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Staff: Amanda Poppei

Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader 

WES appointed Amanda Poppei as our Senior Leader in August 2008 after an extensive nationwide search.  Amanda brings a passion for social justice and a commitment to building a multigenerational community to her work at WES.  She was drawn especially to WES' sense of warmth and caring, and to the Ethical Culture emphasis on living and acting with integrity.  Amanda sees a religious community as a place where we travel through life together, helping each other to be the people we wish to be.

Amanda has a Masters of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and a BA in Religious Studies from Yale University.  She was the ministerial intern at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD, and served as a chaplain at the Washington Hospital Center, where she completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.  In 2007, Amanda won the National Capital Area Big Sister award from Hermanos y Hermanas Mayores/Big Brothers Big Sisters for her work with a little sister, with whom she has been "matched" for more than seven years.  She also received the 2006 Anti-Racism Sermon Award from the Joseph Priestly District of the Unitarian Universalist Association for a piece entitled "The Tip of the Iceberg."  Amanda is a Unitarian Universalist minister, and has a strong background in interfaith work from her chaplaincy and seminary experiences.  Before attending seminary, she worked as a fundraiser for a national literacy nonprofit.

Since she was a young teenager, Amanda has imagined a life in religious leadership; she finds great joy in the work of building connections, seeking justice, and transforming lives.  Amanda enjoys all the moments of a community's life together (even committee meetings!), but thinks that Sunday morning is the most important time of the week.  She notes that there are few places in our society where we join with people of all ages and life experiences to share an hour together.  For Amanda, Sunday mornings offer an opportunity to reflect, to connect with others, and to reach our hearts--and our arms--a little wider. 

Amanda lives in Silver Spring with her husband, Peter Verchinski, and their daughters, Marcella and Joanna.  Peter is an attorney at the Government Accountability Office and a very proud father.

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