Yolanda Rolle Named Episcopal Chaplain at Howard University

Yolanda Rolle Named Episcopal Chaplain at Howard University

The Rev. Yolanda Rolle has been named the Episcopal chaplain at Howard University, Jason Evans, the diocese’s young adult missioner, announced today. Rolle, who succeeds interim chaplain Andrea Noel, will begin work this summer.

“Yolanda is a gifted educator with an impressive academic background in both teaching and research,” Evans said. “She is also a faithful and promising young priest and we are pleased she will be joining our campus ministry team.”

Rolle is currently a mathematics teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, and a part-time curate at St. Luke’s Church in the District. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Nebraska in 2008, and a Master of Divinity from Yale University last year. She was previously an assistant professor at Boston University and at the College of the Bahamas. 

“I am enthusiastic about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at a historic institution such as Howard University and to build on the work Andrea Noel has done,” Rolle said. “In addition to serving as the primary liaison between our diocese and Howard, I am looking forward to collaborating with a team of dedicated and creative chaplains spanning religious and denominational tradition under the auspices of Howard’s renowned chapel community led by Dean Bernard Richardson. 

“I am aware that I have inherited a rich tradition and Anglican community that began with the late Bishop John Burgess, and now continuing with Andrea. I am especially grateful to these chaplains because they have left a dynamic blueprint from which I can continue to build and nurture the community of students, faculty, and staff at Howard.” 

The Diocese of Washington sponsors ministries at American, Georgetown and Howard Universities, and at the University of Maryland and St. Mary’s College.

Bishop Budde Undergoes Successful Appendectomy

Bishop Mariann is resting comfortably at Georgetown University Hospital after having her appendix removed by laparoscopic surgery this afternoon. The bishop went to the hospital last evening after experiencing abdominal pain. Doctors expect her to make a full recovery.

Please keep Bishop Mariann in your prayers. Cards and other greetings can be mailed to Episcopal Church House, Mount St. Alban, Washington D.C. 20016-5094. Please help Bishop Mariann rest and recover by keeping her phone, email, and doorbell quiet for a few days! If you have questions about her schedule or other diocesan matters, please email Canon to the Ordinary Paul Cooney.

Remembering Wes Wubbenhorst

By Iman Green

During their teenage years, young people often find themselves moving into a new phase of self-understanding and a new stage in their journey of faith. They begin to ask questions, not always knowing where those questions are coming from. It’s at this point that the careful witness of seasoned mentors is invaluable, providing both examples of how to follow Jesus and opportunities to transform their questions and hopes into real-world application.

The Rev. Wes Wubbenhorst, a faithful priest in the Church of God, has been such a mentor and friend in Jesus to many people for many years. Wes died at his home in Annapolis on Tuesday, surrounded by his wife, Vivienne, his mother, Arvilla, and many other family and friends.  He had lived with lymphoma for the past year.  We in the Diocese of Washington extend our sympathy and condolences to Wes’s family and friends, and to our neighboring Diocese of Maryland.

For more than 10 years, Wes Wubbenhorst served the Diocese of Maryland and Province III, building up the Kingdom of God by developing hundreds of youth and youth leaders.  From parish ministry to mission trips, from provincial work to leadership in the Episcopal Church, from a large church in Annapolis to service in an historic southern Maryland congregation, Wes embodied and modeled servant leadership through and through.

Wes was always reaching out and making connections, building networks.  During his time as Diocesan Youth Minister in Maryland, Wes served with neighboring dioceses such as ours.  The Rev. Paul Canady and the Rev. Jessica Hitchcock, both of whom served as Diocesan Youth Missioners in Washington, remarked that they had the great pleasure of serving with Wes to create space for youth and youth leaders to encounter God and share Christ with others.  “Wes taught me to remember that we should bask in all the ways God is in each moment,” Paul said this week.  “I will genuinely miss him!”  

Jessica adds, “Wes was a lifelong youth minister. He knew that ministry for and with young people isn’t a stepping stone ministry or something one grows out of. He spent his whole life making sure teens and tweens and the adults who cared for them knew that Jesus loved them and that Jesus could and would love the world through them. I don’t think we will ever truly know the full impact of Wes on the Episcopal Church, on this quirky branch of the Jesus movement, but best I can tell, it was vast and remarkable. I know the Gospel he shared continues to get passed on.”

Please join me in giving God thanks for the life and ministry of Wes. May we imitate him as he imitated Jesus, by loving God and loving others.

“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” — Hebrews 13:7

Thank you, Wes.

A Requiem Eucharist will be held this Saturday, March 19 at 1 PM at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore. The service will be livestreamed on the internet; the video link will be available athttp://www.episcopalmaryland.org.

Getting to Work in a New Governing Structure

After diocesan convention unanimously passed both a resolution to restructure the diocese’s regional structure to enhance collaboration in ministry and a resolution urging increased congregational commitments to the diocesan budget, the obvious questions were: what happens next, and what difference will it make? 

Members of Diocesan Council, the Standing Committee and the Commission on Ministry met on Saturday, February 20 with Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde and diocesan staff to begin to sketch out the processes through which those questions will be answered.

In a day-long gathering at the 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, almost 50 participants discussed ways to foster a spirit of collaboration within the eight new governing regions in the diocese, develop a process for making financial grants to support parish and regional initiatives and sustain enthusiasm for increased giving to the diocesan budget.

“It was a good day with a lot of probing conversation,” Budde said. “We know that people are eager to learn how the resolutions that were passed at convention will affect them and what kinds of opportunities it will allow them to create. But we also want lay strong foundations for this new and important work. After this gathering, we are ready to invite regional leaders together to discuss their hopes and ideas for fruitful ministry.”

While the plan to realign the diocese from six regions to eight in order to increase congregational collaboration passed unanimously at diocesan convention on January 30, participants in the gathering said that many people are either not aware the diocese has been restructured or do not understand why.

A number of participants said they supported the reorganization because they had already benefited from collaborative ministries. The Rev. David Wacaster of Good Shepherd, Silver Spring spoke of a powerful collaborative Good Friday service that he said persuaded him of the importance of multi-parish collaboration. Paul Brewster of St. Alban’s in the District, said his church’s experience opening a parish-based mission trip to Appalachia up to the wider diocese was a good example of the potential of sharing successful programs among congregations.

Participants were clear, however, that there was work to be done and obstacles to be overcome in persuading congregations to collaborate. “I’d like to see people who participate in similar ministries creating their own networks,” said the Rev. Cassandra Burton, rector of Christ Church, Clinton, which participates in Conference Call Church, a means for people who cannot attend church to participate in services.

Other participants spoke of the need for parishes to give up guarding their turf rather than sharing resources. “We need to think of ourselves collectively as the Body of Christ in our regions,” said the Rev. Stephanie Nagley, president of the Standing Committee.

Participants also spoke of the importance of continuing to persuade congregations across the diocese to continue investing in the diocese’s focus on congregational vitality. Giving to the diocesan budget increased $133,380 this year after Budde asked congregations contributing less than ten percent of their normal operating income to the diocese to increase their giving by one percentage point.

The bishop will lead a five-person delegation to Project Resource, a three-day conference being offered by the Development Office of the Episcopal Church and the College of Bishops in Atlanta in June. The program trains participants in effective financial development, membership growth, communications and planning. 

The bishop’s offer to make financial planning information available to congregations was important in securing support for increased giving, several participants said, as is developing clearly articulated process for granting funds to new ministries and projects.

“It will be important to keep good news about the projects you are supporting coming out,” said Jim Jordan, chair of the diocesan finance committee. “We need to be able to measure how well these projects are working and why.”

The council, Standing Committee and Commission on Ministry broke into working groups for the afternoon session with the council focusing on how to conduct the congregational finance consultations that Budde called for in her convention address. Wacaster said it was unrealistic to assume the bishop would be able to participate in such sessions with all 88 of the diocese’s congregations. He suggested developing several teams to conduct the conversations.

Work on organizing the new regions began soon after the meeting. This week clergy in Central Montgomery region met with Joey Rick, Canon for Congregational Vitality, to explore ways of collaborating in ministry in a region that includes northern Bethesda, Kensington, Potomac, Rockville and several churches in Silver Spring.

“After two days of exploring what it means to be the Kingdom of God in Central Montgomery County, we have a strong sense of what the area needs and what gifts we can leverage to support it and one another in good ministry,” said Rick.

Bishop Budde names Von Rautenkranz Archdeacon

The Rev. Sue von Rautenkranz has accepted Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde’s invitation to serve in the newly-created position of Archdeacon of the Diocese of Washington. In this role, von Rautenkranz, a deacon and Christian Formation coordinator at St. Dunstan’s in Bethesda, will oversee the discernment, formation, and deployment process for deacons in the diocese, and serve as leader and convener of deacons in the diocese.

“In the last few years, we have taken significant strides to create an organized and intentional diaconal ministry in the diocese,” Budde said. “I am thrilled that Sue is willing to guide this new ministry, and I have great confidence in her abilities to lead with both passion and sensitivity.”

Von Rautenkranz has served parishes in Minnesota and South Carolina as well as St. Dunstan’s during her 23 years of ordained ministry. “I’m excited about the amazing people who feel called to this ministry, and the gifts they bring,” she said. “I believe they can transform the diocese and help us to become a people who are in ministry with and to the world around us.”

There are 16 postulants to the diaconate currently pursuing their education and formation. Their callings include work among the elderly, in education, prison ministry and in multicultural and international settings. When ordained, they will serve in a variety of contexts across the newly established regions of the diocese.

“The work of the Commission on Ministry and the Deacon’s Working Group has been extraordinary, and the response from the diocese from those who feel called to the deacon’s ministry has moved me to tears,” Budde said. “I feel as if the Spirit is moving in among us in powerful ways.”