We serve all of our neighbors: the affluent and those experiencing homelessness; queer, straight, and transgender; cradle Episcopalians and wandering atheists; kids, retirees, and everyone in between. St. Margaret’s is a warm place to renew faith in God, care for one another, and thrive in a diverse and inclusive community.
We are inclusive and celebrate diversity. Everyone is warmly welcomed and has a place at the table.
An inclusive expression of belief in God’s work and love.
We express our beliefs about God–Source of all being, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit–and affirm our identity as beloved children of God in worship. In our worship, we take seriously the words we use to describe God and God’s people, recognizing that neither God nor humans are constrained by masculine, feminine, or binary identities. When encountering God in worship, we are formed and transformed to deepen and practice our faith.
We Seek Justice
Standing with those who are marginalized.
We speak up with those who are marginalized. We stand up for justice and equality so that we might thrive, together, as a community.
Inviting challenging questions about faith and purpose.
We invite people to bring their questions, yearnings for the holy, and hunger for meaning and purpose in life. We keep it conversational, relevant, and gentle to include life-long church attenders or someone new to the faith journey.
Standing with those who are marginalized.
We love our neighbors and our communities through our actions, attitudes, and words. We actively engage the most vulnerable among us through service, solidarity, and generosity.
Women are a hallmark of St. Margaret’s witness. Sophia Little, locally famous for her “independence of judgement,” was the parish’s earliest champion. The Rev. Dr. Vienna Cobb Anderson became the first woman to serve as a Rector of a parish in the Diocese of Washington. And while the early Vestry was all male, women played the most forward-looking role in the young parish’s development, raising money to buy land and build a parish hall in defiance of vestrymen who declared it impossible.
In the 1960s, St. Margaret’s took its call to witness for justice seriously. The parish poured its resources into the Adams Morgan neighborhood by paying community organizers’ salaries and rent, plus hosting summer programs, jazz workshops, and freedom schools. One priest was hauled before a congressional committee and interrogated about his work and association with Black Power activists.
In the 1980s, St. Margaret’s embraced Dupont Circle’s burgeoning gay community, then struggling in the midst of the AIDS epidemic. Practical, day-to-day support led to spiritual renewal for the church and for the LGBT Roman Catholic organization Dignity, which began meeting at St. Margaret’s. The parish committed to reflect, and support, the surrounding neighborhoods that have become bastions of ethnic, economic, cultural, and sexual diversity.
In 1990, St. Margaret’s began serving a hot, homemade meal of rice and beans every Tuesday and Friday. Word spread among our neighbors experiencing food-insecurity and homelessness. Today Charlie’s Place, named for one of its founders, the Rev. Charlie Gilchrist, dishes up housing, social and medical services, clothing and of course food, five days a week.
From traditional missionary work in the 19th century to international outreach in the 21st, St. Margaret’s looks beyond national boundaries. Early parish ledgers show significant gifts to support work abroad, planting churches, and educating clergy. A century later, Episcopalians had laid the (often flawed) groundwork for such projects as St. Margaret’s support of medical care in a rural Honduran village. Dozens of parishioners travelled to the small town of Protección to build and repair buildings there.
Clergy & Staff
The clergy are the ordained ministers of the Church.
As rector of St. Margaret’s, Richard serves our parish as senior pastor, priest, and administrator. Building on a long-standing legacy of social justice, his ministry is marked by the sharing of the liberating Gospel of Christ; caring for a diverse and inclusive community; and stewarding the work of St. Margaret’s cardinal program for neighbors experiencing homelessness, Charlie’s Place.
Fluent in Spanish as a second language, Richard has worked with Latino congregations in D.C., Atlanta, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. While serving at Washington National Cathedral, Richard also led outreach with the LGBTQ community, founding the Cathedral Congregation’s LGBT ministry group and serving an instrumental role in the Cathedral’s public witness in support of marriage and transgender equality.
She loves language and studied English and French at Johns Hopkins University. Through all these things, her joy comes in helping others find new and old ways to talk to God. As Assistant Rector, Diana serves the people of St. Margaret’s in the areas of formation, pastoral care and anti-racism development. She loves to preach, and would love to chat with you about your spiritual life or St. Margaret’s.
Prior to her ordination as a priest, Diana was a print and new media journalist. She has a daughter who works in Hollywood and a son who is a linguist in Sweden. She and her husband Tom live with their little dog Lola in Cleveland Park.
Anne served as the first woman associate at two parishes in our diocese: St. Mark’s, Capitol Hill, and St. John’s, Lafayette Square. Being the first woman priest to have a baby, she helped St. Mark’s parish establish maternity leave policies.
Anne served 16 years as the rector of the Church of the Resurrection in the Diocese of Virginia and wrote her doctoral thesis as a counterpoint to the groundbreaking book, Spiritual but Not Religious. She surveyed and examined non-churchgoers’ attitudes toward religion. Reading the voluminous responses from people who experienced abiding hurt and pain spurred a change. She resolved her parish would actively present themselves as they were, a welcoming and inclusive faith community.
Following her retirement in 2011, Anne and her wife Gail found a church home here at St. Margaret’s. As an adjunct priest, Anne joyfully shares in the leadership of St. Margaret’s worship services and helps provide pastoral care to members of our community.
It is little wonder that attending an Easter Vigil and getting sprinkled with the waters from the baptismal font drew her into the Episcopal tradition. Rachelle’s calling to be a priest grew out of her formative experiences teaching and working with students in Episcopal schools.
She currently serves as the Upper School Chaplain at St. Albans School, the Director of Social Service Program, and adjunct priest at St. Margaret’s. She helps lead worship services and overall pastoral care. Rachelle lives with her family in Arlington, VA.
Additionally, he serves the parish by updating the website, managing all church communications and volunteers. He has been with St. Margaret’s since 2017 and lives in Washington DC.
The Reverend Julie A. Petersmeyer was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Mariann Budde in September of 2017. As a deacon, Julie serves as a bridge between the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world and the Church. In her ministry at St. Margaret’s Julie serves as a pastoral presence to guests of our homeless outreach ministry, Charlie’s Place, in addition to serving two Sundays a month in our worship life.
Julie has been involved in prison ministry for 17 years and has served as a chaplain volunteer at the DC Jail for the past 10 years. Getting close to and learning about the lived experience of returning citizens has informed Julie’s commitment to criminal justice reform.
Julie and her husband Gregg live in Bethesda and have four adult children and six glorious grandchildren.
Francisco Serrano is a postulant for ordination to the diaconate in the Diocese of Washington. Francisco was born in El Salvador and emigrated to the United States in 1998. Raised Roman Catholic, he was received in the Episcopal Church in 2006 after joining St. Matthew’s/San Mateo Episcopal Church in Hyattsville. It was at San Mateo, under the leadership of the Rev. Vidal Rivas, that Francisco discerned a call to ordained ministry.
Francisco is serving at St. Margaret’s in his yearlong parish internship as part of his second year of formation in the diocese’s School for Deacons. Ministering alongside St. Margaret’s deacon, the Rev. Julie Petersmeyer, Francisco serves as a pastoral presence at St. Margaret’s homeless program, Charlie’s Place, in addition to worshiping with us regularly on Sundays.
The very first time Reggie walked through the doors of Charlie’s Place it was as a client having recently lost a long time job and experiencing homelessness for the first time ever in his life in 2013.
He knew right away this was a special place as it was infectiously welcoming. Reggie knew he wanted to be a part of it. First starting as a volunteer, he eventually joined the staff as floor manager and then grew to program manager. Today, he serves as the Executive Director.
Charlie’s Place energizes him because serving others is an amazing and rewarding experience. He especially loves working with the guests who always express gratitude and are so appreciative of the work at Charlie’s Place.
Reggie currently resides in Northwest Washington D.C.
The Vestry is an elected body, consisting of 12 parishioners and the Rector, who serve as the legal representatives of St. Margaret's. Supporting the church’s mission by word and deed, they ensure effective organization and planning and manage the church's resources.