our leaders

leadership

St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church has developed a model of ministry and leadership in which service is provided by lay people and clergy, paid people and volunteers—a model that reflects “the priesthood of all believers.”

Our lay leaders are our Vestry and Wardens, who are elected by the congregation. Our clergy are a team and are led by our Senior Priest, elected by the Vestry with the consent of the Bishop, and other priests, who make their livings in other ways. Primary leadership of the congregation is shared by the Senior Priest, the Senior Warden, and the Parish Director of Operations, under the continuing oversight of the Bishop. This is a different model from most Episcopal churches, where a priest with the title of Rector holds almost all authority.

Our Clergy Team

The Rev. Sam Dessórdi Leité

St. Stephen’s clergy team is led by The Rev. Sam Dessórdi Leité, our Senior Priest.

Email

Phone: 202/630-3771
(for pastoral emergencies only; leave a message, and Fr. Sam will get back to you as soon as he can)

The Rev. Dr. A. Katherine Grieb

The Rev. Dr. A. Katherine Grieb was born in the Diocese of Easton, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church as a child. While a student at Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, she became excited about biblical studies, theology, and “the movement church,” the part of the church that is committed to working for peace, civil rights, and economic justice for all. A philosophy and religion major in college, she also learned how to do community organizing around race and poverty, gained experience in innercity ministries, and served as president of the peace organization.

 

After college, she attended Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. She was admitted to the bar associations of Maryland and Washington, DC, but practiced law only briefly before entering the Virginia Theological Seminary. She had been attending St. Stephen’s during law school, attracted by its hands-on ministries to the poor, especially Loaves and Fishes, its commitment to women’s leadership in the church, and its version of post-Vatican II liturgical renewal. St. Stephen’s was her sponsoring parish through the ordination process in the Diocese of Washington.

 

Following graduation from Virginia Seminary, she was ordained by Bishop John Walker and served for the next ten years in the Diocese of Maine. During that time, she earned her Ph.D. from Yale University and taught for two years at Bangor Theological Seminary, before returning to teach at the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1994. She also teaches regularly at the Servant Leadership School associated with the Church of the Savior. She has published a book on Romans and is presently writing one on Hebrews.

The Rev. Linda Kaufman

The Rev. Linda Kaufman is from Seattle, but her family moved a few times, ending up in northern Virginia, where Linda attended high school and her father raised beef cattle on a farm in Round Hill. Her religious background is Lutheran and Evangelical Charismatic Episcopal. After attending George Mason and majoring in elementary education, she landed a very good job as a consultant in performance problem solving. At 30, she had what she thought would take her until she was 60to accomplish. She should have been content, even happy. But something was missing.

 

Linda went to church one Sunday, and it changed her life. In the fall of 1977, she committed herself to Christ and soon entered seminary. At first she only meant to get a PhD and teach, but some of her professors suggested ordination. So she attended Virginia Theological Seminary for her last two years. It was there that she met Jack Woodard, former Rector of St. Stephen’s and an adjunct professor, who told his students that they were too pietistically insular, too set apart from the real world. The next weekend, Linda spent the night in a woman’s shelter in Washington. She realized two things: that she had been called to preach, and that she had been called to be out on the streets. She was soon ordained.

In the fall of 1997 she attended St. Stephen’s at the urging of Bishop Jane Dixon.

 

She and Liane Rozzell had a commitment ceremony in 1998. Linda and Liane are parents to Ryan and Jamal.

The Rev. Martin Smith

Martin Smith is well-known throughout the Episcopal Church and beyond as a writer, retreat leader, and teacher exploring contemporary spirituality. A priest since 1971, he most recently served as the Senior Associate Rector at St. Columba’s church in Washington, D.C., while continuing to travel widely for his teaching ministry. He retired from full-time parish ministry in July 2012 to devote himself to his roving ministry of spiritual formation: writing, preaching and the leading of retreats, conferences and workshops. His widely read books include Reconciliation: Preparing for Confession in the Episcopal Church, A Season for the Spirit, The Word is Very Near You, Love Set Free and Compass and Stars. His latest book, co-authored by the Rev. Julia Gatta, is Go in Peace: the Art of Hearing Confessions.

 

Martin was drawn to the parish of St. Stephen and the Incarnation and its radical tradition soon after his move to Washington and has been an occasional preacher and celebrant for the community over the years. He joined the team of affiliated clergy in the summer of 2016.

 

He was born in the northwest of England in 1947 and trained as a theologian at the University of Oxford. He prepared for the ordained ministry at Cuddesdon College, Oxford. After several years in the parish ministry in the Diocese of St. Albans, he joined the oldest religious order for men in the Anglican Communion, the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and served in the community in Oxford before transferring to the North American branch of the community in 1979. After completing three terms as Superior of the community, he left the order in 2002. From 2002 to 2006, he was on the staff of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The Rev. Susan K. Walker, Deacon

The Rev. Susan K. Walker, Deacon, grew up in Nashville, Tenn., attending the Episcopal Church.  She studied English and prepared to teach by earning a Master’s degree at George Peabody College. Since 1976, she has lived Alexandria, Va., where she raised two children, and since, 2008, has lived with husband Carl Scheffey. Her work in the church began as a volunteer before taking a staff position as Volunteer Coordinator and Director of Evangelism at Christ Church, Alexandria.  She worked for several years in geriatric mental health services and was trained in chaplaincy at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  Both environments gave Susan direct experience with the poor.  She reentered parish ministry, but in an urban setting, Epiphany, downtown Washington, where the Sunday breakfast program offered more relational work with the city’s marginalized and underserved.

 

Susan graduated from the Washington Theological Union with a Master of Theological Studies and a certificate in Spiritual Direction Studies.  She offers spiritual direction at Virginia Theological Seminary.  A 30-day Ignatian retreat was a life changing experience which ultimately led to ordination as a vocational deacon in 2012.  In 2013, she completed a certificate program on the Process of Aging at the Washington School of Psychiatry.

 

During the week, Susan works as Resident Services Director and Leasing Agent at St. Mary’s Court, an apartment community for low-income seniors.  On Sundays she serves as deacon at St. Stephen’s 8am liturgy. After the 8am liturgy, Susan can be found downstairs with guests at Loaves and Fishes, passing out the day’s gospel passage and chatting with anyone who looks interested.  Being at St. Stephen’s is learning what it means to be a deacon, that is, learning to be a bridge between the church and the world.  Loaves and Fishes is a great place for that.  Susan welcomes others to join her.

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Parish Director of Operations

Mike Ritonia

Mike has been St. Stephen’s Director of Operations since April 2016. He is a former Marine Corps Infantry Officer who has earned a BS in Engineering from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and an MBA from The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Previously Mike has owned his own Management Consulting business, was President of two software start-up companies and was an Executive with AOL from 1996 to 2003.

Mike believes his widely diverse set of experiences, ability to prioritize and “calm under pressure” will prove to be his best contribution to the success of the church.

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1525 Newton St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 232-0900
staff@saintstephensdc.org

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