Supporter Stories: Janie Stirling
Together with volunteers and members of The Washington Committee of the National Cathedral Association, Janie is proud to support the Cathedral for the Future campaign through the gift of a new, custom-designed welcome desk for the Virginia Mae Center.
In 30 years as a Cathedral volunteer, Janie Stirling has done it all—and through more than 75 years as a friend of the Cathedral, Janie’s love for this place runs deep.
Janie attended two years of high school on the Cathedral Close, before the Cathedral itself was completed. “We attended Friday chapel in Bethlehem Chapel,” she remembers. “Those services really made a lasting impression on my own spiritual growth.”
After college and marriage to a St. Albans alum, Janie began teaching at the Cathedral school in 1967. To teach her seventh-grade religion class, she had to learn all about the Cathedral’s art, architecture and iconography. “I really came to love the building,” she says.
So, when Janie retired in 1992, “I just moved across the Close and started volunteering.” As a member of the Washington Committee, she was involved with volunteer work from hospitality to fundraising. In 1996, then-Dean Nathan Baxter asked her to help launch the Cathedral Scholars program, which helps teens from underrepresented communities become college-ready.
“Many of the students were the first in their family to try to go to college,” Janie explains. “I feel like we really opened their eyes to what was possible. They come back after college and help with the program because it was so important to them. I believe in expanding the horizons of young people, and Cathedral Scholars does that within the environment of spirituality, the ideas of hope and caring for others that they learn from the Cathedral.”
Caring for the Cathedral’s needlepoint is another of Janie’s projects. Janie has been working with a group of volunteers on restoration and cleaning of our needlepoint kneeler cushions, preserving these important parts of the Cathedral’s heritage. Janie has been an NCA member since 1975.
“I’m a member of the Cathedral Founders Society, so there is something in my will for the Cathedral,” she says. “And as an NCA member, I support the Cathedral annually. The Cathedral is primarily a house of prayer for all people, but I love the outreach reflected in things like the Cathedral Scholars program. It’s also support for social equity, racial justice, gun control and the many groups that are a part of the Cathedral. It’s not just a closed building where church services take place. It’s a place to reach out, because the world needs hope.”
“You support what you value and love,” she said. “I love the Cathedral, so I support it.”