National Cathedral announces Randolph Marshall Hollerith as new dean

Posted May 23, 2016

[Washington National Cathedral] The Rev. Randolph “Randy” Marshall Hollerith, a priest with 25 years of experience of accomplished and creative leadership, has been named the 11th dean of Washington National Cathedral.

For the past 16 years, Hollerith has served as rector of St. James’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia, where he has doubled the parish budget, facilitated the growth of the largest mission program in the Diocese of Virginia, and dramatically expanded both the size and participation in St. James’s outreach ministries.

Hollerith will now lead the cathedral in its mission to be a spiritual home for the nation and a house of prayer for all people.

“Randy has the spiritual depth, heart for ministry, and skills required to lead Washington National Cathedral into the future,” said Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and interim dean of the Cathedral. “He is a strong collaborator and team builder, with a passion for the Gospel of Jesus. I look forward to working with him.”  

Hollerith, who grew up in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, often visited the cathedral as a boy during its construction and his family has longstanding ties to the institution. His great grandmother was present in 1907 when the foundation stone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt, and also in 1932 for the first worship service in the fully completed Great Choir.

“The cathedral is not only a place of immense beauty and grandeur, but it plays an important role in proclaiming the reconciling love of Christ within this city and around our country,” Hollerith said.

“This cathedral is a holy place that calls our city, our country and all people of faith to work for justice, peace and compassion. I am honored to be called to serve as the dean of the Cathedral, and thrilled to be part of this beloved national institution.”

Prior to his service at St. James’s, Hollerith served as rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Savannah, Geogia, and as assistant rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond.

“Randy brings with him a depth of experience and intention of uniting the Episcopal community and welcoming people of all faiths and beliefs,” said David J. Kautter, chair of the Cathedral Chapter. “He will be a strong steward for a national institution entrusted to our care.”

Hollerith graduated from St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, Virginia, Denison University and received his Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School. His wife, Melissa, is also an Episcopal priest and is a chaplain at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond. Together, the Holleriths bring a commitment to Episcopal schools that will increase collaboration between the cathedral and the three schools on the cathedral Close.

Hollerith will oversee an institution that functions as a national church dedicated to serving the country and its many faith traditions; a national treasure, dedicated to serving visitors and pilgrims; the cathedral of the Diocese of Washington, dedicated to serving the diocese, the three schools on the Cathedral Close, and its worshiping community; and a convener, dedicated to create programming to bring people together in conversation and partnership.

Hollerith will be formally installed as dean later this year after he arrives in Washington this summer.  



Comments (9)

  1. John Merchant says:

    Blessings on Mr. Hollerith and his new ministry. I’m especially moved to see that he and his wife are committed to the ministry of Episcopal schools. I can’t imagine a more difficult time to assume the deanship of this great cathedral, but with God’s help and the support of the entire Episcopal Church, the mission and ministry of the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul will flourish and renew its identity as a “house of prayer for all people.”

  2. Peggy Goldsmith says:

    Is he related to Herman?

    1. Grace Cangialosi says:

      Herman is his brother and Bishop of the Diocese of Southern VA

  3. Roger Bowen says:

    Well said, John Merchant. I agree that the good Spirit was at work here. I hope Melissa continues with her school ministry at the schools there on the close.

  4. Martha Knight says:

    With sadness we at St. James bid farewell but with joyful hearts welcome Randy to the cathedral.

  5. Amanda Harris says:

    We recently learned that the Washington National Cathedral agreed to have its choristers, including girls from our alma mater, National Cathedral School (NCS), perform at this week’s presidential inauguration. As NCS alumnae, we understand and respect the decision to participate in the traditional inaugural prayer service at the Cathedral. We object, however, in the strongest possible terms, to the Cathedral’s decision to accept a commitment to have its students actively take part in a performance at the inauguration itself.
    By participating in this event, the Cathedral and NCS legitimize the President-Elect’s intolerance and divisiveness, turning its back on a long-standing, admirable commitment to gender, racial and socio-economic equity, gay-lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, disability rights and religious tolerance. The school’s current mission statement, as posted on its website, reads: “We believe in the power of young women and educate them to embrace our core values of excellence, service, courage and conscience.” With courage and conscience, we feel duty-bound to speak up when we see the school and the Cathedral making decisions that fail to live up to the high moral standards of the school’s original mission.

    It is worth noting that we do not think that it is sufficient simply to provide an opportunity for the girls to opt out of performing. Because these girls and their families may depend on their choral stipends for their NCS tuition, as well as the good will and ongoing support of both NCS and the Cathedral, we do not think this is a meaningful option. Continued involvement of the choir in the event is therefore coercive and unfair. It is disappointing that the Head of School’s objections were overruled. Last but not least, it is perhaps our greatest concern that the girls will be forced to participate in the celebration of a man who has supported assault and objectification of women. What message does this send to the NCS students, alums and broader community about how the Cathedral views the school, constituents and women?

    In observing the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday this past weekend, we reflected on his final sermon delivered at the Cathedral in 1968. He said,

    “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”

    Conscience asks: is it right for NCS girls to perform at the inauguration? The answer is no. Conscience demands that NCS and the Cathedral must follow its self-stated values and advocate for these young women, and all young women, by withdrawing the choir from participation in the inauguration. This is not our NCS. We stand with the students. We are watching and waiting to see the courage and conscience of NCS, and of the Cathedral, in action.

    1. Kilty Maoris says:

      “Last but not least, it is perhaps our greatest concern that the girls will be forced to participate in the celebration of a man who has supported assault and objectification of women. What message does this send to the NCS students, alums and broader community about how the Cathedral views the school, constituents and women?”
      YOUR WORDS: Did you feel the same about former President Clinton? His immoral lifestyle was well known to all prior to his election. Yet, you supported it. You present evidence of hypocrisy. Perhaps your “girls” need to learn gracious acceptance and that forgiveness is in order. That would be the better lesson.

  6. Kilty Maoris says:

    The action of the Dean has shown the inclusive nature of TEC and of ALL people, not just radical liberals. This church belongs to ALL. The service for President Trump was lovely and appropriate as have all the services held for prior presidents.
    You may have missed something in your study of history and that is, all churches are considered places of sanctuary and safety and have been so prior to the middle ages. They have always been places of refuge. Applied properly it is right and true. Your closed mind is not welcoming to anyone much less those of us who support the Cathedral and its staff. Just what is it you don’t like about President Trump? Perhaps you need to run the history of our last four presidents. None has been perfect, but that is the way it is with we who are somewhat human. Get over it and get on with your life.

  7. Janet Tirado says:

    I can not believe these posters who are supposedly Christian’s here. God Bless President Trump!

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