I find it wonderfully providential that our retreating from the pandemic has so seamlessly coincided with a new model for the Epiphany staff. Since last November, we have been working with Nathan Kirkpatrick from Saison Consulting to consider our staffing needs and how they correspond with care for the congregation, the rejuvenation of Christian formation, and the broadening reach and impact of worship, all contributing to an invigorated Epiphany.
One of the first things we did in this restructuring was reduce the number of direct reports that I had, taking it from 8 to 5. Then we changed Diane Carlisle’s job to Executive Assistant to the Rector and Director of Worship. What that means is that Diane will be my facilitator and agent around the program areas I have responsibility for. They include adult education, stewardship, pastoral care, diocesan connection, online ministries, and family ministries. She will also continue to lead worship. In addition, I plan on increasing my preaching duties, while also continuing to teach Bible study, a 400-level book class, confirmation, catechumenate, Sunday morning forums (when invited), and any other teaching topic or venue that needs to be filled. I’ll be working with Susan Pitchford, our On-Site Anchorite and Minister for Adult Formation on these classes and curriculum. A new area of attention for me will be to the broader city of Seattle, seeking more opportunities to insert the Epiphany brand of Christianity into the communal conversation.
Jad Baaklini, as Director of Communications, will remain a critical partner in this regard. While he will continue to manage the internal communications of the parish, focusing on sharing what is happening within the liturgical and educational patterns of the church, he will also be actively seeking to increase the visibility of Epiphany in the city of Seattle. In particular, he will be promoting broadly and actively the service of Evensong. Bryan Fiehler, who has rebuilt and helps run and continue to improve our AV department, will continue in his part-time role producing the Evensong podcast that streams worldwide.
I believe Evensong will be the manner by which we care and nurture souls in this city in a way that doesn’t feel too churchy. It’s an easy entry point into the deeper, more challenging spiritual rigor that Epiphany offers. Zach Hemenway, as Director of Music, continues to lead this effort, reporting to me. Laura Sargent will shift her duties to the music department as the part-time Music Department Coordinator. She will manage all things music, working in partnership with Zach and Wyatt. Wyatt Smith continues as the Dean of the Music Academy as well as the Associate Music Director. Emily Herivel will continue as the part-time Sunday morning music leader for the GLF (Guided Liturgy for Families), which meets Sundays at 8:45 am in the Great Hall, and John Garlid will continue to work one day a week managing the music library.
Kelsey Lucido will be our part-time Pastor to Children, Youth, and Families. She comes to us as a recent graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary and is on track to be a Presbyterian pastor. Kelsey will work with our experienced and dedicated volunteers to help coordinate Sunday School, to participate in Youth Group, and to help manage the GLF. She will also greet and incorporate new families into the broader Epiphany community.
Incorporation and fellowship and formation continue to be our focus as we come up out of this COVID crisis. Dani Lugotoff, who many of you know, took over for Amanda as our on-site Campus Care minister. Amanda Eap, when she returns from maternity leave, will step into a full-time role, reporting to me, as Parish Life Minister. Her job will be newcomer care and incorporation, ministry team support, and congregational retention and invigoration. Epiphany has many moving parts with innumerable opportunities to create community. Attending to all of these groups, as well as managing all Epiphany events, is a significant undertaking, and Amanda, as so many of you know, is just the person for this job.
Key to welcome and incorporation is the continued smooth management of the campus. With Diane moving out of the role of campus administration, we are pleased to announce that Karen Berry will be joining the Epiphany staff to fill this role. She comes to us from Chevy Chase, MD where she served as the Business Manager for St. John’s Episcopal Church for the past seven years, moving to Seattle with her husband to be closer to their grown children. Karen will be working with Pam Demian, our Business Manager, and Gieth Phou, our Sexton, to keep the buildings cared for and the administration of the parish running smoothly.
Laura Rodde, who has done a huge amount of work during this restructuring, continues on as Chief of Staff. The importance of this role can’t be underestimated as she is responsible for the smooth functioning of all the moving parts that make up the Epiphany team. It has become abundantly clear to me that I am incapable of fulfilling my pastoral, preaching, teaching, and fundraising duties, as well as liaison to the broader community, in addition to smooth and functional staff management. Attentive communication is critical in keeping everybody on the same page and going the same direction for the common spiritual function and formation of this parish. In the Kingdom of God, relationship is primary, and attending to staff relationships is mission critical. Pam, Gieth, Karen, and Dani will report to Laura.
In the area of worship, I am pleased to announce that Pam Tinsley will be joining our team. Pam will be focused primarily on worship services. She will be with us Sunday mornings and also whenever the congregation meets together as a whole. She’s a newly ordained priest, who lives in Tacoma and is starting this new career now that she is retired from her life in business. Lex Breckinridge and Bente Carter will also be helping from time to time to support worship.
Finally, I would like to introduce you to Lisa Ozaeta. She is currently attending Seabury-Bexley seminary virtually and doing a two-year internship at Epiphany. She lives in Snoqualmie. Her role is to vision and then manage our online ministries. Her title is Online Pastor, and I’m excited to work with her on developing our hybrid in-person/online parish community.
It has taken us a long time to pull this team together. Our focus, of course, has been ensuring that this new staff arrangement fits within our budget. It does, because of your faithful stewardship support. We are now positioned to accelerate out of this time of pandemic. This new staff structure will serve to better attend to the spiritual needs of our congregation and their connection to this parish. It will also accentuate and accelerate what we are good at and support the growth and evangelism that is our Christian duty. Finally, I believe that the staff that is in place will allow me to do the work I’m called to do here at Epiphany, as well as to support all of you on your spiritual journey. We have an excellent group of people here, and I’m thrilled to see what we can do together.
Peace upon your souls.