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Episcopal Church Center new structure: project-based, goal-oriented

Thursday, October 22, 2009
Following deep budget cuts which caused personnel reductions and a re-focus of work operations, the staff of the Episcopal Church Center is gearing up for a new strategic model that is project-based and goal-oriented.

The new structure, calling for a Department of Mission, five program-based Mission Teams and two specialized ministries, was presented to Executive Council at its October meeting by Linda Watt, Chief Operating Officer.

"We use our expertise and experience to support the dioceses and the networks of the Church in their ministries," Watt said. "We are the empowered servants who seek to enable the work of others through resources, strengthening of networks and affinity groups, and lifting up best practices."

The $141 million budget for 2010-2012 adopted by General Convention called for cuts in most areas and results in staff reductions across program, canonical and corporate areas. Approximately 40 staff positions were either eliminated or reduced.

"The changes brought about by General Convention 2009, although deeply challenging, are also an invitation to further the re-visioning and re-inventing begun two years ago," Watt continued. "The journey is difficult, but we are working our way through the challenges and looking ahead."

The new model

In the new model, there will be a Department of Mission led in a team approach by two Directors of Mission. Antoinette (Toni) Daniels and the Rev. Margaret R. Rose will assume the responsibilities as the directors; both have served as Center Directors since early 2008.

In the Mission Department, there will be five program-based Mission Teams and two specialized ministries, each with a team leader, who will carry a ministry portfolio as well as a mentoring role.

The Mission Teams are: Global Partnerships; Diocesan and Congregational Life; Lifelong Christian Formation; Ethnic, Multicultural, Social and Environmental Witness; and Government Advocacy for Peace and Justice.

The specialized ministries are Episcopal Migration Ministries and Federal Ministries/Chaplaincies.

Staff members from all the teams, as well as from other Church Center departments, associated agencies and other groups, will participate in Project Working Groups, organized around topical issues and initiatives. "The Project Working Groups will draw from the expertise of multiple staff members," Watt said. "Some will be short-term, such as Lenten Resources, and others will be ongoing, like Women"s Empowerment."

"It"s important to note that the design of this new system was staff-driven," Watt pointed out. "Many staff members participated in the discussion and preparation of this model."

Goals

In the new configuration, there are eight goals: accountability; cross-functional collaboration among program ministries; focus on work appropriate to the churchwide level; commitment to strengthen networks throughout the church; renewed responsiveness to the priorities of the Church"s governing bodies; and project-based work will be the main focus.

Other cost-cutting measures

Watt also cited cost-cutting measures that are underway throughout the Church Center, including a reduction in staff travel, greater use of today"s technology, forming a peer review process for events, reducing overhead expenses, contracting with a new café vendor, and consolidation of functions, such as folding the mailroom operation into Episcopal Books and Resources. Work processes in non-program areas are being re-thought as staff reductions are implemented.

Speaking to the diversity of the Church Center"s staff, "We are clergy and laity, Episcopalians and not," Watt said. "We are all committed to the work of the Church."

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 110 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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