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Seabury Honors Volunteers from Local Congregations

Update 5/5/2022: View photos from the 2022 Seabury Celebration of Service here with the password 2022Service.

Each year, Seabury invites Episcopal and UCC congregations in the greater Washington, D.C. region to nominate an older adult who makes a difference through service to their community. Below are the 2022 honorees who we will celebrate on May 4 at the Washington National Cathedral.

Elaine Alston, St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church

Elaine Alston has been a member of St. Stephen and the Incarnation since the late 1950s when she was baptized as a child and later confirmed as a member. Growing up in the neighborhood, Elaine learned that Church was a safe place where she could have fun and be loved. She attended Sunday services with her family, and during the week she was in the building learning games like hopscotch and basketball, taking acting and music classes, and being taught manners and elocution. Elaine has always wanted to give back to others because she herself has received so much. Over the years she participated in clothing drives and volunteered to cook and serve at the church’s Loaves and Fishes meal program. As well, she has served on the vestry, and has been a faithful Sunday participant in worship. Each year, Elaine creates Easter baskets for homeless children and those hospitalized. During the pandemic, she used her gifts for sewing to make hundreds of blankets and scarves for children with terminal illnesses at the Ronald McDonald House and the Hospital for Sick Children. Through her non-profit, New Generations, she supports people seeking employment training and housing. We are pleased to honor Elaine for her lifetime of service to the church and her community.

Maria Mercedes (Mariam) Bejarano, St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church

Maria Mercedes (Mariam) Bejarano came to St. Stephen and the Incarnation in 2004 by way of a yoga class in the sanctuary. Soon afterwards, she joined The Way, classes for newcomers, and then became a member of the parish through Misa Alegría, St. Stephen’s vital Latino community. Their festive, joyful worship was in Spanish and Mariam felt at home among mi gente, her people. After the liturgy, everyone enjoyed good food and camaraderie. Mariam began teaching Latino teenagers about the Gospels as they shared their common roots, language, and customs. It was an unforgettable experience. These days, she participates in worship as a lector, drummer and tambourine player in Misa’s choir. The music is lively and reminds each person of their country of origin. She also participates in dances, celebrations, and parties after worship, hence; the name Alegría meaning Joy.

These days, Misa Alegria is focused on remaining together as the pandemic and some conflicts have taken a toll on the community. Mariam has been a courageous and outspoken voice in the church’s reconciliation process. She feels called to be a witness to aid in the restoration and healing of the community. Mariam has also been an advocate for the Sightlines (now, The Path Ahead) program on the spirituality of aging offered in the church. She is grateful for this resource that has made a difference in her life, and she hopes that all seniors will be able to experience the program, especially those who speak Spanish.

Barbara Burton, SeaburyDC

Ms. Burton is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and has been a resident of Brookland since 2000. Ms. Burton retired in December 2002 from her position as a staff attorney at the Office of the People's Counsel for the District of Columbia. Ms. Burton welcomes the opportunity to serve seniors through volunteering with the Home First Residence/Age-In-Place Advisory Council. She describes that the work she does with other volunteers is satisfying to her personally and fulfills important needs for the seniors who reside in the homes so they can remain independent. The Home First Residence/Age-In-Place program thanks Ms. Burton for her dedication and commitment to our program.

Elnora Cobham, Faith United Church of Christ

Elnora Cobham has dedicated her life to service personally, professionally, and spiritually. Elnora grew up in Washington, DC attending DC Public Schools followed by Howard University where she obtained her Diploma in nursing and graduated as the historic, final class of nurses who served Freedman’s Hospital. At Howard, she met Enrique Cobham, her beloved husband of 48 years. From this union they have three children and 12 grandchildren. Mrs. Cobham has led her family with kindness, dependability and abundant love.

Professionally, Mrs. Cobham worked as a registered nurse for 41 years at Howard University. She worked in family practice, general medicine, nephrology and finally as a certified mental health nurse. Nursing is a field of service and she performed her many duties, including serving as Head Nurse, with empathy, dignity and respect for her patients, clients and their families.

Elnora Cobham has been a willing and faithful member for Faith UCC for over 30 years where she has been a choir member, Sunday School teacher, Steward, Health and Wellness lead, Music and Arts Co-chair and Deacon. She willingly volunteers to serve whenever needed for community events, church gatherings and more.

As a retiree, Deacon Cobham remains active in her community. She regularly exercises and advocates for the needs of our seniors. Elnora is an avid theater goer and traveler. Elnora has traveled to over 20 countries in her lifetime including Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, China and Italy. She has reflected the love of Christ to so many in her lifetime.

Judith Davies, St. John’s Episcopal/Anglican Church, Mt. Rainier

Ms. Judith, fondly called by all as 'Aunty Baf,' is one of the Mothers of our Parish. She is a long time parishioner who has served the parish in almost every role, within numerous groups and committees within the church. She is an active member of the Altar Guild, Social & Cultural Committee, Mothers Union, Women of St. John's and the Daughters of the King. She has mentored numerous children through Sunday School and continues to be a great pillar of support to the church.

Lucille Dickinson, First Congregational UCC