To the list of “re-imagining projects” in the Episcopal Church, add the staff structure of the Diocese of Virginia.
Bishop Johnston announced in his Pastoral Address at the March 5 Annual Council that the 26-member staff is immersed in a process that will re- examine every premise and rationale for how time and talents are deployed in support of the congregations and priorities of the Diocese. This in-depth review – the first in many years – is aimed at empowering the staff to help congregations deal with the future of a fast-changing Church.
A number of reassignments are likely to be made during 2016 in an effort to align the talents, passions and abilities of the staff to the already identified priorities of the Diocese. Many of these changes will be tested over a period of a few months before being made permanent.
The staff reassessment will include more focus on the kinds of professional development that will prepare staff members to become catalysts, connectors and networkers among the congregations of the Diocese. The hoped-for outcome would be a highly skilled staff offering the “best practices” of the Church.
The process has already begun.
Aisha Michel has moved from her position as Director of Communications to become Multicultural Officer working with the Rev. Pat Wingo, canon to the ordinary. Aisha will spend the next few months listening and learning from the ministries she will eventually serve and support. In this way, the job description will reflect the “bubbled-up” ideas from the front lines.
Bishop Johnston noted that multicultural ministry is one of the Five Priorities of the Diocese, and that he is excited that we can now give it more staff support.
On the communications front, Kendall Martin moves into the role of Communications Officer and has been joined by Ashley Cameron, who comes over to the team as Communications Associate after serving with the World Mission and Outreach group. Kendall and Ashley will work with Ed Jones, secretary and chief of staff, as a communications team dedicated to becoming more proactive with digital outlets and re-imagining print ones.
Among the projects on the list for the next few months: a major redesign of the diocesan web site to make it more user-friendly; a re-imagining of the Virginia Episcopalian magazine; ramped-up effort to offer support and conferences for parish communicators; and more focus and energy on expanding our social media platforms.
And there’s more on the staff front, as two new members arrived in 2016. John Herrera has taken on the position of sexton for Mayo House. A native of Spain, John has worked in similar positions in Episcopal churches in the Richmond area. He succeeds longtime sexton Wilbur “Skeet” Jones, who retired last year.
Succeeding Beth Rocheleau as Benefits Coordinator for the Diocese is Sissy Bice. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Sissy will work with the rest of the financial team to ensure that support and assistance are available for those with questions or concerns about benefits.
There’s much more to come.