Nominees for Office of Deacon
Dave Escobar: Dave and Jackie Escobar came to Washington because of their military careers. Dave grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dave and Jackie live in Foggy Bottom and began visiting Western due to its proximity. However, they were quickly attracted to the warmth and openness of the congregation. They both enjoy travel and SCUBA. Dave is passionate about making systems efficient, and he has put his talents to work on the Discipleship Ministry Team. When asked about his faith journey, Dave refers to Isaiah 6:8 “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Marilyn Manalo: Marilyn was a longtime friend of Western before becoming a member of the congregation. She was attracted to Western because she felt challenged by the messages she heard from the pulpit. She finds the messages continue to encourage her spiritually as well as encouraging a dedication to social justice. She grew up in Baguio City in the Philippines and came to Washington for a position at the World Bank. Her passion is helping those in the most need to grow into productive, loving individuals.
Letitia Obeng: Letitia is from Ghana. She came to Washington in 1982 to work at the World Bank. She looked for a Presbyterian Church and found Western right next door. Western has been the spiritual home for Letitia, husband Bob Roche and children Jennifer and David ever since.
Ray Sendejas: Ray is originally from the Midwest, having grown up in St. Louis and lived in Chicago for many years before moving here to D.C. in 2009. After spending many years with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), he took a job managing the Treasury Department’s internal management consulting practice in 2015. He has been attending Western since 2009 and became a member in 2012 and spent a few years serving on Western’s Finance Committee. Ray lives in Arlington with his wife, Erika (also a Western member), and sons Sam (15) and Ben (4). Sam is currently in the confirmation class at Western while Ben is an enthusiastic participant in the Sunday School program for young children.
Nominees for Office of Ruling Elder
Jackie Escobar: Dave and Jackie Escobar came to Washington because of their military careers. Jackie grew up in Louisville, KY. Dave and Jackie live in Foggy Bottom and began visiting Western due to its proximity. However, they were quickly attracted to the warmth and openness of the congregation. They both enjoy travel and SCUBA. Jackie is dedicated to issues related to equality and social justice.
Rebecca Jackson: Rebecca became a member of Western in 2008 and has volunteered as an usher, served on several Nominating Committees, and recently filled in as Sunday School Coordinator. She grew up in Arkansas and moved to the DC area in 2003. She lives in Arlington with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Natalie. She appreciates the Western community for its warmth, openness, and work in support of social justice causes, and she is honored to be considered for a new leadership role in the church.
Leelie Selassie: bio to come
Jesse Stanchak: bio to come
Susanne Ward: bio to come
Nominees for Congregational Member of 2018 Nominating Committee
Joan Bissell: Joan came to Western in 2005 as a previously ordained Elder and self-described work-horse(!) from First Presbyterian in Birmingham, MI. Since then, she has been involved behind-the-scenes in many capacities, including as a past co-editor of the printed Western Word. She continues to serve on-call as a member of the Communications Team led by Jess Fisher and is definitely tuned-in to all happenings at Western.
Mike Coburn: Inspired by Western’s welcoming culture and social justice mission, Mike joined the congregation, with his wife Deb, in 2010. He has served Western as a Deacon and been a member of the Personnel Committee for the past seven years. He also enjoys volunteering with the Congregation to support the DC community, including Calvary Women’s Shelter. During the week, Mike is a non-profit and international relief professional and is currently the Director of Development at a national refugee resettlement agency. Outside of the office, he also performs the duties of a loyal husband and avid sports fanatic, rooting over-enthusiastically for his favorite football and college basketball teams.
Anders Gyllenhaal: Anders is a senior editor at the McClatchy Company, the nation’s third largest newspaper company and 11th largest online news network. Over the past 15 years, he has been McClatchy’s vice president for news, overseeing the company’s editorial operations, and before that executive editor at The Miami Herald, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. A graduate of George Washington University, Gyllenhaal has served in many industry roles, including chair of the board of the Pulitzer Prizes and board member of the Poynter Institute, the American Society of News Editors, and the Inter American Press Association and several journalism schools. He has been a long-time advocate for press freedom and government openness. Anders is a member of the choir and regularly supports Western’s Communication Team with his photography skills.