Episcopal Church Center reorganizes for service and collaboration

Collaboration and service to dioceses, churches and members are the core values of the reorganization of the Church Center. 815 Second Avenue in New York City will no longer be the only center of church management and support. Los Angeles, Atlanta, a Pacific NW center and a Midwest center are to be added to the existing offices in Washington, DC, Miami, Austin, TX, and Ambler, PA.

Raising levels of service to dioceses, congregations, and individuals — “equipping people to use their gifts” — is at the heart of recommendations to reorganize work based at the Episcopal Church Center, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a September 5 presentation to staff.

The goal “is to use the gifts and skills of the staff for the good of the whole Church,” she noted, inviting participants in the staff-wide assembly to contemplate in new ways what it means to take on the “role of servant leaders” for the Episcopal Church, formed of 110 dioceses configured in some 16 nations and territories.

“This is about being the body of Christ,” Jefferts Schori added, underscoring that healthy bodies are capable of demonstrating flexibility, adaptability, and “building new connections.” Every member of Christ’s body is valued and essential, she said.

The Presiding Bishop said the reorganization would facilitate “excellence in management,” encourage “churchwide thinking in all mission programs,” and be “responsive and supportive of those who lead ministries.” She emphasized that the reorganization “is not about budget cutting” but about establishing the best possible deployment of personnel; “it is about effectiveness and servant leadership.”

A second task force

“the Working Group for an Inspired, Trained and Innovative Workforce” — a group of co-workers who have identified ways to encourage professional excellence — [was] presented by Bernice Lucas, a communication deputy at the Church Center who is also general manager of Episcopal Books and Resources.

Lucas, a Church Center employee for some 18 years, said the recommendations underscore areas including encouraging professional and personal growth and development; employee incentives, awards and rewards; and corporate growth and development, all grounded in stated core values.

The core values begin with the Prayer Book’s call to “respect the dignity of every human being” and include “commitment to excellence as a team,” striving “to be inventive, innovative, inspired and flexible,” Lucas said.

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