Directors named for three new Mission Centers

Experienced priests will lead Advocacy, Mission Leadership, Evangelism and Congregational Life work based at Episcopal Church Center
January 9, 2008

Continuing to reorganize the Episcopal Church Center staff to achieve new levels of service and collaboration, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named directors for three of four new churchwide Centers for Mission.

Director for the new Advocacy Center is the Rev. Canon Brian J. Grieves, who has led Peace and Justice Ministries at the Church Center since 1988. Concurrently, Grieves will serve as interim director of mission, the Presiding Bishop said, until completion of the search for a successor to the Rev. James Lemler, who has accepted a new position as priest-in-charge of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Rev. Suzanne E. Watson, the Church Center's staff officer for congregational development, will lead its new Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life, and the Rev. Margaret Rollins Rose, the Church Center's director of women's ministries, is director for the new Center for Mission Leadership, the Presiding Bishop said.

Announced January 10, the appointments are the result of a two-month search process that invited applicants from across the church's 110 dioceses to seek leaders for the new Mission Centers, all of which are based at the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Ave., New York City.

The search for the fourth center director, that for Partnerships, remains open.

In announcing the appointments, the Presiding Bishop expressed her appreciation to the new directors for their willingness to serve, and her gratitude for their many gifts and skills.

"We are grateful for all the individuals, internal and external, who applied for these positions," said Linda E. Watt, the Episcopal Church's chief operating officer. "Once again, we are reminded of the wealth of talent, commitment, and expertise with which the Episcopal Church Center is blessed."

Watt added that the work of each director includes an emphasis upon effective on-site management rather than travel away from the Church Center, as well as close relationships with lay and clergy leaders around the Church.

"I am delighted to accept the Presiding Bishop's invitation to inaugurate the new Center for Advocacy," Grieves said. "This will be a challenging but very exciting task. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity.

"We live in a fractured and divided world, and the role of the Church as prophet and healer is central to the mission of God's reconciling work in the world," Grieves added.

Grieves joined the Church Center staff in 1988 and has served three Presiding Bishops as the Episcopal Church's director of Peace and Justice Ministries, an extensive portfolio that includes the work of the Office of Government Relations, and social and economic justice, among other initiatives. Grieves was in 1989 named secretary of the international Anglican Peace and Justice Network and continues in that position.

Before beginning work at the Church Center, Grieves was for 10 years a member of the staff of the Diocese of Hawaii where he also served several congregations. He holds degrees from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California, and the University of Hawaii.

In a letter of application for her new work with evangelism and congregational life, Watson wrote: "Seeing the hurt and unmet spiritual hunger of the world today creates in me a strong call to action.... Strengthening congregations' ability to be aware of their part in the greater whole and equipping them with resources to live out their call is my ministry focus."

"I am both humbled and honored by the Presiding Bishop's and the Nominating Committee's selection," Watson said of her new appointment. "My prayer is that God will abundantly bless the dedicated and gifted Mission Center team as we -- in partnership with dioceses, provinces, networks and organizations -- seek to serve God's people. May we together strive to experience, grow in and share Jesus' transformative love in our rapidly changing and spiritually hungry world."

Since joining the Church Center staff in 2006, Watson has specialized in ministries of churches in small communities. She is concurrently priest associate at Christ and Holy Trinity Parish in Westport, Connecticut.

Watson has also served congregations in New Zealand and the Diocese of El Camino Real, California, and was prior to her ordination in 2002 a manager of healthcare programs in Templeton and San Diego, California.

Moving into her new role in Mission Leadership, Rose noted that "empowering and equipping people to claim their leadership in the church, their communities and beyond" has been central throughout her 25 years of ordained ministry. "My gift is helping people imagine possibilities and act on them."

"I am excited to tap the creative energy offered by the four Centers for Mission," Rose said in accepting her appointment to direct the Center for Mission Leadership and its portfolio including theological education, leadership development, and the support and training of missionaries.

"Building on the strong foundation of ongoing work, the fluid matrix of the Centers offers opportunities for collaborative work in developing tools and resources for the whole church," Rose added. "In my new role, I bring the conviction that strong leadership in the church requires a diversity of voices whose conviction to God's reconciling justice empowers us to live out our baptismal call."

Since beginning work in 2003 as director of women's ministries, Rose has worked to launch large initiatives including the work of the Anglican Women's Empowerment organization and its close ties with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Rose previously served congregations in Atlanta and the Boston-based Diocese of Massachusetts. While rector of Atlanta's St. Dunstan's Church, Rose worked in leading an Industrial Areas Campaign, the founding of an after-school program for elementary children, an extensive capital campaign. In Boston, she was founding director of the Jubilee Senior Action Center. She holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Wellesley College.

Each of the new directors now begins work in shaping the staffing and program of their respective new centers in close collaboration with the Presiding Bishop and other senior managers at the Church Center.

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