Episcopal Diocese of Washington

To draw people to Jesus and embody his love
for the world by equipping faith communities,
promoting spiritual growth, and striving for justice

News & Features

Diocesan Staff Farewells - Personal Notes, Gifts, and Celebrations

January 12, 2021

Well done, good and faithful servant.
Matthew 25:21 

At the end of January, we give thanks for the ministries of three remarkable members of the diocesan staff and send them off with our blessings. The Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin, Missioner for Latino Ministries, and Ms. Cheryl Wilburn, Administrative Assistant for the Bishops are both retiring, and the Rev. Paula Clark, Canon to the Ordinary has been elected Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. 

We invite your participation in our collective efforts to celebrate and give thanks for these extraordinary women.  


Personal Notes

Please send your personal note of thanks to each one individually, either by email 

or by mail to: 

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Church House
Attn: Kathleen Hall 
Mount St. Alban 
Washington DC 20016 

Gifts

On the weekend of Diocesan Convention, we will present all three with a special gift, handcrafted by the Rev. Joe Clark out of the wood harvested from the oak tree that once stood in front of Church House. We will give them all the personal notes we have received. 

We are also raising funds for Bishop-elect Paula’s episcopal ring and a liturgical set of cope, chasuble, and mitre. Both will be presented to her, on behalf of her home diocese, at her consecration on April 24. If you would like to contribute, please give online or text paulaclark to 50155


Celebrations

In addition to the time to honor Sarabeth, Cheryl, and Paula at Diocesan Convention, we invite you to take part in these two events: 

Latino Ministry Event to Honor Sarabeth
Join Bishop Mariann and the people of our Latino congregations for a virtual Celebration of Thanksgiving for the Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin’s ministry on Saturday, January 16 at 7:00 p.m. The service will be bilingual.


Drive-By Celebration for Cheryl and Paula
Paula, Cheryl and Bishop Mariann will be on the Cathedral lawn across from Church House on Sunday, January 31 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Please drive by and offer a shout of thanks! 

Each has blessed so many in their years of ministry. Now is our opportunity to let them know how much we love and appreciate who they are, their faithfulness to Jesus, and their many gifts to us.  
Category: News

Diocesan Staff Transitions

December 10, 2020

“But how can you leave us?” -- Diocesan Staff, upon Cheryl Daves Wilburn and the Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin informing us of their plans for retirement. 

“Hooray!” -- Diocesan staff, upon the news that Mildred Briones Reyes will serve as the new Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministry and Diocesan Initiatives for the diocese. 

Cheryl Daves Wilburn
Cheryl will retire February 1, 2021, after just shy of 50 years of devoted service to the Diocese of Washington. An anchor of calm and care in a too often turbulent world, we give thanks for her pastoral presence among us and her ministry of love. Watch Cheryl’s “exit” interview with Keely Thrall. 

Sarabeth Goodwin
For over 16 years, both in her parish ministry work and as the diocesan Missioner for Latino Ministries, Sarabeth has placed a love of God and an understanding of community and the common good of the people she serves at the center of her grace-filled ministry. In advance of her retirement on February 1, 2021, she reflects on her time among us in a video conversation with Mildred Briones Reyes. (En Español)


Mildred Briones Reyes
 

Bishop Mariann is pleased to announce that Mildred Briones Reyes will serve as the Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministry and Diocesan Initiatives for the Diocese of Washington beginning on February 1, 2021 in addition to continuing to offer her organizational skills to manage and support key diocesan programs and initiatives to advance the diocesan strategic plan. Read the full announcement | Leer en español

 

Category: News

Mildred Briones Reyes to Serve as the Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministry and Diocesan Initiatives

December 10, 2020

Bishop Mariann is pleased to announce that Mildred Briones Reyes will serve as the Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministry and Diocesan Initiatives for the Diocese of Washington beginning on February 1, 2021, transitioning from her current role upon the retirement of the Rev. Sarabeth Goodwin. 

Since her arrival on the bishop’s staff in January 2018, Mildred has been an invaluable member of the diocesan team, bringing her joy-filled faith, superb organizational skills to every initiative she has tackled, and her passion for helping others. “Given Mildred’s deep ties to Latino Ministry, not only in this diocese but in the wider church,” Canon Paula Clark says, “it felt like a natural evolution in Mildred’s ministry path for us to explore how her gifts might align with our goals for Latino/Hispanic Ministry in the diocese.” 

Mildred says, “I am proud to be a product of the Latino Ministry in this diocese that allows mi gente -- mi familia -- and me to journey in God’s transcending love. I look forward to the work ahead."

Mildred will be responsible for advocacy and oversight of Latino/Hispanic ministry in the Diocese of Washington, working with the Bishop, diocesan staff, clergy, congregations and diocesan organizations to advocate, develop, and enhance initiatives among people of Latino/Hispanic cultural backgrounds within their missional contextual communities. In addition, Mildred will continue to offer her organizational skills to manage and support key diocesan programs and initiatives to advance the diocesan strategic plan.

In taking on this position, Mildred will be one of the few Latina lay Missioners for Latino/Hispanic Ministry in The Episcopal Church. 


Category: News

Mildred Briones Reyes servirá como Misionera para el Ministerio Latino/Hispano y las Iniciativas Diocesanas

December 10, 2020

La Obispa Mariann se complace en anunciar que Mildred Briones Reyes servirá como la Misionera para el Ministerio Latino/Hispano para la Diócesis de Washington a partir del 1 de febrero de 2021, pasando de su cargo actual al retiro de la Reverenda Sarabeth Goodwin.

Desde su llegada al personal de la obispa en enero de 2018, Mildred ha sido un miembro inestimable del equipo diocesano, trayendo su fe llena de alegría, sus magníficas habilidades organizativas a cada iniciativa que ha abordado y su pasión por ayudar a los demás. "Dados los profundos vínculos de Mildred con el Ministerio Latino, no solo en esta diócesis sino en la iglesia más amplia", dice la Canóniga Paula Clark, "nos sentimos como una evolución natural en el camino del ministerio de Mildred para que exploremos cómo sus dones podrían alinearse con nuestras metas para el Ministerio Latino/Hispano en la diócesis".

Mildred dice: “Estoy orgullosa de ser un producto del Ministerio Latino en esta diócesis que permite a mi gente -- mi familia -- y a mí viajar en el amor trascendente de Dios. Espero con mucha ilusion el trabajo que vamos a realizar por delante.”

Mildred será responsable de la promoción y supervisión del ministerio latino/hispano en la Diócesis de Washington, trabajando con la Obispa, el personal diocesano, el clero, las congregaciones y las organizaciones diocesanas para abogar, desarrollar y mejorar iniciativas entre personas de origen cultural latino/hispano dentro de sus comunidades contextuales misionales. Además, Mildred continuará ofreciendo sus habilidades organizativas para manejar y apoyar programas e iniciativas diocesanas clave para avanzar en el plan estratégico diocesano. 

Al asumir este cargo, Mildred será una de las pocas misioneras laicas latinas del Ministerio Latino/Hispano en la Iglesia Episcopal.

Category: News

Stress Relief in Stressful Times

November 12, 2020

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord  in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:13-14 (NRSV)

Stress became an ever-increasing dynamic in my life at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Some semblance of relief was my fervent prayer, so I found myself constantly trying to live my faith in new ways, albeit without any familiarity of the emotional and spiritual terrain in which I found myself.

Everything about coronavirus was virtually unknown except the viciousness with which it devastated our lives, hurling our levels of grief and loss to all time highs. Work life, personal life, and family life all seemed to blur together with a total disregard for healthy boundaries and balance. A colleague shared a Facebook posting which restated an old familiar mnemonic to remember the number of days in each month… “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have thirty-one, except March which has 8,000!” I agreed, for my life had become one extended period of hours leading to the next extended period of hours leading to whatever came next.

To my dismay, what came next was an onslaught of racial injustice that ripped the country apart in ways that had not been experienced since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. As an African-American man, I felt anxious and afraid that I lived in a country that was actively killing people who looked like me. I remember rerouting my daily walks through predominately white residential neighborhoods to busy thoroughfares in an attempt to avoid any confusion that I may have been staking out their house for a future violent intrusion. The days continued to blur together, but now with an energy that was even more disturbing than before.

In the midst of it all, I strived for a rhythm that would enable me to navigate through the emotional volatility of the current time. I “ZOOMED” with friends. I exercised regularly. I continued my spiritual practices of reading scripture, prayer, and meditation. 

I tried everything and allowed myself to fall into a false sense of security, thinking that I was surely closer to a space of mental health than I was before all this madness started. 

But then the 2020 election season kicked into high gear, bringing with it a madness and chaos that further exacerbated all of the happenings of the previous eight months. I didn’t think the emotional terrain could get any more treacherous, but it did. And all I could do was to wait for some semblance of a breakthrough, for better or worse.

I was stressed out! But I also knew that claiming my emotional state would not be enough to shift my emotional state. 

So, I reflected upon the reality that situations, in and of themselves, are not stressful. What makes a situation stressful is your assessment of your ability to handle the situation. Well, my assessment of my ability to handle the madness of the current time was fair, at best. Sure, I had been in many situations in the past in which I had to multitask very difficult and seemingly impossible situations, but currently, I found myself in a space in which past tools for stress relief just didn’t seem to do the trick. Past tools helped, but there was something missing and I was at a loss to identify it. 

Truth be told, all of the current happenings had a personal common denominator--racial injustice and inequity. My keen sense of the obvious kicked in and I realized that I had not been specific enough in identifying my core emotion…anger. 

I remembered that anger is a manifestation of two emotions; greatest fear and deepest hurt. 

As an African-American man, one of my greatest fears is that I will be totally devalued. That fear is connected to my deepest hurt, which is living in a nation that endorses such a fear solely based upon the color of my skin.

When I identified what I was feeling, my next step was to identify what I needed. I needed encouragement. Encouragement that affirmed me as a child of God made in God’s image. Encouragement that affirmed me as a product of my family that worked diligently to equip my younger brother and me with an excellent education which opened doors of opportunity that had been closed to them. And encouragement that affirmed me as a sojourner in faith connected to a God who has consistently looked beyond my faults and seen my need.

Intentionally waiting for both personal and spiritual revelation is a game in life that can relieve your stress by stretching your being. So in the midst of this stress-inducing season, I invite you to be encouraged by the Psalmist who affirms,

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Robert Phillips
Canon for Leadership Development and Congregational Care

Category: News
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