Lay ministry is the main focus for program officer Demi Prentiss

January 22, 2009

Demi L. Prentiss is serving as program officer for discipleship and leadership in the area of lay and baptismal ministry, according to the Rev. Margaret Rose, director of the Episcopal Church's Mission Leadership Center.


Prentiss is based at the Episcopal Church Center regional office in Omaha, Nebraska, where she began her duties in November.

The program officer is responsible for working with dioceses to support lay leadership. Prentiss has outlined several areas of attention for this task: working with dioceses to reshape models of lay leadership: encouraging ministry in daily life, working with congregations that are undergoing a change of clergy leadership; and encouraging lay members of the Church to work as equal partners in ministry with clergy.

"Long-term, I believe I need to facilitate the development of networks of lay leaders who can support and challenge one another," Prentiss wrote in an outline of her work, "functioning both inside the church and in whole-life, daily-life ministry. I hope to create networking opportunities where those seeking to energize and equip the laity can link with those having experience and wisdom to share."

Prentiss was most recently a senior marketing specialist for the University of North Texas in Denton, and had previously been a ministry development officer and lay ministry coordinator at Episcopal churches in San Antonio and Kerrville, Texas.

She describes her past career as "checkered," noting that it includes stints as an Equity stage manager and scene designer, a reporter, photographer, editor and owner of community weekly newspapers, a Montessori school administrator, a bookkeeper for a family grocery store, a print shop owner and graphic designer, a free-lance writer, and a community organizer.

Prentiss holds a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, in English literature from Harvard University and an MTS degree in Seabury in congregational development from Seabury-Western Seminary. She is also a graduate of the four-year Education for Ministry program.

Her husband, Paul, works in disaster response for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They have an adult son and daughter, and recently became grandparents for the first time.

Prentiss may be reached at


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