always been a civic-minded healer.
It just took her
some time to decipher what her
intuition had been telling her
Washington is executive director of Peter Paul Development Center and vicar at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, both in Richmond's Church Hill.
A decade ago, her
life was very different.
was very different.
Washington was a loan officer, an investment broker and for all intents and purposes, on her way to a successful and financially rewarding life.
faith had always been strong, and she
happily got involved in the communities where she
lived, whether with the American Red Cross
or some other organization.
But during that career, several events triggered thoughts of doing something more with her
recalls a customer who'd lost his
2-year-old daughter, but she
was unable to help him receive a loan for the child's burial.
also recalls a regular customer who'd been a concentration-camp survivor.
The man was wealthy but sent much of his
earnings to help the youth of Israel, telling Washington
that "money should never be used to buy more things, but rather to help people."
was experiencing some health problems when she
met a holistic doctor who told her she
wasn't destined to be in finance and that as long as she
continued in that industry, she
would be sick.
found out she
had ovarian cysts, but wondered whether her
unhappiness in life was manifesting itself through her
All these experiences stuck with Washington
moved around for her
job but eventually returned to Ohio and became involved in her
During a car ride with her bishop and a conversation about her faith and ways she could serve her community, the moment hit.
"My bishop said, 'Don't you know that God has called you to be a priest?'"
"It was one of those moments where time stops," Washington
But a female priest?
was ordained in 1997 by the Diocese of Southern Ohio
got married, and after seminary she
husband moved to Virginia, where she
worked with St. Matthias' Episcopal Church
in Chesterfield County.
From there, she worked in outreach for the Diocese of Virginia.
During that time, she served on the board for the Peter Paul Development Center, a place in Church Hill that provides after-school and summer tutoring for the area's children, enrichment activities for children and adults, and sometimes acts as food bank and clothing center for the needy.
also found Saint Peter's Episcopal Church
, located near Peter Paul.
had been looking for an urban ministry and that church fit her
Today she's the center's executive director and a vicar at Saint Peter's
"The reward is greater than you can ever imagine," she said of becoming a priest.
added: "When you're a part of it, you feel the hand of God in a way that's very hard to articulate."