Imagine if God told you when you were 22, I have the perfect place for you, however it will take 26 years for me to get you ready for it. That’s my story and CHP in a nutshell. At 22, freshly graduated from Yale University, freshly re-committed to following Jesus, I believed I was ready to suit up and go bring the kingdom. Little did I realize just how much I needed to change and learn.
Called to “Go and Rebuild my Church for it has fallen into ruin”, I was passionate for church renewal. I attempted to enter seminary, however God said, “not yet.” What he opened up was 15 years of renovating houses as a carpenter. Later at 27 I applied for seminary again. This time, the Lord said, “But I’ve created you to be an actor.” So I entered acting school instead, Cornish College on Capitol Hill. There I found my true self as well as my wife, Cristie. We married and had four children, while I worked as an actor and a carpenter.
Finally, at 37, the Lord said, “Now go to seminary.” In a miracle of provision, I was able to quit work and earn, without debt, not only a MDiv, but also a D.Min from Columbia Seminary in Atlanta. Fast forward to 2006, I helped lead two Presbyterian churches to end and begin Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church. Our mission is to a missional community devoted to the life changing reality of Jesus Christ. Our vision is to be a center of restoration on Capitol Hill. Church renewal, including healing the soul, the body, even renovating an old church building, all this with a special focus on the arts and the power of the Holy Spirit in a neighborhood where it, finally, all comes together. God is good!
Worship Coordinator – Cristie Kearny
Cristie works with the Worship Committee to organize worship every Sunday morning. Cristie met James at Cornish College here on Capitol Hill. Incredibly creative, Cristie has written several plays and directed every annual theatrical performance we’ve done here at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church. And when she’s not here at the church she’s taking multiple Zumba classes a day and raising 4 boys. Cristie is a voracious reader and avid movie watcher.
Managing Director – Helen Hall
Helen worked in the corporate world of telecommunications, but more recently had been looking for something different in the way of a management job. In God’s great timing and coordination, she was offered the job at Capitol Hill, and is loving the people of the church and their servant hearts. Embarking on this next adventure is a new and welcome challenge. Helen loves music and singing, cooking, quilting and hanging out with friends and family.
Administrator and Facilities Director – Debbie Harrington
Debbie, a.k.a. “the Church Lady” loves her job here at the church. “Never a dull day” she always says. It’s a great combination of duties that keeps her busy 6 hours a day.
Prior to her life here, Debbie did the marketing and sales for an international company that manufactured cameras for industrial use. She was lucky enough to travel the world selling and promoting these products and worked in England several weeks a year conferring with the manufacturing engineers and sales group for the company. Now she spends her afternoons doing real estate photography and working on rental properties.
Music Director – Dwight Gilmore | Artist in Residence – Trisha Gilmore
Cheri Wilke – Adult Discipleship Director
The worship and preaching at CHP is spot on, but the more I thought and prayed about it the more I realized it was a second hour of teaching and discipleship that was needed. Having just received my Master’s degree and teaching certificate, I felt called to develop something to fill that void.
My favorite thing about CHPC is the desire to open up to the Holy Spirit. I am seeing the sparkle of spirit infused momentum in the leaders and know that this will set a fire in the congregation.
MY favorite type of food is dim sum/soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung. My favorite book from childhood is Through the Looking Glass, my favorite book as an adult is The Unconsoled, but I have many favorite books being a diehard bibliophile. For fun I love to travel to England and touch base with friends there while soaking in all the literary atmosphere and art museums I can (not to mention visiting cathedrals and churches). I am an unapologetic Anglophile, except when I am an unapologetic Francophile.
Custodian – Bernardo Reyes
Bernardo has been on staff since we were at Church at the Center on lower Queen Anne. He has faithfully and thoroughly cleaned the church from top to bottom every week for all these years. His son Matthew also works for us and diligently sweeps and mops the Fellowship Hall and kitchen floors twice a week. His other job is working for a veterinary clinic assisting with surgeries and animal care.
Custodian – Anthony Hamilton
I feel God has picked CHPC for me. This church is showing me how to live and to love again. I have hope again.
I don’t have one favorite thing. I have lots of them. The location, the history. I guess if I had to pick one it would be that this church loves me.
I was born a natural born athlete. I love to play sports. Soccer is my favorite. I don’t like watching all of them. Occasionally, I like to watch the play-offs, world cup, super bowl. I really enjoy teaching kids to play too.