Our Pastor

Rev. Mark Schaefer

Rev. Mark Schaefer

 
Rev. Mark Schaefer is an ordained minister of The United Methodist Church, and is an elder and full member of the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.  He received his Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary (summa cum laude) in Washington, D.C.
 
Since December 2019, Rev. Schaefer has served as the senior pastor at Cheltenham United Methodist Church in Cheltenham, Maryland. Rev. Schaefer came to Cheltenham after serving three years as University Chaplain at American University, where he was responsible for overseeing religious life and directing AU’s interfaith religious center, the Kay Spiritual Life Center. Prior to his appointment there, Rev. Schaefer served as Interim University Chaplain, and between 2002 and 2016, he served as the full-time appointed United Methodist campus minister at American University.
 
Rev. Schaefer has also served as an adjunct professor of religion at American University, teaching courses in New Testament, Christianity, Religion and Social Justice, and the Religious Heritage of the West. He has also been a summer course instructor in New Testament and New Testament Greek at Wesley Theological Seminary, and offers tutoring in Russian, New Testament Greek, and Biblical Hebrew to students at American University.
 
Rev. Schaefer is also a published author. His book The Certainty of Uncertainty: The Way of Inescapable Doubt and Its Virtue was published by Wipf & Stock in 2018 and is a reflection on the inescapable nature of uncertainty and doubt and why that can lead to a stronger, more meaningful faith.
 
In addition to his ecclesiastical career, Rev. Schaefer is a Washington attorney in private practice. He received his J.D. from George Washington University in 1994. He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, the State of New York, and of the United States District Courts in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
 
Rev. Schaefer was most recently an attorney with the Law Offices of Lawrence H. Mirel, a District of Columbia law firm specializing in D.C. legislative law.  Rev. Schaefer has been a volunteer lawyer for a number of public interest causes. After graduation from law school, he was a volunteer lawyer with the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union and volunteered from time to time with the National Capital Area Chapter.
 
Rev. Schaefer was also involved with the Campaign for Migrant Domestic Workers’ Rights, a project coalition of individuals and organizations organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, which advocates for and seeks to protect the interests of migrant domestic workers, especially foreign workers serving as domestics for employees of international organizations. He also represented the League of Women Voters, among others, in an amicus brief filed in a lawsuit pertaining to the right to vote and the integrity of the electoral process.
 
Rev. Schaefer has also been active in the movement for full voting rights for the citizens of the District of Columbia. During his time as a parishioner at Foundry United Methodist Church, he founded the Democracy Project, a mission group of that church advocating for full voting representation in the U.S. Congress for the District of Columbia as a moral issue.  The Democracy Project was successful in winning support from the General Conference of The United Methodist Church for D.C. voting rights.  In his role as chair of the Democracy Project, Rev. Schaefer was involved with the Washington Interfaith Network, and he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of DCVote.
 
Rev. Schaefer is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany (B.A. ’90, M.A. ’91, Russian Languages and Literature), and of the George Washington University Law School (J.D. ’94).  Originally from Upstate New York, Rev. Schaefer has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for 28 years.