I came to The Falls Church Anglican in 2006 to participate in The Fellows Program, nine months that transformed my life. I came to faith as a child, and The Fellows Program later taught me how to live a seamless life of faith and how the healing power of Jesus could restore and free my soul. I became a church member a few months after arriving–an unusual move for a Fellow–because The Falls Church Anglican immediately felt like home. After witnessing so many people pour into me, I couldn’t help but want to dig in and give back.
Over the years, I’ve served on the Welcome Team and participated in healing prayer classes. I lead a women's ministry small group and my husband, Steve, and I are currently hosting our second Falls Church Fellow in our home.
I’ve come to learn that all work is God’s work and fully embrace my current vocation as a stay-at-home mom to our children, James and Mary Grace. I previously worked in politics for eight years: first in the U.S. Senate as a legislative aide and press secretary and then as an administrator and fundraiser at a super PAC. I helped with the ministry of Faith & Law while on Capitol Hill and worked briefly for Dr. Steve Garber at The Washington Institute.
As the needs of our church and surrounding community continue to evolve, I’m excited to watch the ways in which the Lord will use His people. I’m honored to be considered for the vestry, especially in this season of our church’s life, as we seek to honor our past and establish roots for our future. If elected to serve, I will bring an understanding of where the church has been and the ways it can transform the lives of others.
I am a little unusual among members of The Falls Church Anglican in that I have been attending since my birth over 30 years ago. As a result, I have benefited from many of our church’s ministries, from Sunday school to Cornerstone to the men’s ministry, among others. In recent years, I have volunteered as a Crossroads and Cornerstone small group leader, and my wife, Susanna, and I are currently part of the Welcome Team. I also served on the Succession Committee which concluded its work last spring.
As I was growing up, my parents and other members of our church, teachers at Rivendell School, and Cornerstone leaders all taught me by word and example about faith in Christ and how it should inform my worldview and behavior. I accepted Christ as a young child, and since then have sought to grow in my relationship with the Lord through study of the Word and prayer, and to live out my faith through service in the church and in the world.
Susanna and I live in Arlington with our daughter, Constance. During the week, I work as a compliance officer at an investment management firm, helping to ensure that the firm complies with laws and regulations. I have also previously worked in public relations and business development. My career has taken me to China on multiple occasions—that’s where I met Susanna.
I am filled with anticipation for the days ahead as we complete our new sanctuary, undertake a major leadership transition, and seek to serve our new neighbors. At the same time, I know there will be internal and external challenges to face. I would be honored to serve as a member of the vestry during this crucial time.
I am grateful to be considered to serve on the vestry of The Falls Church Anglican. My faith has been nurtured from a young age by dedicated Sunday school teachers and small group leaders who patiently underscored the importance of knowing and following Jesus. Of particular interest to me is how our church supports and encourages global missions - this has been a passion of mine for 20 years. In 2006, I joined a short-term missions team from The Falls Church Anglican, serving Muslims in an Asian country. In the following years, I worked with friends at The Falls Church Anglican to create opportunities for my students at Grove City College to engage in entrepreneurial ventures overseas. In 2010, I was confirmed in the Anglican Church.
God granted the desire of my heart to return to northern Virginia in 2014 and I became an active, participating member of The Falls Church Anglican. I currently serve with the ladies in the Flower Guild and I am a member of the Funeral Reception Team. Over the past few years, I have participated in the Women’s Ministry Retreat Planning Committee and the 6565 Groundbreaking Celebration Committee, also serving as an emcee for the women’s retreat and a greeter on Sunday mornings. I especially enjoy helping new people find a place to connect and serve in the body of Christ.
Beyond my involvement at The Falls Church Anglican, I am a business professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. I teach Business Strategy and Management courses for MBA students and I direct the MBA Program. The MBA students I teach come from all over the world - with home countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Mongolia.
I would be honored to serve on the vestry of The Falls Church Anglican and to share my experience in missions, leadership training and organizational development.
Sandor Z. Der
I am excited about the opportunities and challenges that we face as a church in the coming years. I became a member of The Falls Church Anglican in 2000. I was drawn to the challenging sermons, friendly and spiritually mature people, and worshipful environment. I was originally involved in Kairos, serving as a small group leader, participating in the Kairos Leadership Team, and organizing retreats. I am a long-time usher crew chief, an organizer for the second year of the Falls Church Forum, an occasional volunteer for church set-up, and a co-leader of one of The Falls Church Anglican’s home groups. Outside our congregation, I also teach a Korean men’s small group.
My first awareness of God came from my mother and our local parish. I committed my life to Christ in middle school and was confirmed in the eighth grade. In college, I attended InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the friends that I met there helped me become much more interested in learning and living my faith. Since college, I have been an active church member. I received much support and encouragement from Nicholas Lubelfeld and friends in the church while going through a painful divorce years ago. I think this trial drew me closer to God. In recent years, I have been challenged to grow through the C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program, and I have been a mentor in the program for the last three years.
My academic background is in science/engineering, and my career has been in the fields of data analytics, probability, and machine learning. On the side, I sometimes teach graduate courses in probability and information theory, and occasionally serve on Ph.D. dissertation committees. I think analytically by training and disposition.
My husband, Paul, and I came to the church 25 years ago as newlyweds and instantly found our home. I grew up in a Christian family, attending the same Episcopal church my parents and grandparents had for decades. While I cannot remember a time when I did not believe in Jesus as my Savior, my personal relationship with Him solidified after a life-changing back injury in college. There, I was confronted with an identity crisis and came to understand on a personal level that I was God’s daughter first and foremost.
Over the past decades, I have served the church in various roles: head of the Guild of the Christ Child, Summer’s Best Two Weeks camp director, Sunday school teacher and shepherd, BLAST small group leader, a premarital mentor, and youth group parent volunteer. These opportunities have blessed me with experiencing the body of Christ at work. I have also had the privilege of attending women’s Bible studies and a couple’s small group which have both challenged me and deepened my faith. In addition, I have received life-changing emotional healings through the healing ministry.
My current vocation (for the past 14 years) has been homeschooling our four children, Connor (21), Clare (17), Grace (16) and Jack (15). Before kids, I worked for the Family Research Council where one of my main responsibilities was serving as the primary contact between our architect, developer, patrons and organization when we built our DC headquarters building. Upon moving into the new building, I managed the day-to-day operations of the building and administrative staff.
I would be honored to serve on the vestry during those pivotal transition years. By the grace of God and with His help, our church is uniquely positioned to continue its good kingdom work in the lives of individuals, families, and community.
Robert M. Petillo
Most folks know me as a singer. Alice and I came to The Falls Church Anglican in 1998 with our daughters Anastasia and Lucia. Previously, I have served as a deacon and a ruling elder (Presbyterian) and in musical roles. Since 1998, I have been a lay Eucharistic minister and Reader. I was The Falls Church Anglican’s interim director of music and worship in 2007-2008. Recently, I began serving as a verger and as a music coordinator for the 10:30 a.m. traditional service. I have been a home group leader, I am active in men’s ministry, and I am excited about outreach to our new neighbors around 6565 Arlington Boulevard.
I trusted in Jesus as a teenager and attended an Episcopal church, where I came to love Anglican liturgy and worship and the Book of Common Prayer. I love coming to receive Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. I am also a lifelong student of worship, acoustics, organs, art, and architecture. My love of music in childhood led me to pursue a career in music, which has taken me to hundreds of churches and concert halls across the country and in Europe over the course of four decades performing thousands of concerts. I sang in The U.S. Army Chorus for nearly 32 years in 38 languages and performed for eight past presidents, and I retired at the rank of Sergeant Major. I earned master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Maryland and have studied at Westminster Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry.
I long for increasing spiritual formation into Christlikeness in myself and others through prayerful, systematic reading of Scripture and sincere community and fellowship. I have seen deep healing and transformation result from mutual accountability and prayer (James 5:16). I believe that transparency, accountability, and good communication are vital to effective church leadership.
Elaine Griffith Petty
I have always been motivated by having a sense of purpose. It’s why I studied nursing and came to DC to work at Children’s Hospital. When I was introduced to Christ by a medical student, it was thrilling, fulfilling, inspiring, and informed my life purpose statement: As a result of knowing Christ personally, passionately, devotedly and intimately, I want to influence influencers for Him with a worldwide impact. Following Him led me to minister with Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru) on campuses in Delaware and Pennsylvania, then professionals in DC, move to Holland to minister to Russian officials while helping start an outreach ministry to women in Switzerland, then join the International School Project in Russia, training teachers to use a curriculum teaching biblical morals and values. (A personal bonus was meeting my husband Tim Petty in Siberia!)
I joined The Falls Church (Episcopal) in the mid-1980s. When Tim and I returned to DC and moved onto Capitol Hill in the late 1990s, we continued at The Falls Church Anglican because of the richness of relationships and biblical teaching that helped us live purposefully in the midst of our culture. In addition to appreciating The Falls Church Anglican as our church home where we can minister with others and bring visitors, we have been involved with the young adults ministry.
After Russia, I worked in a U.S. Senate office to address international issues of religious persecution. My continuing interest and desire to help people to come to know Christ motivated me to get my master's degree in bioethics. I now teach bioethics to medical students at Georgetown University, am a leadership coach for Cru, and do speaking, training and mentoring. Tim and I also use our home (The Capitol Hill Lighthouse) to host many overnight guests, dinners and discussion groups with diverse topics ranging from marriage to bioethics.
I was born and raised in northern California, and as a result of my father’s work have lived in Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York. MKay and I have been married for almost 39 years and have three children, Chris (35),James (32), and Scesny (27). James Porter Roth, our first grandson, joined us in November of 2018.
For nearly 40 years, I have been a partner in a large real estate development firm, where I have been responsible for development of more than 20 million square feet of commercial real estate, being involved with project origination, design, financing, construction and operation.
Tom and Mary Beth Doughty introduced us to The Falls Church Anglican in 2001, and we found the Bible-based teaching a true blessing. I joined the ushers in 2010, and MKay has been involved in multiple Bible study groups as well as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and providing meals for families with newborns. I joined the Real Estate Committee in 2011, and have been privileged not only to assist in the acquisition of the 6565 Arlington Boulevard land parcel, but to have served with the Building Steering Committee as it worked to design our new garage and sanctuary. Today I serve as chairman of the 6565 Arlington Boulevard LLC, the entity owned by the church and tasked with professionally managing the real estate owned by The Falls Church Anglican.
This church has had a significant impact on our family and on my personal life in Christ; I had not truly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit until we joined The Falls Church Anglican. I feel I have been especially blessed through participating in our journey to establish a new church home, where the Lord has called me to use my business experience to partially repay what He and the church have provided us spiritually. I pray we are faithfully following the Lord’s guidance in leading us to this new home, and I am humbled and honored to be considered to serve on the vestry.
I am honored to stand for election to the vestry at The Falls Church Anglican. My wife, Merritt, and I have been attending The Falls Church Anglican since 2007 and were confirmed in 2014. We have four children: Finn (9), Whit (7), Everett (4), and Eisley (1.5). After working at a law firm for 10 years, I now work as a government lawyer in Washington, DC.
I grew up in a Christian home in Fairfax County and attended Christian school from kindergarten through high school. Although I accepted Christ at an early age, I rededicated my life to Christ and was baptized during my senior year of college.
We chose The Falls Church Anglican in 2007 because of its commitment to orthodox biblical teaching. At that time, the church had just voted to break away from the Episcopal Church, and the lawsuit was just beginning. We were (and still are) proud to be part of a community of believers that sacrificed everything to stand for what is right and true.
Over the years, I have been involved in various Bible studies and ministries of The Falls Church Anglican, from serving on the Timothy board to teaching Sunday school to hosting a Fellow. I am currently involved in a Bible study with other men who work in government and pray that God would help us pursue truth and justice as we serve our country in various legal positions.
This is an exciting—yet crucial—time in the history of our church. After years of litigation and tabernacling, our church is building a new home and ready to begin a new chapter. If elected to the vestry, I will focus on managing the upcoming transitions to our new worship space and to our new rector.
Thank you for considering me as a candidate for your vestry.
I had the privilege of writing the book about our church, The Awakening of Washington’s Church. It tells the story of how The Falls Church Anglican took a stand for its faith, lost its historic property, but continued to thrive, planting new churches and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It would be an honor to serve on the vestry as we move into this new phase of our church’s story.
My wife, Lindsay, and I have been members of The Falls Church Anglican since 2007. Our three children were baptized in the church. Lindsay and I met as law students at the University of Virginia School of Law. We were members of the Law Christian Fellowship in Charlottesville, and friends in that group suggested that we visit The Falls Church Anglican when we were preparing to move to Washington, DC. We immediately felt at home here. Lindsay and I have assisted with nursery and children’s Sunday school. She is involved in the women’s ministry and Babes with Babes Bible study group. I have taught a session in the Newcomers Class about the history of The Falls Church Anglican. I have also helped John Yates to publish several of his own books on heaven, marriage, and Easter meditations.
I am currently an author (pen name J.B. Simmons) and Adjunct Professor of international arbitration at UVA Law. Over the past decade, I have served as an Attorney-Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and practiced law at Covington & Burling LLP and Three Crowns LLP. I grew up in a Christian home in North Carolina and attended college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
One of the great pleasures of writing the book about our church was hearing your stories about how God has been at work in your lives. I look forward to seeing how God continues to work as we take this next step of our journey together.
George F. Ward
Raised a Methodist in New York City, I asked Christ into my life as a teenager. My wife, Peggy, our daughter Pamela, and I were introduced to Anglicanism in a Church of England parish in Hamburg, Germany during the early 1970s. After assignments overseas, we became members of The Falls Church (Episcopal) in 1986. Pamela is now married and the mother of three daughters. She and her family attend Christ Church Vienna.
I love The Falls Church Anglican for many reasons, but above all for its preaching and teaching of the truth of Christ and of His grace in canceling our sins. Over the years, I have served at The Falls Church Anglican in many ways: co-chair of the Shrine Mont Retreat Committee, usher, Alpha small group leader, lector, marriage mentor, member of the Real Estate Committee, and lay Eucharistic minister. I was twice elected to the vestry and was senior warden from 2013-2014. From 2014-2017, I served on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. At the 2018 Provincial Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America, I was chosen for membership on the Provincial Tribunal and the Court for the Trial of a Bishop. Currently, I serve The Falls Church Anglican as a verger, in the financial counseling ministry, and as co-leader of a house church.
Professionally, I started as a counterintelligence officer in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam era. For 30 years I served as a Foreign Service Officer, including an appointment as ambassador to the Republic of Namibia. Post Foreign Service, I directed programs at the United States Institute of Peace, moved on to an executive role at World Vision, and for the past eight years have coordinated the Africa Studies Program at the Institute for Defense Analyses.
What brought my wife, Marie, and I to the Falls Church Anglican was the excellent preaching and strong commitment to discipleship. Our two children, Benjamin and Laura Elizabeth, have benefited from the children’s ministry and are now active in Crossroads and Cornerstone.
About the time our family became members of The Falls Church Anglican, I joined an usher team and have continued with the same team ever since. I also joined the board of directors of The Falls Church Fellows Program, and I have focused on placement of the Fellows in their job sites around Washington, DC. I view this mission as critical to The Falls Church Anglican’s cultural mandate as we cultivate some of our finest young people for an academic year under Christian mentors in the workplace and in family living. Please consider hosting a Fellow. I first hosted a Fellow 15 years ago when I was the staff director for the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in the House of Representatives (where we were able to give our Fellow a Christmas bonus that went toward an engagement ring – always a very sound investment in the kingdom).
My professional background includes 14 years working on Capitol Hill, two years at the State Department, and now 11 years at the Securities and Exchange Commission. I also have extensive experience teaching parliamentary procedure and serving on boards, including the following roles: President of the Germanna Foundation, Chairman of Oakseed Ministries, Vice Chairman of Rivendell School, and board member of the Faith & Law on Capitol Hill.
As The Falls Church Anglican prepares to move into the land that the Lord has prepared for us, my hope is that we never lose the memories of God’s provision during our time in the wilderness, and that we nurture and be wise stewards of the important leadership role that God has given us among Washington, DC’s powerful and powerless.