Former U.S. Ambassador to Panama, Linda E. Watt, was commissioned January 10 as the chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church.
The short service took place in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center, 815 Second Avenue in New York, during a gathering of the community that works at the Church Center.
"Linda, you have been called to the important ministry of managing the programs, missions, and administration of this community, and of assisting the Presiding Bishop to convey the Church's message of peace, joy, tolerance, concern for the poor and oppressed, and reconciliation," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told Watt during the service.
House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson presented Watt for her commissioning and Executive Officer and Secretary to General Convention Gregory Straub also participated in the commissioning.
As a symbol of her office, Jefferts Schori gave Watt a copy of the Episcopal Church's 2007-2009 budget.
Afterwards, Watt told the community that she believes in servant leadership and promised to serve those who work for the Episcopal Church, whom she called "people who are committed and passionate about the work you do."
"I would like to ask for your advice, your wisdom and your prayers in the time we will spend together," she said.
The Church's Executive Council, meeting in Chicago November 15, confirmed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's appointment of Watt to the position, officially known as executive director of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).
Watt, 55, succeeds Patricia C. Mordecai as vice president of the DFMS, the principal management corporation of the Episcopal Church and its chief legislative body, the General Convention. Mordecai retired at the end of 2006 after more than eight years in this role.
Watt was a vestry member of Grace Church in St. George, Utah, and a resident of nearby Ivins, until she moved with her husband, Leo Duncan, to the East Coast to work for the Episcopal Church.
More information about Watt is available here.