Welcome to the December 2019 Parishioners of the Month
Written by Betsy Taylor Calender
It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Richard & Jennifer Rutherford
After moving to Laytonsville from Bethesda, they began attending St. Bart’s about 5 years ago, and, according to Richard, they LOVE it!
Their story is anything but boring. Richard was raised in England and emigrated as a young adult to Canada where he met his wife, Jennifer in 1978. A year later they wed, had 3 children, Geoffrey, Adrian and Veronica (all born in Canada), and they moved to the US in 1989 when Richard joined the IFC (a part of the World Bank). In his spare time this year, Richard wrote a children’s book called “Tadcaster and the Bullies”, based on adventures of their Yorkshire Terrier, who sadly is no longer with us.
Jennifer is Canadian, and lived in Canada until she and Richard moved here in 1989. She has a Master of Music in voice opera from the University of Alberta, and has worked as a voice teacher and self-employed freelance coloratura soprano for various small touring opera companies. She was the soprano soloist and section leader at various churches in Canada and the US, and most recently sang mezzo for the National United Methodist Church near AU in downtown DC for 6 years – from 2011-2017, when she retired. In 2000 she took up art and now paints oils & portraits professionally. Earlier this year she even illustrated Richard’s children’s book mentioned above, “Tadcaster and the Bullies”! I always say, keep it in the family if you can!
Speaking of dogs, Richard & Jennifer have 3 dogs of their own, Cody and Lacy (Silken Windhounds) and Scherzo (an Italian Greyhound). They also have 2 “grand dogs” staying with them temporarily – Vanya (Husky) and Dexter (toy Manchester Terrier).
They have now been married 40 years, with 2 of their children (Geoffrey and Adrian) living here. Veronica married earlier this year and lives in Dubai with her husband.
Richard’s view of why he loves St. Bartholomews is so relevant in today’s society. And I quote from Richard: “I love that St. Bart’s is a traditional Anglican/Episcopal church, with a tolerant and welcoming community. My parents were Anglicans (Church of Ireland) who had grown up in mainly Catholic southern Ireland, so I inherited their awareness of the damage caused by religious intolerance.”
Being a Master of Music, it is not surprising that Jennifer’s answer (to the same question of why she loves St. Bartholomew’s) pertains to our music environment. And I quote from Jennifer: “I also enjoy the music at Saint Bart’s, which is of a fine quality, especially for such a small group.” She also continues the theme that I see from almost everyone who is interviewed for this Parishioner of the Month article, when she says: “The people are very friendly, and St. Bart’s being open and welcoming to all as a beacon of diversity is what is so needed in America today, when there is so much division.”
They love that our church is Christ-centered and they admire the personal touch that Rev Linda Calkins provides to each service.
Both Richard & Jennifer’s first music preference would be opera, but both have migrated to other music genres as well, including classical, country & western, and when Jennifer needs a burst of nostalgia, she turns on the 60’s and 70’s!
Richard: “A galloping horse will never see that” – a poetic Irishism my Mother used, advising not to be preoccupied by unimportant details. (Readers, let that sink in for a moment — that’s a great quote!)
Jennifer: “Not to worry, dear” — if only I listened to it! It was a saying my voice teacher’s wife and accompanist used to encourage us with when we were fretful student singers.
The Rutherfords disagree about where their next vacation will be. However, suffice to say that they are such world travelers that they have been almost everywhere they wanted to go. But they are planning to visit Dubai in February to visit their daughter and her new husband.
I am always fascinated by the answers to my question of “when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up”? Richard wanted to be a medical missionary, but turned to development finance instead. Jennifer wanted to be a nurse (can you now see why these 2 were made for each other?) Both of her parents were in medicine. But she turned to music and voice study after realizing that it was a gift from God and that it was just another way of helping people – by giving them something beautiful to listen to.
Another fun question I love asking people is “if you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?”
Jennifer’s answer reminds me of the total theme of the new Tom Hanks/Matthew Rhys movie called “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood”. This movie is partially about the life of the children’s TV personality from Pittsburgh, Mr. Fred Rogers. He promoted individuality and positiveness towards children in his shows, and yet also stressed reality. Jennifer’s answer was “Don’t be nervous, just go for it. Don’t shy away from expressing your personality and originality.” It worked for her when dealing with her original singing voice. And this is her advice for children — “Kids need creative and multiple non-judgmental approaches before their eyes and ears open and the light turns on.”