This month’s Vestry Corner focus is on the Preschool Ministry. This is a vital and vibrant part of Holy Comforter’s fabric and is highly regarded within the Vienna community. Over the years many parishioners' children have attended the school and next year we will have our first, second-generation student. Several of the staff attend the church and many school families have made Holy Comforter their church home. The annual auction event is open to all in the parish and the school enjoys the support from the clergy at school-wide events.
Holy Comforter Episcopal Preschool (HCEP) began in 1995 after quite a journey. Parishioners such as Ed Holyes, Karen and Charles Graybeal, Lacey Scully, Bill Guthrie, and Jackie Thomson were all part of that foundation. They approached then rector, Rev. Rick Lord, and a preschool for parishioners and community began, under the direction of Barbara Chaudet. The Vestry initially pledged to support them financially but HCEP has been proud to be financially independent since that first year.
In 1996 a Pre-K teacher, Sue Gosline, opened The Washington Post to see an advertisement for a preschool director. She became that director and guided the preschool for 22 years. Sue and her husband Scott, worked every Saturday in the early years to create a space for children to flourish and grow in the love of Christ. The school opened with 20 children in 3 classes, growing to an enrollment of 145 children. As the stellar reputation of HCEP continued to grow throughout our Vienna community, the need to add a kindergarten class became apparent and in 2010 Holy Comforter Episcopal Preschool transformed into Holy Comforter Episcopal Preschool and Kindergarten (HCEP&K).
Linda Meyers, the current director states that “The hidden secret of HCEP&K is that it is not just for the children but also for those who work here. The sanctity of childhood is sacred and guarded fiercely by our teachers. This is our sanctuary and we find strength and family within these walls. The support we give one another is immeasurable as we celebrate each achievement and blessing and support one another in times of difficulty.”
The school has navigated the pandemic through determination and vigilance. When other schools closed their doors, HCEP&K persisted despite restrictions and closings.
Linda says, “When the pandemic hit, we were all terrified. Yet, the call to open our doors and be there for the children and one another was stronger than our fear. We proudly worked through the myriad of regulations, dealt with conflicting advice, and this year have provided education to 102 children with 26 teachers and staff. As Holy Comforter celebrates its 125th Anniversary, we are thankful to be a part of this beautiful legacy. The preschool values its role as a ministry of Holy Comforter and supports the church spiritually and financially. Over the next two years the school will contribute a significant gift to the Capital Campaign and will also fund a new rubberized surface to the playground this summer for all to enjoy.”
Linda went on to state, “Children receive one childhood, and our calling is to serve. That is the power HCEP&K. “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.” –Mark 9:36
On behalf of the Vestry, we want to thank Linda for her leadership and for the preschool’s generous capital campaign gift. If you have any questions about this vital ministry and how you can help, feel free to reach out to: