New Vestry Members Elected

posted May 10, 2013, 3:57 PM by Terry Brady   [ updated May 13, 2013, 1:15 PM by Parish Administrator ]
At our annual meeting on May 5, 2013, St. Margaret's elected the following members to the vestry.

Senior Warden


Farar Elliott is Curator and Chief of the Office of Art and Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives.  She came to St. Margaret's ten years ago, in the fall of 2002 – “I crossed the threshold because someone said ‘Come on in!’ and I stayed because the people inside were joyful and serious and playful and doubting and filled with grace.”  Since her arrival, Farar has worked on vestry, Consecration Sunday, and as Finance Committee Chair – and in her spare time with the Sunday school, EfM, Rummage Sale, the occasional forum, and Charlie's Place, not to mention the Christmas pageant.  She says she is eager to tackle the needs of our beautiful quirky buildings, the promise of a growing congregation of young people, and the evolution of how we organize ourselves and our work here.”  Farar sees her role as being the one who “listens to the parish and the Rector, articulates the needs of both to the vestry, and leads the vestry in grappling with big needs and big opportunities. It's a cycle of listening and conveying.”  “I heard someone say he hoped the vestry would cause a mass outbreak of justice and peace. I could have no greater dream.  However, thinking in prosaic strategic planning terms, I want to share our passion for God and justice with people around us who yearn for both.”  



Jenny Carson is Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art. On our first visit to the church in 1994, my husband and I were inspired by how loving and supportive the community was, particularly to its LGBT members, and we value its diversity.”  She has been a Sunday school teacher for several years, served on the vestry, and regularly helped to organize the Christmas pageant, plus participating in EFM, the hospitality rota, and as an usher once a month. “I have also enjoyed leading several art history-themed forums.” Jenny is concerned with sustaining “the vitality of the church, inside and out”; maintaining and repairing our beautiful building; and helping to foster our growing congregation by responding to both concerns and new ideas.As chair of the art history department, I have experience in working collaboratively with the rest of the faculty. Also, I work well and play well with others. … I am most passionate about keeping our church body growing in a way that encourages communion with each other and productive communication. I am especially excited to serve on the vestry during this time of transition, as we look ahead, while seeking to further discover who we are as a church body. I am especially committed to our church continuing to foster the growth of our young people, as they learn, hopefully by example from all of us, how to follow the teachings of Jesus, and the continuing importance of his message.”


Ann Miranda Cooter (Miranda), an Aerospace Engineer, along with her wife, Isabelle, found St. Margaret’s in 1998 while looking for a place where their blended family would be fully accepted.  “We found St. Margaret’s to be the most welcoming parish and where we felt most at ease.  There were other families with small children and St. Margaret’s had a nursery.”  She been a leader of the Sound Committee (leader), sings in the Choir, and plays violin.  An EfM Graduate, Miranda has served as an advisor to Sunday School, for which she  previously served as Coordinator.  She has co-chaired the Building Preservation Fund (BPF), served as Stewardship co-chair, and as an usher and LEM, while helping out with the Rummage Sale and Hospitality.  To sustain the vitality and sense of mission of St. Margaret’s, according to Miranda, “we should continue to build membership, reaching out to the surrounding community and beyond, as we improve our use of technology and social media to reach a larger audience.  We must also maintain strong and consistent internal educational and pastoral ministries.”  Miranda brings an excellent sense of building and mechanical priorities. She is passionate about service, an experienced leader, well-organized and tech-savvy, having led numerous teams and projects, “many of which had scarce resources and tight timelines.”  She is enthusiastic about the upcoming work on St. Margaret’s Strategic Plan: “I have a proven history of establishing a vision, and implementing it in a practical way.  I am passionate about our emphasis on God’s all-encompassing love and sharing this with the greater community.”


Mason Ingram works as a Policy Researcher in Children's Behavioral Health, at Georgetown University Health PolicyInstitute.  First attending St. Margaret’s in February 2012, he says “it was the first and last church that we visited when seeking a community in the DC area” and attracted him because of St. Margaret's inclusiveness in its language, worship and community. “I sought a church home that was committed toa mission of social justice rooted in robust faith.” Active in helping to re-establish a young adult ministry at St. Margaret's, organizing social activities and coordinating service opportunities, Mason also has served as an acolyte, a lector, and an altar server. “I believe that our diverse congregation is one of our strongest assets as a faith community - we should work hard to listen and incorporate more voices and provide everyone with an opportunity to serve as they are able.”  With experience in non-profit management and long-range financial planning through both academic and professional endeavors, Mason says that “through my current work as a government contractor, I have learned to be particularly sensitive to budgeting efforts in restrictive financial markets.” And “through my work with our young adult ministry, I've become familiar with both the needs of a young adult population and the resources available through the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. I am an analytic problem-solver, and above all I strive to be inclusive. I believe that the greatest leaders are those who empower others to lead.

Ron Lorentzen, a Federal Government Executive by day, is also now the Secretary of the Vestry of St. Margaret’s Church.  First coming to St. Margaret's in the mid-1980s, Ron did not become a member until the 1990s, attracted, in his own words, to “a beautiful interior, a community that honors tradition yet welcomes innovation, an open and accepting spirit, and a mission that energizes me to see and serve the world in new ways.”  He has been active primarily in worship and education ministries, serving regularly as a lector, intercessor and crucifer.  He also is in year two of EfM.  He hopes to contribute to the leadership of the parish by being one who “encourages, listens to, and supports one another,” nurturing “the ties between the internal and external lives of the church, and  affirming the mutually sustaining bonds of spirit, worship, education and service to both our parish and our local and global communities.”  To his role as Secretary, Ron brings his experience of leading “an organization of more than 300 employees, executing a range of administrative, budgetary, management and policy responsibilities.”  He hopes to bring “levity, reflection and respect for a host of perspectives.”

John McCall, an Organization Development Consultant / Project Manager, first came to St. Margaret’s in1995 with his partner Dan Hicks.  They were attracted to St. Margaret’s because it was an Episcopal Church, diverse, rich in liturgy but not too high or low, and a “comfortable” place to be.  John has been a middle-school-age conference chair, an usher, a cook, and a member of the choir and bell choir.  He has helped with the Rummage Sale and chaired the parish clean-up. He’s been a consultant to bishop transition committees in 3 dioceses, part of discernment committees, search committees for assistant rectors, the sermon improvement committee, and the building and grounds committee.  He wants to work to continue creative, inclusive worship at St. Margaret’s; to improve the appearance and functionality of our buildings, allowing them to be used even more for ministry and to assist the community; and to improve access to parking (“I have ideas.”).  He brings a love of the Prayer Book and the Anglican tradition, experience in project management and organizational development, understanding of building maintenance and improvements (“I own and manage 5 apartments”).  His leadership style is “results oriented – I enjoy working with others to get tasks accomplished.”  He believes that while St. Margaret’s “is in a vibrant area of Washington, … at the same time, our old buildings have deferred maintenance.  I am grateful that we seek discernment for strategic direction. … I bring an inquisitive, open mind to assist us in functioning better.”

Dan Sealy is an Environmental Consultant and Retired National Park Service Ranger.  When he and his partner, Bryan, first came to St. Margaret’s in 2001, they both “were impressed by the liturgy, the wonderful people, and the active ministries both within the church and outreach to the community.”  He particularly has enjoyed “being part of the Transitional Housing program, trowel committee, PVLM to parishioners who cannot come on Sunday, newcomers welcoming, and outreach to Mary's Center with the Adopt-a-family and the infamous Easter Basket Bonanza.”  Dan believes that “St. Margaret's is at its best when we are actively engaged in ministry, supportive of our spiritual growth and have fun. The more we engage all parishioners in these as they are able, the stronger we are.”  He describes himself as a “jack of all trades, master of none,” which shouldn’t let us miss, however, that as chief ranger in parks and director for the Park Service's Center for Urban Ecology, Dan has supervised large staffs and has had responsibility for sizeable budgets and contracts.  “I have enjoyed working in a variety of strategic planning efforts from large public efforts in National Parks, to focused planning for non-profits organizations. I listen well, advocate for what I believe is important but try not waste time on second-guessing once a decision is made.”

Laura Sequeira is a registered nurse who came to St. Margaret’s a year ago, attracted by “the warm welcome from all of the parishioners who went out of their way to say hello. I continue to come because I feel renewed each Sunday for the next challenging work week ahead. As I talk with other members here, I realize that this is a safe place to grow spiritually.”  She says she has helped with Charlie's Place a few times, and occasionally helps by being an usher when needed.  “I hopefully be helping teach Sunday school in the fall. I am currently learning more about the Episcopal church through the confirmation classes.”  She really likes “the church being present in the community.”  She bring to the job of vestry member what she describes as “excellent communication skills, and a friendly smile.”  She also is known for being passionate about engaging the youth and our community. “I think I could bring support to our vestry and church members wherever a thoughtful ear is needed.”

Ann Yonemura is a Curator (Japanese art) at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.  A member of St. Margaret’s since 2008, she says she “chose St. Margaret's for a memorial service for my husband, John Winter, who was English. I had attended one service when and remembered the beauty of the sanctuary.”  She then began volunteering for the newcomers ministry, joined the bell choir and potlucks, and regularly bakes bread for communion and serves as an usher, lector, intercessor, and chalicist.  She works in the jewelry department in the annual Rummage Sale and is a third year EfM participant.   The vitality of St. Margaret’s depends on our working towards “100% participation (small acts add up) in parish life, worship and spiritual growth, and outreach to our community and world. She hopes to help revive and coordinate ministries that engage new members and communicate the messages of St. Margaret's.  Ann brings extensive experience working with non-profits like the Japanese Art Society of America, Japanese American Memorial DC, Triangle Community Garden Land Trust, and Le Bourget Condominium, as well as the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) Leadership Circle and as a Wellesley College planned giving representative.  “Having worked on strategic plans at the Smithsonian, I respect the importance of listening and communication. I am most passionate about ensuring that the congregation continues its growth and enrichment by each member's unique gifts, while maintaining our diversity and building a secure financial and physical foundation for the future.”

Thanks and love to the following members who have completed their vestry service.
  • Polly Donaldson, Senior Warden
  • Gabrielle Czaja
  • Jim Dougan
  • Richard Moncure
  • Illa Amerson
  • Janice Hicks
  • Julie Polter, Secretary

Please keep our new vestry in your prayers.