To the Editor: Remembering Margaret Washington

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We are writing to clarify the article in the May issue about Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s outreach to Mountainside Senior Living.

The twice-monthly gatherings at Mountainside were started over thirty years ago by Emmanuel’s beloved parishioner Margaret McCue Washington. At these tea parties, numerous other parishioners brought cookies to eat, and dogs and children to entertain. For many years Emmanuel parishioner and Crozet resident Dick Brandt played music at the tea parties, with Sara Reynolds serving as substitute. Later a Presbyterian member of the ministry with the aging, Virginia Fischer, who was well into her nineties, supplied the music… and inspiration to those residents younger than she.

About ten years ago the diocesan Committee on Aging provided every Episcopal church in the diocese with a DVD about “Miss Margaret’s Tea Parties” as a way to inspire those churches to minister to the aging population. Emmanuel parishioner Susie Hodgson spearheaded this endeavor.

In January of 2016 at the Annual Council of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, the Rev. Christopher Garcia accepted the Biggar-Power Award on behalf of Emmanuel Church for its ministry with the aging. The tea parties that Margaret Washington founded at Mountainside inspired others: Gren King initiated men’s movie nights at Mountainside, the Blundin family organized regular bingo nights at Mountainside and also helped the youth group organize an angel tree for the residents.

It is worth remembering that it is through the vision of one caring person, Margaret McCue Washington, that this ministry continues to bring companionship and joy today.

Julia Shields
Charlottesville

Delores Smith
Greenwood

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