Dear Friends in Christ—
One of the things that Grace Church does well is to train people for ministry, in all orders of the church. I know this myself, as someone who began her ordained career at Grace in 2003. One of the great gifts that the parish gave me at that time me was to trust me—and to be kind and patient as I learned to do right by making a lot of mistakes.
I have seen Grace develop leadership in members of this parish, as well. So many of our ministries—acolyting, eucharistic visitation, teaching Sunday School, and more—develop authority in the people who participate, and along the way they offer training in communication, planning, and other skills.
Paul Evans has been our seminarian since 2020, and he will continue with us through his ordination as a deacon in March until his graduation in May. I knew him as a preaching student before I came to Grace, and it has been a joy to watch his natural abilities grow during his time here.
I am pleased that circumstances have allowed three other people also to join us on a voluntary basis this spring. (These are not staff hires—we will as planned be searching for staff positions, including assisting clergy—this spring.) Each of these men will join us in a different capacity and at a different point in his career:
Josiah Daniels is an Anglican Studies student at VTS; he received his M.Div. from Duke Divinity School in 2015. During his time there, he met his now wife, Riley Beetner. Josiah loves exploring the Anglican liturgical tradition and has a particular interest in bringing “high church” piety alive for parishioners and new Episcopalians. When he is not doing school work, Josiah enjoys reading, exploring the DC area, and spending time with his family, including, Nilla and Coco, his dog and cat. Josiah will be acolyting and lecturing regularly at our 10:30 service.
The Rev. Omar Cisneros will be volunteering to help lead worship at La Gracia this spring. Father Omar grew up in Colorado until the age of 18 when he moved to Oklahoma. Currently, he is in his third year at Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon in December 2021. Before seminary, he spent ten years as a community organizer. In his spare time, he enjoys archery, reading, and practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Father Omar will be assisting primarily with the La Gracia services.
And finally, the Rev. Jeremy Means-Koss is well-known to many of you, as he was sponsored by Grace Church for ordination. Father Jeremy has done supply work at several parishes, and he has an interest in alternative Christian communities. He will be joining us for 2022 as Priest Associate, which means that you will see him on the altar monthly. He may also serve more often at the 5:00 service (once it can be held again), as that is the service where he made his home when he first came to Grace for discernment.
I am so pleased that so many fine people have offered their gifts to Grace. And I am grateful to this community for the way it continues to form leaders, and especially priests. The insight you offer—ideas, corrections, suggestions, and good common sense—all enrich not only this parish, but the wider church in which these individuals will serve.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Omar Cisneros
The Rev. Jeremy Means-Koss