Annual Meeting This Sunday | Meet Leadership Candidates

Mar 20, 2017

The 2017 Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 26 following a single 10 AM morning service. A simple lunch will be provided immediately following the service, with voting member registration check-in taking place in Baxter Hall right before you pick up your food. Lunches will be carried back into the Nave to enjoy “picnic style” before the meeting.

The voter list for this year’s annual meeting has been posted in the foyer. We have tried over the years to make it easier to become a member, but the record keeping is challenging and can be confusing. To be a voting member at St. Mark’s you need to be 1) over 15 years old 2) have made a financial contribution since the last annual meeting, March 13, 2016; and 3) made some kind of statement of commitment to St. Mark’s 2017 Pledge OR been baptized, confirmed, or received into the Episcopal Church at St. Mark’s OR requested that your membership be transferred from another Episcopal Church.

If you do not find your name on the list but feel like you’re a member here (you show up on a regular basis, are involved in a ministry, etc.), please contact Justi Schunior at 202.543.0053 ext. 302 or

Elections will be held during the meeting. Additionally, a vote will be taken on an amendment to the current bylaws, proposing that the term for Sr. and Jr. Warden’s be changed from one year to two years, with an option to run for an additional year. Review the Proposed Bylaw Change, and read Comments by Past Sr. Wardens on the proposed change.

The following individuals are running for elected leadership positions at St. Mark’s, effective at the conclusion of the meeting. Get additional details about the Annual Meeting.

Senior Warden

Nora Howell

nora-howell-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcAfter more than 30 years as a parishioner, and out of a sense of gratitude for all that St. Mark’s has given me, I’m running for the position of Senior Warden of St. Mark’s. As a devoted introvert, and as one who has seen up close the wisdom and devotion that other Senior Wardens have shown, this is a personally-risky move for me, but one I feel called to do at this time in our parish life.

Since the late ‘80’s, the diverse and colorful threads of St. Mark’s – liturgy, education, fabric, parish life, music and arts – have woven themselves into a rich tapestry in my life. In Sunday School, I’ve been blessed to sit with your children and listen to the word of God together. As a member of the Vestry, I served as liaison with Vision 2020 and saw the devotion of that team who have brought us the lovely space we enjoy today. Then I co-chaired the revitalized Fabric Committee to help provide support and continuity to our Junior Warden. After Fabric, I co-chaired the Canvass for 2016 and chaired it for 2017; this experienced showed me the great generosity of St. Mark’s.

But that’s in the past; what’s ahead? I see two priorities for us to work on together. First, we are beginning our time with our new rector, Michele Morgan. We will be walking with her now, adjusting to her vision for us, and stepping off in the ways that inspire us and bring us closer to who we want to be. Second, and at the same time, we have to face into the realities of our changing population, and expand our membership. Both of these areas will be major focus areas of mine as Senior Warden.

The tapestry image is a rich one for me: I see our strength and vibrancy in the variety of the threads we have woven into our complex image. Now there is a revision we are weaving, and we need to find new threads to incorporate into the design. Dear fellow weavers, I ask for your support as we start this work!

Junior Warden

Kenn Allen

kenn-allen-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcWhen told of my intention to stand for election as Junior Warden, more than a few people responded with variations on the “are you crazy?” theme. In fact, I see it as a great way to serve St. Mark’s, building on my past engagement as Senior Warden, co-chair of Vision 2020, current member of the Fabric Committee, and chair of the Archives & Parish History Committee.

It has been very exciting to see the multitude of ways the building has been used since the renovation – from Sunday School to Dance Studio, from routine meetings of a few to the hospitality we offered to almost 3,000 people on inauguration/protest weekend, from our own programs to the annual Newtown vigil.

I have three goals:

  1. To ensure that our building and grounds provide a place of welcome, hospitality, and support for all who come to us – our members, the community around us, our visitors;
  1. To preserve and protect the historic interior and exterior of the church, respecting those who have come before us and leaving a legacy for those who will come after;
  1. To add value to the lay/clergy leadership team, particularly in support of our stewardship activities.

We need to invest wisely both our human and financial resources to maintain what we have created while still making full use of our facilities and ensuring appropriate financial return when others use them. Working with our clergy and staff, the Vestry and the Fabric Committee and the many of you who step forward to volunteer, I am confident we can do that.


Jim Brooks – Class of 2020

jim-brooks-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcSt. Mark’s is my spiritual home and the center of my social network. My closest friends are in this community. My son was baptized here, nurtured here, and sent off with a blessing to his duties as a U. S. Marine. What began in 1992 as a place for my wedding has become the most abundant source of comfort, solace, joy, friendship, learning, challenge, frustration, and hope.

I owe my place here both to former Rector Jim Adams and to former Associate Rector Susan Flanders. Jim was my first teacher in the Christian Education classes. His book “So You Think You’re Not Religious” cracked the shell of my doctrinaire Catholic upbringing. He made me care about church again — church on my own terms; church with more questions than answers.

Susan Flanders gave me the greatest gift. More than 20 years ago she invited Karen and I to her home to meet over dinner with other newly married couples. Five of those couples have forged a bond that has pulled us through the growth of our children and all the triumphs and tragedies that come with marriage and parenthood. I would be a lesser man, a lesser parent, a lesser friend were it not for these loved ones.

In my time in this community, my biggest commitments have been as Sunday school teacher, as co-chair of an associate rector search, and as a member of the advisory board for a former rector. You can often find me providing assistance with our social events such as the Mardi Gras dance, the Women’s March on Washington hospitality open house, and at February’s great clean-up. When my son was younger, I liked to help with the kids programming at Shrine Mont. If I were elected to the vestry, I would like to focus some of my energy on worship and outreach.

Jane Byrne – Class of 2020

jane-byrne-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcI am running for the vestry because I have, over the past several years, been in a variety of jobs for the church (i.e. Acolyte, Lay Server, Bulletin Assistant, etc.) and have come to view this church as a second family. I also have come to believe that we need to grow this church and encourage more young adults to come to this church and see what we have to offer.

No church survives without new blood. While I have been seeing more young people in this church, we need to do better in encouraging more young adults to see what this church has to offer. As a Vestry member, I would encourage brainstorming on how we can improve our prescence on social media as well as hosting community events (like dances or meetups for local political groups, such as DC for Democracy) that would enable young people to see what we have to offer.

I would also encourage those in the church to encourage their friends and family members to come to a service or two at the church and see if it’s a good fit for them. I remember once seeing an Episcopal cartoon likening Episcopal evangelism to a fish tank on a beach where “any fish in the ocean who wants to join can jump in the tank if they want”. We have so much to offer those in our community, but as long as we just sit around and wait for people to check us out we won’t get anywhere.

So, long story short, I would be very honored to run for Vestry this year. And I hope you will vote for me.

Tracy Councill – Class of 2020

tracy-council-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcIn my 30 years at St. Mark’s, I’ve been involved in many ways: choir, Vestry, Sunday school, adult Christian Ed, greenings, parties, supporting youth activities–but much of my relationship to our community has been through the visual arts. Last fall, Michele Morgan asked me to help realize her vision of making a collage of Mary and Jesus out of ad flyers. Putting flesh on the bones of her idea brought dozens of parishioners into the process. Trash became treasure through the alchemy of community, and our glorious Mary and Jesus emerged. As an artist on your Vestry, I can offer you my skills of imagination, vision, problem-solving, perseverance, and creation. As an experienced art therapist I know how to listen, organize, plan, and work as a member of a team. As one who longs to follow Jesus, I will always offer you my loving heart and my commitment to work and prayer. In these times of great turmoil and division, I hope St. Mark’s can be a community of welcome and healing in the shadow of the Capitol.

Jenifer Holland – Class of 2018

jenifer-holland-st-marks-capitol-hill-dc“Outside of a person’s love, the most sacred thing that they can give is their labor…and labor is a very precious thing…and any time that you can combine labor with love, you’ve made a merger.” – All’s Fair – Mary Matalin and James Carville

About seven years ago, I found St. Mark’s. I came and left and mostly kept my head down. About three years ago, St. Mark’s found me in part through my participation in the Life, Faith, and Community class, and in part due to the synchronicity that sometimes happens in life. I am running because I am grateful. I’m grateful for how I was treated here when my participation was limited to worship, and I’m grateful for what I learned about St. Mark’s – its past, present, and possibilities – once I started participating in other ways. I’m running because I believe in the possibilities for this community. I’m running because I’m curious to see where St. Mark’s future path may lead us and the role that each one of us can play to help.

The skills that I could bring to a vestry position include training and consulting and over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and governance. I generally attend the 9 AM service, I commute to the hill from Upper Marlboro, MD, and I attend without my spouse. I look forward to sharing more as a part of this process. For now, I’m running because I care about the ways that we move forward together as a community. And because I’m grateful.

Alix Pereira – Class of 2020

alix-pereira-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcMy name is Alix Pereira and I would be honored to serve you as a member of the St. Mark’s vestry. My wife Brittany & I have been part of St Mark’s family since returning to DC in 2010 and typically attend the 5 pm service. St. Mark’s welcomed our daughter Maggie in 2014. By day I’m an attorney working in health policy and for the last several years I’ve helped Jack Richards meet our Sunday Supper’s sandwich making commitments.

I’m particularly drawn to building upon our inclusive nature and striving to ensure “come and belong” is more than our web slogan. I want every family and guest of every persuasion to feel and be as welcomed and loved as St. Mark’s has loved us.

I look forward growing our relationship and continuing to serve our community. Please contact me with any questions at 917-723-2308 or at

Peter Nye – Class of 2020

peter-nye-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcEver since I first attended St. Mark’s (in 2013), this church has transformed my life in many ways. I want to use my knowledge of St. Mark’s, my knowledge of other churches and organizations, and my legal skills to help St. Mark’s transform other people’s lives.

I know much about many aspects of St. Mark’s because I have attended—and participated in—many services, taken functional-education classes, attended the retreat at Claggett, volunteered with various service projects, volunteered as a newcomer greeter, and formed many close friendships with other parishioners. I know much about what makes St. Mark’s unique and about how it can improve. In addition, I have been active in many other churches, so I know much about what works—and what does not work—for churches.

In functional education classes and retreats, I always say something insightful; the other attendees always learn from, and are inspired by, what I say. The Vestry’s discussions will greatly benefit from what I say. I am also an excellent listener; I will value what the other Vestry members say.

I am a licensed attorney, and I have practiced various kinds of law in DC and Maryland. I have studied the law of tax-exempt organizations. Every nonprofit organization—including St. Mark’s—can benefit from having an attorney as part of its leadership.

I will be tremendously honored if you give me this opportunity to help St. Mark’s flourish.

Diocesan Delegate

Michael Knipe

michael-knipe-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcI want to represent St. Mark’s as a delegate to the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington because I am a committed and active participant in the St. Mark’s community.  Since 2001 I have at various times been active in lay leadership, participated in liturgical planning, and engaged in outreach, religious, and social activities.  I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2003.  Rosemary and I have already purchased our columbarium niches (although I hope prematurely).

The Episcopal Church provides an historical, religious, and institutional context in which the St. Mark’s community engages life and our community.  The Washington Episcopal Diocese is a body of the Episcopal Church with which the St. Mark’s community interacts and frequently benefits.  For example, the diocese facilitated St. Mark’s search for a new rector, regularly provides assistance to lay leadership, and more importantly makes the many dimensions of the Episcopal Church accessible to the St. Mark’s community.

Representing the St. Mark’s community at the annual convention offers me another opportunity to contribute to our church and community.

Cecilia Monahan 

cecelia-monahan-st-marks-capitol-hill-dcI am seeking the opportunity to serve as one of the Delegates who will represent the voice of St. Mark’s at the Diocesan Annual Convention and at our smaller annual Regional Assembly. It is important for both our parish and the Diocese to continue to be in productive relationship and to understand the issues that are pressing for us both. I am particularly interested in matters of social justice, such as gun violence and immigration. I will work to communicate with the other delegates, our clergy, vestry, and laity, to share concerns and news. Having served as Senior Warden, Vestry member, member of Search Committees for both Rector and Assistant Rector, and Advisory Committee member for two Seminarians, I am eager to work beyond St. Mark’s walls to continue and enhance our connection with the larger church.