[Historic Christ Church] On Nov. 19, Historic Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria celebrated the new ministry of its 28th rector, the Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, at a special installation service. She is the first female rector in the church’s 243-year history.
The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnson, bishop of the Diocese of Virginia, was the celebrant. The service also featured the Rev. Kimberly Jackson associate rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia, as guest preacher, where she spoke of the new and wonderful challenges that York-Simmons and the Christ Church community will greet together: “It is time…to sing a new song.”
In recommending York-Simmons to the vestry, the Rector Search Committee called her an outstanding preacher, spiritual leader, parish leader and caring shepherd. “Her sermons are Bible-based and filled with reflections for today … Her tone is warm and joyful… and her energy and enthusiasm are infectious.”
The York-Simmons was senior associate rector of All Saints’ in Atlanta for seven years and served there as associate rector there five years prior to that. She also served as dean of the MidAtlanta Convocation, a regional convocation of churches and communities in the Diocese of Atlanta. She is a graduate of Emory University and the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She expects to receive a Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory’s Candler School of Theology next year, focusing on homiletics (preaching).
“I am honored and excited to celebrate together. Christ Church has a history of strong, committed service to our community and to our world and I look forward to leading the parish in the newest chapter of that service,” said York-Simmons.
Christ Church is a historic church with an active congregation of more than 1,800. Located at 118 N. Washington St. in Alexandria, Christ Church provides ministry to the needy in Alexandria and to the world through ministries in Uganda, Honduras, South Sudan and the Holy Land.