Staff

The Washington Street staff works hard to offer support for the full ministry of WSUMC. Should you have questions about any of the ministry opportunities at WSUMC, please contact the church office or any of the WSUMC staff persons by email.

Church Office Hours: 9:15 am – 1:45 pm, Monday – Thursday
Phone: 703-836-4324
Email: [email protected]

Rev. Thomas G. James

Lead Pastor

Pastor Thomas G. James grew up in the northeast suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. He moved to Virginia for college, attending Ferrum College in Southwest Virginia. He then went on to Wesley Theological Seminary, in Washington, DC. In 2010 he was married to Jen James of Doylestown, PA. The two live in Alexandria with their toddler twin boys, Asher and Nathan.

Thomas was ordained an elder in the Virginia Conference in 2014. He has served in multiple ministry settings in the Virginia Conference, including youth ministry, worship leadership, campus ministry, and with the Conference Ethics Training on Technology and Social Media. Thomas served for four years on staff at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership prior to serving as Minister of Mission at Centreville UMC in Centreville, VA.

Thomas loves playing golf, football and softball, all things Florida State, and all things technology. As an Atlanta native, he’s also a Braves fan (sorry Nats fans). He is passionate about the local church, engaging in the community, and finds his greatest passion as a Pastor is seeing individuals and the faith community at large find their place participating in God’s transforming work in the world.

Barbara Harslem

Financial Administrator

Barbara Harslem and her husband George Tuttle have lived in Alexandria since 1971 and have raised their four children in the Del Ray neighborhood. They are members of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. They are active volunteers in their church community in addition to volunteering in a variety of community endeavors. Barbara has a BA from Smith College and a Masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to working for the federal government, she has worked in higher education and run a small community business. Barbara works for two other Methodist churches in addition to WSUMC.

Ann Cary McLain

Office Manager

Alexandria has been home to Ann Cary’s family for four generations. She graduated summa cum laude from Marymount University with a BA in Design. Previous employment includes ten years at EEI Communications — in human resources and as manager of the company’s staffing service.

Kyle Miller

Director of Music

Kyle Miller has been a musician ever since Grandma Miller had him dancing to The Lawrence Welk show as a toddler. He took an interest in organ and church music in 8th grade and has never stopped playing or singing since!

A graduate of Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, he double majored in music and accounting. His adult self would like to thank his 18 year old self for that moment of clarity and wisdom. After Heidelberg, Kyle received a scholarship to study a Master of Sacred Music degree at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX.

Kyle has worked in churches large and small from the time he was just 13 years old. He looks forward to retiring from church work by the age of 43 (or maybe 48).

As a choral singer, Kyle toured the US and Europe with his college concert choir, performed at numerous churches in the Dallas area, and most recently sang with the North Carolina Master Chorale, where he even appeared on live TV!

When he’s not singing, directing, organist-ing or piano-ing, you can find Kyle working in finance at his full time job at the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB).

Kyle enjoys eating foods that are definitely better for his soul than for his health, riding roller coasters, visiting his family on the farm in Ohio and spoiling his niece, and enjoying the outdoors when the weather is nice.

Jasmine Milone

Preschool Director

Jasmine first joined the Washington Street Preschool in 2002 as the parent of a child enrolled in the preschool program. The child centered and nurturing preschool environment, that enables children to learn and develop at their own pace, was especially important when selecting a preschool for her children. She joined the Washington Street staff in 2006 when she became the pre-kindergarten class teacher. In January of 2008, she became the director of the preschool.

Jasmine moved to Alexandria in 1979 and calls Old Town home. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her passion for teaching young children was always in tandem with her love for the arts. In addition to experiences in early childhood education, Jasmine also enjoyed teaching English as a Second Language. She is currently a catechist at Holy Trinity Church where she and her family worship.

Jasmine is extremely proud of the preschool ministry of Washington Street United Methodist Church Preschool and works diligently with the dedicated and talented preschool staff everyday to achieve the preschool’s mission. She believes that every child is entitled to quality early childhood education. Working with children is indeed a vocation.

Melissa Peterson

Pastoral Care Assistant, Music Accompanist

Melissa, Tom, and Claire Peterson are delighted to be a part of Washington Street United Methodist Church! They appreciate the warm welcome they have received and look forward to life shared in this place!

The Petersons live in the City of Fairfax with nine pets!

Melissa was an ordained Lutheran pastor for seventeen years, serving congregations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. In Maryland, her focus was Youth and Children’s ministry. She is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, with a double major in psychology and organ performance, and a Master of Divinity at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg.

Melissa’s other work experience includes church organist, activity therapy in retirement and nursing homes, and work during seminary years as Chaplain of Lutheran Social Services Home Care and Hospice. She enjoys time with family and friends, music, and her garden. She enjoys trying healthy new recipes and is presently working on learning how to stir fry!

Her husband Tom spends his days tackling the issues of climate change and clean energy at the Center for Climate Strategies in Washington, D.C.  At night he teaches graduate students science and policy at Johns Hopkins University. He enjoys biking and outdoor activities.

Their twelve-year-old daughter Claire enjoys swim team, volleyball team, frisbee (with Dad). She also enjoys playing the violin and participating in musical groups at school, recently including All-County Chorus. She has been enjoying the opportunity to sing solos at WSUMC. Claire also enjoys art and archery.

The Petersons look forward to getting to know you!

Renon Guttsu

Facilities Manager

Ren, a life-long Alexandria resident, joined as a member of Washington Street UMC in early 2017 and joined the staff team as the Facilities Manager in the summer of 2017.