National Cathedral announces new canon pastor, director of programs

The Rev. Kim Baker and Ruth Frey to join cathedral senior staff in July

Posted May 15, 2013

[Washington National Cathedral] Two experienced Episcopal Church leaders will join the staff of Washington National Cathedral in July, the Very Rev. Gary Hall, Cathedral dean, announced today. The Rev. Kim Turner Baker, currently chaplain at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, will be canon pastor; Ruth Frey, currently director of continuing education at Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Chicago, will be director of programs.

“Both Kim and Ruth have extensive experience in galvanizing church institutions to focus on the work that God is calling them to do,” said Hall. “I will count upon their leadership, their collaborative spirits, and their creativity as we at Washington National Cathedral continue working to play a meaningful role in our national life, engage with interfaith partners, and assess how we can help to meet some of the real needs of the city of Washington.”

Working with Dean Hall as canon pastor, Baker’s duties will include the Cathedral’s outreach and Christian formation ministries. She will also build relationships with the schools on the Cathedral Close: Beauvoir, the National Cathedral School for Girls and St. Albans School. The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, who as Cathedral vicar leads the Cathedral’s worshiping community on Dean Hall’s behalf and represents the Dean in his absence, will also continue working with the Rev. Gina Campbell, director of worship, and Canon Michael McCarthy, director of music, on the Cathedral’s liturgical life.

“I am looking forward to helping the Cathedral deepen relationships within the Close, the District of Columbia and the surrounding area,” said Baker, who is also eager to reinvigorate the Cathedral’s ministry within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. “I am honored to be chosen as part of Dean Hall’s team, and I look forward to contributing my skills and experience to furthering the Cathedral’s mission particularly in the city of Washington.”

Baker chairs the standing committee of the diocese, a position she held during the search that culminated with the election of the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde as bishop of Washington in 2010. She holds a bachelor degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctor from Case Western Reserve University, and a master of divinity from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest.

A veteran of Trinity Church Wall Street’s Clergy Leadership Project and a member of the Union of Black Episcopalians, Baker has led congregations in diverse communities across the church and has particular experience with historically African American and bilingual, English/Spanish congregations.

As director of programs, Frey will direct the development and implementation of the Cathedral’s public education and arts programs working with Dean Hall and other senior staff. She will focus particularly on programs that facilitate theological reflection or that explore issues at the intersection of faith and current affairs.

“Accepting this position marks my return to Washington National Cathedral after nearly twenty years away,” said Frey, who served as director of programs for the Cathedral’s College for Preachers from 1993 to 1996; she had also served as a program intern while in seminary. “I am thrilled to be coming back. I look forward to working with Dean Hall and the Cathedral staff, with partners in Washington, and with colleagues around the Church and across the world to continue innovative programs that will bring the mission of the Cathedral to life.”

Frey holds a bachelor’s degree from Hobart & William Smith College and a master of divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. She has held a variety of positions in adult learning and higher education in Chicago and was the founding coordinator of the Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy, and lay people working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. A longtime Education for Ministry program mentor, Frey has published widely in the fields of adult learning and currently serves as a faculty member for CREDO, a wellness program for Episcopal clergy and bishops.

The Rev. Lyndon C. Shakespeare, who as director of program and ministry has overseen the Cathedral’s programmatic life and educational initiatives, will conclude his tenure in June as he works to complete his Ph.D. in theology, and further his vocational interests of working where the theological tradition of the Church meets the public sphere of politics, economics, and philosophy. In his time at the Cathedral, Shakespeare developed and coordinated the Cathedral’s Creation Care program year, as well as planned and participated in interfaith and public dialogue offerings. “We are grateful to Lyndon for the rich intellectual gifts he has brought to his work at the Cathedral and his rigorous theological perspectives on our ministry,” said Hall. “Our prayers and best wishes go with him as he explores new avenues for academic ministry.”