Roy Grossnick has “worn many hats.” A member of the Board of Membership and Fellowship, Roy served as the church’s first webmaster. He served two three-year terms on the Board of Deacons with a role in supporting the worship services and served as an usher for 30 years. He chaired the Westmoreland Volunteer Corps Board (responsible for a group of five college graduates who serve the metropolitan DC area) and served as property manager for the Volunteer Corps house, including oversight of significant construction. Chair of Westmoreland’s Property Committee since 2014, Roy has worked tirelessly to refurbish the sanctuary and parlor and is currently working on a refresh of the social hall and a new design for the Memorial Garden. He has tapped his carpentry skills to build tabletop, the sanctuary altar, a large cross for use at Lent and Easter, and even a manger for the annual Christmas Eve pageant. As another hard-working member of the congregation said about Roy, “He has assured that our buildings remain ready to welcome all users…has led and enlisted others in enhancing our experiences and refreshing our building…” Roy’s service to the Westmoreland faith community is wide and deep.
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.
Louis Herring, Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ
Deacon Louis Herring has been a member of Peoples church for more than 50 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.
Kwasi Holman, St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church
Kwasi Holman was baptized at St. Augustine's and has been an active and outstanding member of St. Augustine's all his life. Over the past 15 years, Kwasi Holman has served twice on the Vestry as Junior Warden as well as the Vestry Chair of our Mission and Development Committee during our rebuilding process. He is a faithful Lay Eucharistic Minister and Lector on Sundays and a lay worship leader for our weekly Evening Prayer service. He currently serves as the Chair for our Thurgood Marshall Committee.
Vera Hong, Seabury at Friendship Terrace
Dr. Vera Hong has resided at Seabury at Friendship Terrace for almost two years. Since moving in she has made Seabury at Friendship Terrace home and has helped many others along the way. Dr. Hong was born in Cambodia into royal family. Her mother was a princess and her father was a diplomat who served in the United Nations. As a diplomat, her family moved to different countries once every four years. Through her travels and education she learned to speak eight languages. Dr. Hong has always helped others. For over 23 years she owned and operated a behavioral health clinic in the Maryland/Washington DC region. She then broadened her skillset by opening a hyperbaric facility. Today you may see Dr. Hong helping residents move in, or helping them program their television, clean their carpet, or run errands. A member of the garden club, Dr. Hong takes care of the plants in the hallway and greenhouse. She spends time with fellow residents when they are in the hospital and lonely or even scared with no family nearby. She also likes to do fun things like accompany her neighbors to church or to movies, or cooking a light meal to share with her neighbors. Dr. Hong’s energy and perseverance is amazing and she is a true asset to the community and her neighbors.
Geneva Hudson, Lincoln Congregational Temple
Geneva Hudson is a Commissioned Lay Minister in the United Church of Christ. She is the Minister of Visitation at Lincoln Temple and she is also a Deacon at Peoples Congregational UCC. Minister Hudson serves at two congregations with diligence, commitment, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Minister Hudson's motto is "I will do all I can, while I can," and that she does. At Lincoln Temple she teaches Sunday school, visits the sick, sings in the choir, works with the tutoring minister, prepares the Sunday bulletin, and assists in the worship service. At People's Congregational she leads a Wednesday Noonday Prayer Service, assists with repast for funerals, teaches confirmation classes, and assists the Pastor and Assistant Pastor whenever called. Minister Geneva Hudson rarely says no to anything that we ask her to do. She is an example of a woman committed to God and the call of God upon her life.