On St. Margaret’s Day, November 18, 2018, our parish launched a year-long celebration of our quasquicentennial. For 125 years, St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church has continued the witness of Saint Margaret to minister to all our neighbors—the affluent and the homeless; queer, straight, and transgender folks; cradle Episcopalians and wandering atheists; kids and retirees; and everyone in between. Join us as we celebrate 125 years of ministry and take our first steps toward the next 125 years.
Here are a few highlights in the history of St. Margaret’s:
Women of power are a hallmark of St. Margaret’s witness. Sophia Little was the parish’s earliest champion. Vienna Cobb Anderson became Washington’s first woman to serve as rector in 1987. And while the early vestry was all male, women played the most forward-looking role in the young parish’s development, raising money to buy land and build a parish hall even as vestrymen declared it impossible.
In the 1960s, St. Margaret’s took seriously its call to witness for justice. The parish poured its resources into Adams Morgan, paying community organizers’ salaries and rent, and hosting summer programs, jazz workshops, and freedom schools. One priest was hauled before a congressional committee and interrogated about his work and association with Black Power activists.
Neighborhoods around have led the way to becoming the bastions of ethnic, economic, cultural, and sexual diversity that they are today. In the 1980s, St. Margaret’s embraced Dupont Circle’s gay community, then struggling in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Practical, day-to-day support led to spiritual renewal for the church and for the gay Roman Catholic organization Dignity, which began meeting at St. Margaret’s then.
In 1990, St. Margaret’s began serving a hot, homemade meal of rice and beans every Tuesday and Friday. Word spread among our hungry and homeless neighbors, and today Charlie’s Place, named for its founder, dishes up housing and job help, medical services, clothing – and of course food – five days a week.
From traditional missionary work in the 19th century to international outreach in the 21st, St. Margaret’s looked beyond national boundaries. Early budgets show significant gifts to support work abroad, planting churches and educating clergy. A century later, Episcopalians had laid the (often flawed) groundwork for such projects as St. Margaret’s support of medical care in a rural Honduran village. Dozens of parishioners travelled to the small town of Proteccion to build and repair buildings there.
Guest Preacher Series
Beginning in February 2019, St. Margaret’s is welcoming a guest preacher previously connected to the Parish. Click on the button below for a schedule and to learn more.
125th Anniversary Events
St. Margaret’s Day Celebration
Guest Preacher Series
The Rev. David Griswold
The Rev. Dr. Anne Gavin Ritchie
The Reverend Dr. Anne Gavin Ritchie (D.Min.) is an Adjunct Priest at St. Margaret’s. She and her wife Gail Collins have been members since 2011. Before serving sixteen years as Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria, Anne served in the Diocese of Washington at St. Mark’s Church, Capitol Hill and St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square. Anne recently celebrated a class reunion marking forty years since graduating from the Virginia Theological Seminary. She maintains an active and wide-ranging parish visiting ministry.
The Rev. Anne Nicholson
The Rev. Anne Nicholson was Assistant Rector of St. Margaret’s from 2014 to 2016, before becoming Associate Rector at St. James’ Parish in Lothian, Maryland. She is now back in D.C., living in Capitol Hill with her husband and daughter.