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Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer will leave in June

March 18, 2011

Ambassador Linda Watt has announced that she will leave her position as Chief Operating Officer for the Episcopal Church in June 2011.

“It has been an immense honor to serve the Church and a privilege to support the Presiding Bishop’s ministry,” Watt commented. “I have been particularly blessed to meet and work with so many Episcopalians who are carrying out God’s mission in life-giving ways. At this time I feel a very strong call to go home to southern Utah, to take my own ministry from an organizational to an individual level, and to spend more time with my husband, family, and friends.”

Following a U.S. State Department career in diplomacy that spanned several decades and continents, Watt was named Chief Operating Officer in November 2006. Since that time, she has led the staff through a restructuring that enabled the creation of a collaborative culture, re-energizing mission and ministry. Among the many accomplishments under her leadership, ministry offices were established outside of New York City, and strategic planning was initiated.

“I am deeply grateful for Ambassador Watt’s excellent management skills, her interpersonal gifts, and her insightful and creative leadership as Chief Operating Officer,” commented Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “She arrived in early 2007 and immediately went to work learning the gifts and challenges in the systems of the Episcopal Church, and how best to lead an institutional change at the Church Center. The culture shift which we have seen emerging is largely owing to her dedication and perseverance, and we are in her debt.”

Watt served as U.S. ambassador to Panama from 2002-2005. She served from 1997 to 1999 as acting U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, where she later served as deputy chief of mission. From 1993 to 1995 she was management officer of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and its three consulates. She also served in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and England. She is a member of Grace Church in St. George, Utah.

The way forward

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori has named an Advisory Group to assist in the search for a new Chief Operating Officer. The Advisory Group members are: the Rev. Timothy Anderson, Canon for the Tri-Faith initiative, Diocese of Nebraska, and Executive Council member; Judith Conley, President of the Standing Committee, Diocese of Arizona; the Rt. Rev. Jay Magness, Bishop Suffragan for Armed Forces and Federal Ministries; Jon Meacham, Executive Vice President of Random House, member of St Thomas, NYC, and the vestry of Trinity Wall Street, NYC; and the Rev. Canon Dr. Charles Robertson, Canon to the Presiding Bishop.

The Presiding Bishop will name the Chief Operating Officer with advice and consent of a majority of the members of the Executive Council (Canon 1.4.3(d)).

“We look forward to the coming months, knowing that the Church Center is better equipped to make this transition, given Ambassador Watt’s ministry among us,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori said.

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer