Wednesday, September 15, 2010

+Upper South Carolina "Restructuring"

This letter from Bishop Waldo came from the EDUSC last week. (emphasis added)

On Diocesan Staff Restructuring

September 8, 2010

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Mary and I are settling into our new home in Columbia and our new life in Upper South Carolina, and we have been honored and humbled by the warm welcomes we continue to receive from our new diocesan family. In the space of three months since my consecration, I have celebrated many Confirmations, several baptisms, and we have had the moving experience of our first visit to our brothers and sisters in Haiti, about which I wrote earlier. We are blessed to be among you.

I have also been blessed to come into a diocesan staff of dedicated and hard working Christians who have been extremely supportive of me in the beginnings of my transition into the role of your bishop. Since my election, I have been in prayerful thought and conversation about how best to structure our diocesan staff. My focus has been on responsive service to the congregations, institutions and leadership of our diocese through leadership development, training and procedural simplifications. My goal is that everything we do contribute in ways large and small to the development of healthy, growing and vibrant congregations throughout the diocese. To that end, the responsibilities of canon staff will include more direct availability to congregations for training and support—in communications, leadership development, congregational development, administration, finance, and, if and when the economic environment improves, Christian formation among all ages. Quality of support to congregations and skilled ability as trainers will be high values for my canon staff. Furthermore, we will be working toward high levels of responsiveness and hospitality among office staff. It will take time for us to put these processes in place, but with these as primary goals, we will be making a number of organizational and personnel changes in the coming weeks and months.

I think you will all be pleased to hear that, notwithstanding her recent retirement from the diocesan house staff, Jane Goldsmith has graciously agreed to stay on in the part time roles of receptionist and coordinator of office volunteers beginning after Convention. Jane’s warm and hospitable manner will be a welcoming and inviting presence in the diocesan house. I’m sure you will all enjoy hearing her voice when you call, and seeing her at the front desk when you come to visit. In the meantime, I am looking for a new Executive Assistant. We are nearing the interview portion of our search for Jane’s replacement in this position.

As you know from her announcement in Crosswalk, Peggy Hill decided to retire from her position as Canon for Communications. Peggy’s award‐winning publications have been a great asset to communications in the diocese, and have represented our diocese well both here at home and in the larger church. We will miss her and wish her many blessings as she begins this new phase of her life.

This means of course that we are taking next steps to ensure effective communications for the diocese. We are looking at two ways of addressing this mission‐critical part of our common life:
One way will be to fill the position with the right and highly qualified person to have oversight and responsibility for communications in the diocese, including the ability to teach and train clergy and lay leaders throughout the diocese on the most effective means for getting your message out. The other way we’re considering is to outsource the teaching, training and primary message‐formation aspects of the task to a firm that specializes in these high‐level communications activities. Should we take this path, print and e‐news communications would shift to Bethany Human, closely coordinated with the higher‐level goals.

Julie Price has agreed to continue to serve us as Canon for Diocesan Administration and Finance, a role in which she has served tirelessly and superbly for over 17 years. Julie is an extraordinary asset to our diocese, and will continue to help us keep the finances and Statement of Mission in order. Working with Julie, Cynthia Hendrix will continue to serve us as Director of Finance, Insurance, and Risk Management, as consultant to the Property and Insurance Committee of the diocese, and as a risk management consultant to the diocese. Both will be readily available to congregations for consultations and training in administration, finance and insurance matters.

d’Rue Hazel will now have full responsibility for diocesan deployment and discernment processes as our Canon for Deployment, Discernment, and Pastoral Care. d’Rue has passion and skill for this ministry, and her energy and vision will serve our diocese well as we seek to call clergy for existing congregations and to ordain new clergy with the gifts most needed by our diocese.

Long‐time diocesan staff member Roslyn Hook will shift some of her responsibilities to focus on Administrative Assistant support to d’Rue, in addition to her coordination of theSchool for Ministry. This assures us of a strong, responsive team.

Michael Bullock has resigned from his position as Canon to the Ordinary in order to pursue new positions. Michael’s work in helping to shape and develop the Commission structure has been invaluable to our diocese. Under his leadership, the Commissions have begun to function as they were intended, and to take on a true grass roots leadership role for the diocese. I am indebted to him for the vision with which he has carried forward this new concept from infancy into adolescence. Michael has also played a significant role with several parishes as they’ve engaged the Healthy Church Initiative. I have personally been deeply grateful for his support and wise guidance during my first months. Michael has graciously accepted my request for him to stay on through October.

Due to a significant budget shortfall in the Statement of Mission, Sue von Rautenkranz’s position as Canon for Liturgy, Leadership and Development Formation has been eliminated. Sue has been an inspiration to the youth and youth leaders of our diocese. Under her leadership, the diocese has come to value and raise up the leadership of youth in the church, moving us from seeing youth as the “future of the church” to including them as the “now” of the church. One of her many achievements was leading the effort, first, for youth to have seat and voice, and then, seat, voice and vote, at Convention. Sue will be deeply missed by countless youth and youth ministers for her presence and leadership. Sue will also be staying through Diocesan Convention, which she has agreed to coordinate, after which we will all have to pull together to ensure the ongoing success of youth ministry in the diocese. In spite of her loss to the program, the presence, ministry and support of youth is among our highest priorities. My restructuring plan (see below) includes a future Canon for Christian Formation and Youth, a position I hope an improving economy will allow us to move quickly to fill in the 2011‐2012 season. In the meantime, Bethany Human will continue to provide logistical and administrative support to youth ministry in the diocese. We also know Sue as a meticulous liturgist and event organizer and she has been a long‐time personal friend of mine. Her talent, energy and commitment have brought liturgy on the highest level to the diocese. She has been instrumental in planning and coordinating large events like Diocesan Conventions and various leadership days. I am indebted to her for her support of Joseph Whitehurst in managing and implementing the Consecration liturgy last May.

Finally, part‐time administrative assistant Bonnie Blackberg has decided to retire, also at the end of October, but will be helping out from time to time in the office as a volunteer.

We will soon begin our search for a Canon to the Ordinary, who will report to me, and to whom the other canons will report. His or her duties will include leadership development and congregational development, diocesan staff leadership, strategic planning, coordination of Diocesan Convention (with the Secretary to Convention), and coordination of the Diocesan
Executive Committee and Executive Committee meetings.

As noted, I have proposed a position for Canon for Christian Formation and Youth. Although the Statement of Mission does not currently provide funding for this position, I pray that you will work with me to find the funds we need for this important position. Education at every level of our Christian journey is vital to the health of our Church, and our youth are among our most precious assets.

Finally, fiscal transparency is imperative. In that spirit, I intend for the Statement of Mission to reflect a separate line item for the cost of each diocesan staff member. This will begin with the Statement of Mission to be considered at the upcoming Convention in October. I believe it is important for you to know the financial resources you are investing in each of these staff members, as you know the financial resources you are investing in me.

When I return from the House of Bishop’s meeting in Phoenix, AZ (9/13‐9/22), I will be posting an organizational chart on the diocesan website that describes the working relationships among staff members as well as each staff member’s job description. This transition will unfold in the coming weeks and will undoubtedly include some bumps along the way, but I know that we will have your prayers, patience and support as we move forward.

Above all, “press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” in prayer, fellowship, learning, worship and service. In the meantime, please consider your diocesan staff resources for the journey, and let all of us know how we can better serve you.

Faithfully yours,

The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Bishop

The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina

So, gone is the "Canon for Communications." And how about the possibility of outsourcing "the teaching, training and primary message‐formation aspects of the task to a firm that specializes in these high‐level communications activities"? I wonder what firms he might have in mind? I can not imagine a "conservative" or "orthodox" leaning firm getting the job. Even so, I would like to put in a plug for the good folks at the South Carolina Anglican Network who might help set up a similar resource for +Upper SC. Or maybe we could ask the good folks at StandFirm in Faith to help straighten out our communications network.

Gone also is the "Canon to the Ordinary." At what size should a diocese have one of those anyway?

And finally, gone is the "Canon for Liturgy, Leadership and Development Formation." PTL.

As I read the usual platitudes about the recently departed, I do so with the appreciation that they are being given a gracious send off in hopes of helping them land other positions. Many a resume will include glowing letters of recommendation from former employers, but you know that there must be an untold story behind the word "former."

Bishop Waldo uses the typical smokescreen of "the economy" to cover any skeletons hiding in the diocesan closet, but we all know that the decline of the Episcopal church is to blame for any decline in the budget, and the decline of the church is due to the failures of its shepherds.

Do declining dioceses need all those Canons of This, That, and the Other Thing? Of course not. Declining dioceses need Gospel spreading church growers and planters. The problem lies with the Episcopal bag of seed that has been handed to the planters. The current gospel of fuzzy uncertainty with all of its baggage of social activism, radical abortion touting seminary deans, unrepentant priests and bishops openly living in sin, and the swirling drama about same sex blessings is an awfully hard thing to sell to the unchurched, and even if you were to try to plant it, such seed will not grow.

Bishop Waldo is off to a good start, but he needs to look around at the other things that are at the root of the decline of the church. Until he can recognize why the train jumped the tracks, and can discover for himself the foundational problems in this diorama, we can look forward to  more derailments along the line for the Waldo Express.

From "Banish Derailments on Your Model Railroad," Model Railroader Magazine 2003

Since fall is looking so promising, I wonder what spring cleaning will look like?


  1. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Bishop Henderson only kept one member of the staff when he took over EDUSC.... maybe your decision to withdraw your financial support form ECOOS has something to do with the changes as well? Butterfly effect you know!

  2. Kudos to the Pewster. I believe I detect a raising of the temperature in the room.

    At some point, the powers that be must face the veracity of this posting and deal squarely with the issues. If not, then they must accept continued decline in TEc.

  3. Anonymous12:40 AM

    The decline of EDUSC is directly attributable to the liberal style of the canon staff. They have consistently shoehorned leftist clergy into previously conservative congregations in furtherance of the liberal agenda. In parishes where this has occurred, the numbers speak for themselves. The drive to be a social welfare organization rather than a church that preaches the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is a losing proposition.


    All this time I should have known
    One of these days you'd follow me home
    Mess up my room and proceed to tempt me
    And no matter how good I am you learn to resent me

    Stop, drop and roll
    Stop, drop and roll
    Stop, drop and roll
    You're on fire

    I dunno. It kinda evokes what you are describing.

  5. Tim,

    I kept thinking of an old Neville Brothers hit, Fire on the Bayou, or Fiyo on de Bayou as we used to sing it. My mind kept changing the words at about minute 1:50 of this version.

    I also kept hearing "Fiyo in de Dio."

  6. Does a new broom always sweep clean?
    God has prospered those of our Diocese who have left because of budget cuts. DSJ will have the enormous task of finding a Bishop when JDS retires in a years time. He has graciously stayed two years beyond his desired retirement date.

  7. Dale,

    You are of course referring to the real DSJ. Keep up the good work!

  8. UGP,
    There is only one DSJ. There is no other. Accept no substitutes. Amen