Pastor & Staff

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Rev. dr. jan nolting Carter

Transitional Pastor and Head of Staff

Jan Nolting Carter joined us as a fellow Pilgrim in August 2017 in after serving five congregations in the Carlisle Presbytery in transitional capacities. Prior to serving in Pennsylvania, she served a congregation in Kansas as an associate pastor. Jan holds degrees from Duke University (AB), University of Pennsylvania (MSEd), McCormick Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Columbia Theological Seminary (DMin). Ordained for twenty-one years, Jan loves the intersection between worship, developing community and developing grass roots change in systems. Jan shares training in mediation, Healthy Congregations, and leadership coaching. She serves on the faculty of the Transitional Ministry Education Consortium (TMEC) and teaches The Art of Transitional Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. 

Jan moved to Washington DC with her son, Seth (17); daughter, Sarah (11); and her dad, Lee; and the family's dog, Jackson, and cat, Grayson. For fun, Jan enjoys biking, gardening, cooking, photography and exploring. 

Contact Jan at

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Rachel Pacheco

Director of the Pilgrimage

Rachel has lived in DC and Northern Virginia since 2010 and has been part of the staff at Church of the Pilgrims since 2012.  Rachel grew up in a Presbyterian congregation where she experienced church as family and was encouraged to use the time, gifts, and resources at our fingertips to strengthen our communities, both near and far. She graduated from Duquesne University, a Roman Catholic institution, where she was first introduced to the heritage of Catholic social teaching and to the injustice in our food system through an alternative spring break experience in Immokalee, Florida.  After college, Rachel spent two years as a Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) in Tucson, Arizona where she lived simply and in community with other YAVs. She worked at the Community Food Bank and with the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at the University of Arizona. Most recently, Rachel is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, a United Methodist school, where she gravitated to studying public theology and participating in local ecumenical and interfaith efforts.

It is because of these and other experiences that Rachel is committed to the work of the Pilgrimage. She loves challenging volunteers of all ages to see the world in new ways, hoping that they will use this new vision to work with others toward equality, justice, and healing in their home communities.

Contact Rachel at

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dan shore

Interim Director of Music

Dan Shore, a native of Allentown, PA, is an opera composer and playwright whose many works for the stage include The Beautiful Bridegroom, An Embarrassing Position, Travel, and the forthcoming opera Freedom Ride, which celebrates the Civil Rights Movement. A two-time winner of the National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera Competition, an alumnus of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and a Fulbright scholar, Dan holds a B.M. and M.M. from the New England Conservatory and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York. He divides his time between DC and Boston, where he is an Assistant Professor at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and serves as an accompanist for the Boston Ballet School.

Contact Dan at




A native of Arkansas, Mary Ellen graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in music and from The Catholic University in DC with a master’s degree in vocal performance. She has done administrative work at Norwood Stone Corporation, Georgetown Presbyterian Church and at National Presbyterian Church where she has also been the alto section leader and soloist for many years. She lives in Silver Spring, MD and, when not working or singing, enjoys visiting with friends and with her four grown children and grandson who still live in the metro area.

Contact Mary Ellen at

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Hannah Kurtz

Pilgrimage Program Coordinator

Hannah Kurtz, our new part-time Pilgrimage Program Coordinator, is a graduate student at American University, working on her Masters degree in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs and expects to graduate in May. Prior to her graduate work, Hannah served the Mennonite Central Committee in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Irbid, Jordan. She also worked at Broad Street Ministry, a sister Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia with a service learning program much like the Pilgrimage.

Contact Hannah at

Jose Ramos 

Building Custodian

As Pilgrims’ building custodian, Jose has oversight of maintenance and upkeep of our historical building and grounds. 

When Jose isn't busy fixing something in the building, he enjoys photography, exploring DC, and spending time with friends and family, including his faithful, furry Shih Tzu companion, Missy.

Contact Jose at


Jess Fisher

Temporary Administrative Assistant

Jess is a liturgical artist and candidate for ministry. She came to DC to attend Wesley Theological Seminary and did her internship here at Pilgrims. Jess is back helping with admin and financial tasks in the office. If you have a question about giving or pledging, she’s the person to ask.

Jess is in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Contact Jess at