The vestry at Grace Episcopal Church unanimously voted to offer the call for its next rector to the Rev. Sarah Odderstol who will begin her position on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.
The vestry of Grace Episcopal Church in Silver Spring, Maryland represents a diverse congregation of more than 300 members as well as the renowned Grace Episcopal Day School.
Rev. Odderstol answered the call to Grace while acting as rector of St. John’s, Broad Creek in Fort Washington, Maryland. Her interest in Grace stemmed from her days as a seminarian when she visited the parish with her seminary class. Grace’s commitment to racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion deepened her interest in the parish. In previous positions, Rev. Odderstol participated in anti-racism and conflict management training.
With her husband, who served in the military, daughter and son, Rev. Odderstol has traveled and lived in many countries around the world. While stationed in various locales, Rev. Odderstol volunteered as a childbirth educator and doula and most notably as a liaison for the Yokosuka Episcopal Fellowship in Yokosuka, Japan. Additionally, Rev. Odderstol has a strong music background and is a gifted vocalist. She served as a cantor for Roman Catholic services and sang in synagogues while in college.
Yvonne VanLowe, Grace’s Senior Warden, praised Rev. Odderstol for possessing the unique mix of strengths needed to be a successful rector. VanLowe went on to say that “Her experience as a priest in parishes of different sizes, worship styles and diversity during the past 20 years will benefit our congregation.”
Rev. Odderstol stood apart from other candidates because of her dedication to her congregation, her strong leadership skills, her love of pastoral care, her dedication to youth, music and singing, and her warm and welcoming personality. She is easily able to connect with people of all backgrounds and she is passionate about parish ministry and pastoral care.
In her various ministries, Rev. Odderstol developed new and bolstered existing partnerships to expand outreach ministries. She established a police chaplaincy ministry to support the police department and to respond with police to tragedies and disasters. She serves on the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s Commission on Ministry, and she continuously takes courses and training to learn new skills that she can apply in her parish and outreach.
Rev. Odderstol has a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from American University in Washington, D.C. and a master’s degree in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary.