rEV. DR. CHARLIE PARKER
Charlie is the Senior Pastor at National United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. In addition to preaching, he oversees all of the administrative and programmatic work of the church, which comprises three campuses: the Metropolitan Memorial Campus, the Wesley Campus, and the St. Luke's Mission Center. During his decade-long tenure, he has focused on expanding the church’s rich history of addressing the many dimensions of homelessness and hunger. Charlie is a prominent and vocal advocate for the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church.
Bringing a wide range of experience and commitment to issues of social justice, Charlie has long been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised residents of Washington, D.C. For sixteen years, he served as the Executive Director of two non-profit ministries in downtown Washington, D.C.: Bread for the City and Emmaus Services for the Aging. As Executive Director of both of these agencies, he oversaw programs that directly touched the lives of thousands of low-income individuals, families and senior citizens. At the same time, Charlie has been an eloquent public witness for justice, persistently putting forth—in the media and at Congressional and City Council hearings—a vision for ending homelessness and hunger in the District. In addition to this non-profit work, before coming to Metropolitan, Charlie served as Executive Director of the United Methodist Stewardship Center and Foundation and as Assistant to the Bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church and received both his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary, the latter of which focused on early Anglican spirituality.
Charlie brings a deep commitment to the Methodist belief that the work of social justice and spiritual growth go hand in hand. Disconnected from one another, both spirituality and social transformation wither. Through his preaching and church leadership, he encourages the congregation to both engage in the life of the Spirit at the same time that they work to change the city and world around them. Charlie has served as the Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry for the annual conference and on the Board of Governors for Wesley Theological Seminary. He was recently selected by the Council of Bishops to serve on the 2017-2020 Ministry Study Commission.
Charlie’s own spiritual journey has been shaped by a love of the Christian contemplative tradition, as well as his study of the martial art of Aikido and a zen flute called the shakuhachi. A third generation Washingtonian, Charlie loves living in D.C.