Our Staff

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Rev. Joshua D. Rusert, Senior Pastor


Available Tuesday-Friday, 9:00am - 4:30pm

Pastor Josh was installed as the Senior Pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church on August 19, 2018. He is married to Samantha ("Sammy"), who works for Homeland Security in Washington, DC. They welcomed their son, Jaden, in December 2018. 

Prior to his call to Pilgrim, Pastor Josh's first call out of seminary was to Trinity Lutheran Church in Mequon, WI, as an Associate Pastor. He attended Concordia Seminary, St. Louis from 2010-2014, especially enjoying studying systematic and practical theology during his time there.

Pilgrim is blessed that God has called Pastor Josh to lead our congregation. Both Pastor Josh and Sammy feel humbled, blessed, and excited for their future here in the DC-Metro area, and for the future of Pilgrim Lutheran Church!

Jamila Tekalli - Music Director

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Pilgrim is blessed to have Dr. Jamila Tekalli serve as our Director of Music. Jamila is a professionally-trained pianist who has performed as a soloist and collaborative musician in concerts, festivals, and competitions throughout the United States, Canada, and Central and South America. Her awards and distinctions include Finalist of the Stravinsky International Piano Competition, Third Prize and Finalist of the Baldwin National Piano Competition, winner of the Steinway Indiana Collegiate Piano Competition, and winner of the Indiana University and University of Miami Concerto Competitions. 

As a solo and collaborative pianist, Jamila has performed with members of the National Symphony, New World Symphony and Orlando Philharmonic. She has performed in festivals including the Banff Centre, Bowdoin International Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute at Mannes, and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute. Performances in chamber recitals have taken her throughout Ecuador, in the cities of Quito, Cuenca and Loja.

As an educator, Jamila has served as piano faculty at Barry University in Miami and Camp Encore Coda in Maine, teaching piano, chamber music, music theory, music history, working with musical theater and choral programs, and leading workshops and masterclasses in solo and collaborative playing. Jamila served as director and teacher of piano workshops and masterclasses, and as a judge of the 2007 Concurso Internacional de Música Clásica "Jóvenes Talentos" held at the school Fronteras Musicales Abiertas in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Jamila is a graduate of the University of Miami, where she received a doctorate in Piano Performance, studying with Tian Ying, and holds degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and the University of Central Florida, with studies with Evelyne Brancart, Arnaldo Cohen and Laurent Boukobza. As a participant in various music festivals and masterclasses, she has studied with artists Robert McDonald, Julian Martin, Boris Slutsky, Marc Durand, Dawn Upshaw, and members of the Brentano and Tokyo String Quartets. She  is a member of the Music Teacher’s National Association, National Guild of Piano Teachers, and Chamber Music of America.

In addition to playing for our services, Jamila directs the youth and adult choirs. Please email office@pilgrimbethesda.org for further information on our music programs, or join us on Sundays to hear Jamila's beautiful music! 




Darrel Regier—President

Lance Graef—Vice President

Michael Boerger—Secretary

Robert Pearsall—Treasurer

Kyle Drefke - Ex-Officio Member

Alicia Hatcher - Ex-Officio Member