We give thanks to outgoing Elders, who completed their three-year term on Session with the Class of 2018: Sam Hendrix, Todd Trafford, and Nicole Wallace (who also served as Clerk of Session).
Kate Brittain–Class of 2021
Kate Brittain grew up in Tucson, AZ and came to DC to study at GWU, which is how she first found Western. “I loved hearing calls to civic action from the pulpit,” says Kate, “and finding a church that supported mission work not just in the community, but in the very building itself. Our partnership with Miriam’s Kitchen and our commitment to both feed the hungry and fight systemic poverty is very important to me.”
Kate joined Western as a member in 2008, but had been teaching in the Sunday School since 2005. She also served as Sunday School Coordinator in 2015. “It’s been wonderful to watch Western’s youngest grow and develop in faith,” says Kate, “and to see some of the kids I taught as first graders be confirmed last year.”
Paul Fiddick–Class of 2021
After growing up in a small town in rural Missouri, Paul Fiddick embarked upon a career in broadcasting. In 1999, an opportunity to work in the Clinton Administration lured Paul to DC from his broadcasting job in Dallas, TX.
Paul was attracted to Western by–would you believe–a newspaper ad. Paul, with wife Julie and family, joined Western in 2000.
Paul and Julie started the Free Inquiry Class 16 years ago on a challenge from Rev. John Wimberly. Paul has served on several committees and task forces at Western (including Session), but says that chairing the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) was probably the most meaningful.
Mimi Scotchmer–Renewing for Class of 2021
Mimi Scotchmer was born in Guatemala, grew up in NY, and moved to DC for employment after college because her family was in the area.
“My mom, Sara Parker, recommended Western to me, because she knew how important social justice is to me,” says Mimi, “and I joined in 2002.”
“Just as I have changed over time, my experience with Western as a community has changed,” adds Mimi. For instance, Miriam’s Kitchen and the commitment to mission ministry are the main reason I originally joined Western and that continued to be very important to me.”
“A little after that, I got married at Western, and then both our children were baptized here, as well. Later, when my family had a serious medical event, Western’s Deacons were extremely supportive organizing a Meal Train and praying for us.”
“More recently, the programming for children and families has been wonderful. In the Fall, we had a great time and strengthened our faith together at the all-church retreat.”
The Board of Deacons will be saying good-bye and thank-you to DJ Purnell, Letitia Obeng Roche, and Ray Sendejas (who is shifting into the co-treasurer position).
Kathy Hankins-Robinson–Renewing for Class of 2021
Kathy Hankins-Robinson grew up in Fort Valley, GA and Laurens, SC. She came to the Washington, DC area to go to grad school, and earned her MA from the University of Maryland.
Kathy was hired by Tom Beveridge as a soloist in Western’s choir, and became a member of Western in 2003.
Since then, Kathy has participated in an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee, as well as in a Pastor Nominating Committee. She remembers both experiences as requiring an insurmountable amount of time and dedication.
To some members of Western, Kathy is best known for the Wednesday night yoga classes she leads at church.
Camila Hodgen–Class of 2020
Camila Hodgen was born and raised at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and came to DC for the opportunity to work as a modern dance instructor.
She discovered Western while looking for a Presbyterian church near her, and felt lucky to find Western a few steps away.
Since joining Western in 2016, Camila has been involved with the Flower Committee, Miriam’s Kitchen, and Starter Kits for MK’s newly housed. She has always loved working with the underprivileged and especially, in the past, with human trafficking issues.
Bob Layton–Renewing for Class of 2021
Bob Layton grew up on a horse farm in central Kentucky. He is a lifelong Presbyterian, who has served on Session many times in Kentucky.
When Bob came to DC in January 2015 to take a job in the federal government, he began searching and visiting local Presbyterian churches. He started visiting Western that winter, and joined in the spring of 2015.
Since then, Bob has participated in the Free Minds Book Club; gleaned for Miriam’s Kitchen; supported efforts to focus attention on gun violence; and served the congregation at meals and events. He has also regularly attended Kathy Hankins-Robinson’s yoga classes at Western.
Gregg Pitman–Renewing for Class of 2021
On Gregg Pitman’s life path from Grand Rapids, MI to DC, he was introduced to faith through service and the joy of volunteering.
As a member of Western since 2017, he is already engaged in helping with hospitality as a Deacon. He will continue with the Deacons/Class of 2021.
Beyond Western, Gregg also worships at St. Augustine Catholic Church with his partner, Shane Stryzinski.
Mary Ann Rashid–Class of 2020
Mary Ann Rashid grew up in the Atlanta area, but moved to Washington, DC for college and never left the area.
While working at the State Department, Mary Ann watched from her window as Western’s current building was being constructed. She started coming to Western in 1997, the year she got married; former Western Associate Pastor, Laureen Smith, officiated at her wedding.
“Most of my involvement at Western has been with the children, through the Christian Ed committee and teaching,” says Mary Ann. “I also led the Confirmation Class, six or seven years ago.”
Elizabeth Telson–Class of 2019
Elizabeth Telson spent her preteen years in her hometown of Chicago, before moving with her family to Northern Virginia. A 1975 graduate of Wakefield High School, she has remained a resident of the DMV area up to the present.
Elizabeth learned of Western Presbyterian Church through Miriam’s Kitchen, and became a member of Western in 2018. She and her partner, Tariq, felt privileged to attend the anti-racism workshop at Western during the early part of 2018, where they became acquainted with other Western members.
Kate Wells Lynn–Class of 2021
Kate was born in Bristol, VA; grew up in Morristown, TN; and came to DC after graduating from VCU in Richmond, VA. She first worked for the Virginia Housing Development Authority, the National Housing Partnership in DC, and the Wesley Housing non-profit in Alexandria. After going out on her own, she connected with now-husband Wayne on a project. “We’ve been working (and playing) together ever since,” exclaims Kate.
Kate discovered Western in a 1994 Washington Post article about the challenge to Miriam’s Kitchen by the neighborhood. She thought, “These Westerners are my kind of people.” She went there the next Sunday, and the rest is history.
“Ushering was my first volunteer activity at Western and one of the most enjoyable,” says Kate. “It was a great way to become acquainted with Western members and visitors.” Kate’s other activities have included Clerk of Session; Chair of the Finance Committee; serving on Personnel, Nominating, and Flower committees; and Liturgist.
(Bios compiled by Joan Bissell)