Bicentennial Oral History

The oral history project, begun during the Parish’s bicentennial celebration, is all about parish stories, collected from the memories of individuals involved with Christ Church, now and in the past. Planning for this project began in 2017, with the goal of Honoring our History. The project was created within the Multimedia and Publications subcommittee; credit for the early work goes to Sallie Wilhelm, Kit Thomson and Ann Haas, among others. Inherent technical challenges made the project daunting, and much thought was put into overcoming the difficulties.  In early 2018, Kathleen Patterson formed a committee of interviewers who agreed upon an initial list of people representing different roles and expanses of lifetimes in the church and about a dozen members of the parish participated in bringing this to fruition. Transcripts are here to share. Please enjoy the fascinating stories and beautiful theme of gratitude within these pages. We hope that this project may continue into Christ Church’s third century and continue adding color to our rich history.   
Mark Anschutz

The son of the Reverend Dr. John Anschutz, Christ Church rector from 1944-1973, the Reverend Dr. Mark Anschutz tells of his father’s ministry and of growing up in the rectory during the period of post-World War II expansion. Among Mark’s memories are the Easter tradition of mite boxes, meetings in the parish of the Boys’ Club while its new building was under construction on Wisconsin Avenue, the church’s purchase of Linthicum Hall thanks to a capital campaign, his father’s creation of a youth group and his active role at Shrine Mont, and a drive to Potomac with his father and Bishop William Creighton for the Bishop to select a site for St. Francis Church. 



Tom Birch

Tom Birch, active in the life of Christ Church for decades, reflects on opportunities—including serving as senior warden and in the homeless shelter program and in development initiatives—particularly the 2003 building restoration. In worship services, he recalls the roles of lay reader, usher, crucifer, and chalice-bearer. Experiencing almost every parish committee, including the vestry nominating committee, Tom mentions a working group that recently reviewed the church’s outreach and mission. Savoring the sense of community, Tom mentions lasting friendships, new facilities for Georgetown Ministry participants, Stuart Kenworthy’s call to chaplain duties in Iraq, and the generosity of parishioners and their love for the church.



Nora (“Tooey”) Cameron

A self-described “troublemaker,” Tooey Cameron recalls parish activities emphasizing mission.  Currently, she is active in the Altar Guild.  A former vestry member and Wesley Seminary graduate, she started a four-year “Education for Ministry Group”  and helped create the Mission Group to the Middle East, which supports organizations that sponsor schools and hospitals in the region. She participated in several pilgrimages to the Holy Land. For years she chaired outreach for the Church’s ministry to So Others Might Eat. Tooey led the initiative to add laundry and bathing facilities for Georgetown Ministry participants. Recently, Tooey co-led Christ Church’s involvement in  supporting a refugee family in the Washington diocese, along with two other parishes.  



Tom Crocker

Tom Crocker grew up in Christ Church, the son of active members Mimi and Tom Crocker. Baptized and confirmed in the parish, Tom recalls powerful sermons by Dr. Anschutz and Morning Prayer as the norm for worship services. Tom’s mother, Mimi, served on the vestry and, with Mary Weinmann, redecorated Linthicum Hall. The two women later worked with parish administrator Glenn Metzdorf to do the same for the rectory. Married in Christ Church, Alexandria, Tom returned to Georgetown with his wife, Beth, and sons. Recalling their sons’ Sunday School experiences, he notes the lasting friendships that they still treasure. A former vestry member, Tom also served on the search committee that selected Tim Cole as the new rector.



Anna-Stina Ericson

Anna-Stina Ericson knows Christ Church well as an active member since moving to Georgetown in 1949, shortly after finishing at Bryn Mawr.  Anna-Stina’s delightful stories highlight her sustained ministry to seminarians and the congregation’s adoption of the new prayer book and “The Peace.” She also mentions serving as a member of the vestry and mentoring her grand-nieces, one of whom—Katie—became a Junior Member of the Altar Guild—a unique position—under the guidance of Eloise Page.  Anna-Stina recalls the 1988 cookbook project, the request to travelers for items for the parish’s international Christmas bazaar, and a well-attended dance featuring an orchestra in Linthicum Hall, which later became the Parish Hall.



Boyden Gray

Living in Washington during his early childhood years, Boyden Gray remembers Dr. John Anschutz as visiting his father often at the Gray home. Boyden grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, finished law school there and then returned to the District of Columbia to serve as a Supreme Court clerk and later as White House Counsel. Crediting Stuart Kenworthy with attracting families with young children to the parish, Boyden is grateful for Lupton Abshire’s influence on daughter Eliza and recalls fondly how an unexpected opportunity to substitute for a Sunday School teacher proved so enjoyable that he became an official instructor. He enthusiastically attends a Sunday worship service and the Adult Forum.



Clark Hooper

The first woman to serve as senior warden, Clark Hooper actively participated in Christ Church activities for almost 25 years. Terming the parish a “comforting and special place” from her first experience, Clark fondly recalls serving on the Board of Sevier House and visiting the retirement home for Georgetown Episcopalians. Clark reflects on the arrival of Stuart and Fran Kenworthy and the resulting influx to the parish of families with young children, along with the additional worship services that the new rector instituted. Among her favorite people are Glenn Metzdorf (“a good friend and a good man and always there”), Mimi Crocker, Mary and Eric Weinmann, Katryna Carothers, Guy Fairlamb, Sidney Lawrence, Lupton Abshire and Rita Henninger.



Stuart Kenworthy

The Reverend Stuart Kenworthy looks back on 23 years as rector of Christ Church, the “small cathedral” that he, wife Fran and three children, found embracing and welcoming. Stuart began worship services for morning, noon, and evening five days a week.  He reflects on adult education, pastoral care, outreach, and mission, including a fund-raiser that generated $268,000 for the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys!  Stuart led a historic restoration of the sanctuary including every stained glass window, at a total cost of about $3.5 million during more than 18 months, returning the church to its original beauty. Stuart also discusses his temporary leave from Christ Church as military chaplain in Iraq and the growth of families in the parish.



Ellen S. Martin

In 1977, Ellen Martin and her husband Swift, an army officer, joined Christ Church. Swift’s mother, Marguerite Prewer Martin, was already an active member.  In her lively interview, Ellen shares stories of many former and present parishioners, clergy and ministries. She was involved in the Friendly Visitors’ Program and for many years has served on the Altar Guild.  A Senior Warden, Swift too was very active, helping to set up the homeless shelter and to create a lay reader program that included women.  Over the years, Ellen notes an increase in young people and church outreach. A beautiful crèche was dedicated on December 17, 2017 at Christ Church, in Swift’s memory. This was made possible through contributions of parishioners, family and friends.



Glenn Metzdorf

The author of the history of Christ Church, Glenn Metzdorf looks back on its creation by St. John’s parishioners, the necessity to re-build the church after it was damaged by the 1865 street re-grading, the impact of Prayer Book revision in the 1980's, the addition of women as clergy, and the 2003 building restoration that was guided by 1886 photos.  In the process Glenn remembers fondly rectors Sanford Garner and Stuart Kenworthy—and applauds parishioners such as Guy Martin, Mary Weinmann and Mimi Crocker, key figures in the restoration. He is known for his recall of the work of individual members of the parish, his spiritual home for decades.  Glenn’s history can be found at the Historical Society of Washington.



Betsy and Charley Rackley

Dr. and Mrs. Charles Edward Rackley of Georgetown joined Christ Church soon after moving to Washington in 1982 with two teenage children.   Both of their children, Edward Rackley and Colman Riddell, are members with spouses and children of their own now part of the parish.  Betsy is best known for her decades of leadership of the flower committee and Charlie served as senior warden and was on the search committee when Stuart Kenworthy was called as rector.  In this delightful interview recorded by Page Smith (Bicentennial Committee Co-Chair), Betsy and Charley bounce back and forth many anecdotes, including about parishioners they know and knew; their Friday night fish fry for the winter shelter and the like.


Evie Rooney

A lector, usher, Altar Guild member, and Bicentennial Events Committee co-chair with Janice Buchanan, Evie Rooney energetically participates in Christ Church activities. Evie recalls the opening Bicentennial luncheon in the garden and, at the time her interview was recorded, was striving for a similarly-successful celebration for the Epiphany dinner planned for January 6, 2019—a finale to the year-long observance. Evie mentions serving on the Board of the Bishop John Walker School for Boys. She came to Christ Church upon the recommendation of a friend, after 30 years in another church, and immediately felt at home, especially with Stuart Kenworthy as rector. Evie’s daughter, Martha, her son-in-law, David, and their children are also members. 


Berk Shervin

Berk Shervin grew up in the Christ Church parish.  His father, Berkeley, was a vestry member and his mother, Eleanor, helped manage the thrift shop.  Berk remembers  the rector, Dr. John Anschutz, kneeling to talk with him face-to-face, wanting to get to know him.  Whether playing on the stage in the Parish Hall or in the church’s basement, Berk and his sisters were right at home.  Berk fondly recalls “decorating the Church in advance of Christmas services and serving as an acolyte and a cross-bearer on Christmas Eve.”  Berkeley , Sr., served on the search committee that selected Dr. Anschutz’s successor, Sanford Garner. Berk, his wife, Cheri, and their young children extended the family’s relationship with Mr. Garner.


Mary Weinmann

Born in Paris, Mary Weinmann moved to Washington with her parents and in 1940 started attending Christ Church when she was about 11 years old. Mary married Neill Carothers in the church, and their sons—Neill and Andre—were baptized and confirmed in the parish.  An accomplished artist and interior designer, Mary participated in the annual art show and was a key figure in redecorating the Parish Hall and rectory. In memory of her mother, Ethel deLimur, Mary and family donated the Chapel of St. Jude and its garden. She oversaw all design aspects, including the furnishings. One stipulation was that all plantings around the church be green and white only. The chapel immediately became an important part of the parish, where worship services are conducted daily.  Mary was wed to her second husband, Eric Weinmann, in the Chapel.