Mission director search suspended

February 11, 2008

The search for a new director of mission for the Episcopal Church has been suspended while the duties and responsibilities of the position are reviewed in light of the Church Center reorganization currently underway.

Chief Operating Officer Linda Watt informed Executive Council on February 11 that the search for a successor to the Rev. Dr. James Lemler as director of mission has been suspended. Lemler, who served since 2004 as the Episcopal Church's director of mission, resigned in early November after accepting a call from Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut, to serve as priest-in-charge of the historic parish.

Watt said that the four newly named directors of the Episcopal Church's Centers for Mission are working well together, and that she and the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, are taking up other parts of Lemler's job.

"We think we want to try to do without [the director of mission post] for a while and see how it works," Watt told Council.

The Presiding Bishop appointed the Rev. Canon Brian Grieves as acting director of mission on January 3. Grieves, who has served as director of Peace and Justice Ministries since 1988, was appointed January 10 as director of the Advocacy Center, one of the four new Centers for Mission. Watt told Council February 11 that Grieves would be the "lead center director" under this new plan.

"We are fully engaged in the transition from the current mission organization to our new mission centers and regional offices," said John Colón, director of Human Resource Management for the Episcopal Church. "In witnessing how this new mission leadership team has come together it is clear to us that, at this time, we should focus our full energies on the transition work before us."

A letter of explanation has been mailed to those who expressed an interest in the position, noting that "this period of reflection and review regarding the director of mission...offers a unique opportunity" for them to provide feedback and input on the position.

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