I’d love to take this moment to introduce myself, as the new Arlington District Lay Leader. I have been a lifelong Methodist and a member at Mt. Olivet for over 30 years. I met my husband there the day I became a member of the church. We enjoy singing in the choir together and are members of an active Sunday School class.

I have served on multiple teams at Mt. Olivet, including worship, outreach, and adult education. But my deepest involvement has been with United Methodist Women. After serving in several roles at Mt. Olivet, I was asked to serve as the Social Action Coordinator for Arlington District. I then served as District President. One of my favorite opportunities as president was to be able to meet so many women from so many different churches. I have also served as Conference Vice President, allowing me to work with and get to know women from all over the state.

I now serve as Conference Social Action Coordinator, a role which includes membership on the Board of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, on the Conference Legislative Network and on the Board of Church and Society. While this means lots of committee meetings and frequent travel to Richmond, I thoroughly enjoy the many opportunities to meet people, hear about projects and activities around the Conference and help with the important social justice work of the church. Additionally, I am first alternate lay delegate to General Conference and a member of the Jurisdictional Delegation.

My husband and I are the proud parents of two wonderful daughters, a delightful son-in-law and now an adorable granddaughter. When not doing church work, I delight in making ecclesiastical art on commission, including stoles and paraments, and decorative artwork including florals and landscapes, all out of fiber.

I am honored to serve as your District Lay Leader and hope to meet many of you as we work together. These next few months and years will no doubt be challenging. May we all use our many gifts of the Holy Spirit to hold each other up in prayers and love.

Karen McElfish, Arlington District Lay Leader