Dear Companions in Christ,
I write to you today about a reorganization and realignment in the staffing, reporting structure, and ministry portfolios of The Commons staff.
As I said in my Annual Address at Convention, I spent this past year listening across the diocese and to our staff in Meriden. I have heard from you a deep need for clarity and support from The Commons staff; and from the staff, I have heard a need for similar clarity and support — but also a need for collaboration and colleagueship. Across the board, I heard a longing for growth, development, and support as we spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in Connecticut. With that in mind, The Commons reporting structure, which you can see below, will move to a team-based approach. This will not only allow the staff to have deeper collaboration with each other, it will also allow each team to have a clear ministry alignment which will better support you in your mission and ministries.
As you can see from the chart, this reorganization also involves some change in staffing. Six years ago, ECCT moved boldly into Region Ministry work, with some very positive results. Our Region Missionaries have supported congregations and communities working collaboratively to move beyond the four walls of our buildings and out into the world. They have served faithfully in their work, doing what was needed where it has been needed. I would describe the current model as “geographically-specific and ministry-general.” That is, they have served specific Regions across a wide variety of needs and ministries.
Because Connecticut, and ECCT, is diverse in its make-up and needs, some of the hoped-for outcomes for our Region Missionaries have been realized differently depending on Region. After careful consideration, we will be changing how we support the needs of Regions, and the congregations and communities within them. We will move from a geographically-specific and ministry-general model to one that is ministry-specific and geographically-general. These positions will have particular skills in specific ministry areas, and each will serve all six Regions. We will be hiring three new positions to focus on supporting Regions and Congregations in areas of needed attention: Congregational Support, Life-Span Ministries, and Lay Vocations.
1.) The Congregational Support position will work directly with Region Leadership Teams and Ministry Networks, as well as directly with Congregations. They will also support the growth of a robust team of consultants, lay and ordained, who will be available to assist with a wide range of topics and needs.
2.) The Lifespan Ministry position will support Regions and Congregations in developing robust ministries for Children and Youth, Young Adults, and Elders.
3.) The position for Lay Vocations will work alongside a new Canon for Lay & Ordained Vocations in supporting the formation and ministries of our Lay leaders.
This change will also include ending the current positions of Region Missionaries and Dean of Formation. The position of Dean of Formation will be expanded into the new, full-time position of Canon for Lay & Ordained Vocations. These new positions (Congregational Support, Lifespan Ministry, Lay Vocations, and the Canon for Lay & Ordained Vocations) will be publicly posted positions. I hope to have them all filled in the first quarter of the new year.
Our Region Missionaries — Maggie Breen, The Reverend Rachel Thomas, and Deb Tickell — will complete their work with us on Sunday, December 31, 2023. I want to thank them for their hard work and faithfulness in their service. They worked for the good of ECCT’s Regions and spread the Good News to the people of Connecticut. They have been an important part of our community, and we send them forth with our thanks, blessings, and prayers. I encourage everyone to find ways to express your gratitude to, and for, them.
I know change, even when needed or desired, can bring a wide range of feelings and reactions. While I am hopeful and expectant that these changes will best meet the needs and longings for ECCT at this time, I also know that any change can feel destabilizing.
Bishop Laura and I will have a special evening call for Region Leadership Teams on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at 6PM.
I also encourage you to join us for a special Wednesday morning Bishops’ Call for Clergy and Lay Leaders next Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at 8:30AM.
These two meetings will be a time of questions and answers regarding the reorganization. Please look for announcements regarding them. As always, Bishop Laura and I welcome and invite your questions. Please continue to hold one another in prayer as we take this next step together.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey W. Mello