Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has appointed the Rev. Canon Kris Lee – canon for communication in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island and also a retired senior communication professional at the Episcopal Church Center in New York – to serve as the Episcopal Church’s interim director of communication.
Jefferts Schori announced the appointment August 7, introducing Lee during a regularly scheduled staff assembly, noting that he will begin work on August 18. “We are delighted to welcome Kris back for this interim time,” she said.
Lee -- who is also an assisting priest of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York City -- succeeds Canon Robert Williams, who on August 15 will conclude four years as director of communication, having resigned the position June 25 in order to begin new work “at a different pace, and closer to family” in Los Angeles later this year.
“On behalf of the staff of the Episcopal Church Center, I am delighted to welcome Kris to this challenging ministry,” said Linda Watt, the Episcopal Church’s chief operating officer. “We are fortunate that he has been able to dedicate his time to us, and are pleased that his considerable experience at 815 and around the church will enable him to step in comfortably to lead the communications staff at this time of transition.
“We plan within the next several weeks to open a broad-based search for a permanent Director of Communication,” Watt said, “and are grateful to Kris for putting his steady hand to the wheel until that person is on board.”
"I'm looking forward to re-joining the Presiding Bishop's staff and leading the communication ministry team during these challenging times in the church and the world,” Lee said.
“And since General Convention beckons, we sure won't be slowing down during the interim period,” he added. “A high priority will be continuing to foster mutual discernment with colleagues from across the church about best practices for news and resource publishing and constructive marketing of the church's Gospel witness."
As interim director, Lee will oversee the Communication Office’s three primary work groups: Digital Communication, Episcopal Life Media, and Episcopal Books and Resources. He will share this leadership with senior managers Bernice David, director of communication operations, and Michael Collins, director of digital communication. Lee, David and Collins together oversee the work of Episcopal Life Media, whose business operations are supervised by general manager Larry Moore while editor Solange De Santis coordinates all editorial work across online and print platforms. Lee will also work in close collaboration with the Church Center’s Office of Public Affairs, supervised by program officer Neva Rae Fox.
Lee previously served for about 20 years in the Communication Office of the Church Center in New York as executive producer of media programs, web site developer, satellite videoconferencing manager, Episcopal Life feature page editor, communication workshops presenter, and two years before his retirement, in 2003, as department director. He was also part of the media teams at five General Conventions.
As an adjunct staff member of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), London, Lee served as information network manager of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998. Since 2000, he has also served as ACO web publishing consultant creating official news pages for global south dioceses and developing websites for the Dioceses of Southern Malawi and Botswana.
Earlier staff positions include media operations director of the American Bible Society, telecommunications director of the Lutheran Church in America, and Associate communications director of the Metropolitan Detroit Council of Churches.
In the Episcopal Diocese of New York, Lee has served as communications committee chairperson, as advisory board member of the Episcopal New Yorker newspaper, as video producer of special event worship services and as priest associate at Trinity St. Paul’s Church in New Rochelle, N.Y. Lee has also served as a member of the board of directors of Episcopal Social Services of New York.
He has received the Detroit Press Club Foundation, Polly Bond and CINE Golden Eagle communication awards and has been a member of the national Episcopal Communicators organization since 1987.