How is the Church addressing Jo Forrest’s departure?

We are responding with a series of internal promotions and job expansions.

  • Katie Lancaster will become Senior Associate Minister with responsibility for Congregational Care and Membership.
  • Christine Hides will be elevated to Associate Minister for Discipleship, with overall responsibility for Christian Education (including Children, Family and Adult Education) and our relationship with A Joyful Noise Preschool (AJN). She will also oversee Communications.
  • Silvi Pirn will become Minister for Youth, Young Adults and Mission, adding a Young Adult Ministry, and also working to engage the Congregation in mission volunteering in support of our Outreach non-profit agencies.
  • Lisa Bond has led our Music Ministry through a dramatic transformation during the COVID-19 crisis while undertaking a crash course in sound engineering along the way. In 2021, Lisa will continue to lead our Music Ministry as in-person worship returns and we continue to improve our online worship experience.  Lisa’s title in the new organization will be Minister of Music.
  • John Sharp will continue to serve as Director of Business Operations, and in that role will take formal responsibility for all Kenilworth Union technology, most notably in support of our Church’s online presence.

Why not conduct a search for Jo’s replacement?

Since Jo announced her departure, we have engaged in a thorough examination of our Church’s leadership needs. We looked at our current organization, the talents and desires of our Senior Staff, and our goals for Kenilworth Union, all in an effort to determine the best staffing structure for our future. Our process included discussions with the Executive and Personnel Committees of the Board of Trustees, each member of the Senior Staff, certain members of the Congregation who are deeply involved in functional changes we were considering (including from Congregational Care ministries and Communications and other leaders), as well as the entire Board. These discussions made clear that we are blessed with a deep and talented “bench” of Senior Staff who are fully capable of meeting the leadership needs of our Church. After prayerful reflection, we have decided not to search for a replacement for Jo Forrest and instead determined that Kenilworth Union is best served by providing our existing Senior Staff with new and expanded opportunities for professional and spiritual growth in the service of our Church.

Senior staff will be taking on new and expanded roles.  Will they have the resources they need?

Subject to confirming a successful outcome to this year’s All of Me, All of Us Stewardship Campaign, we plan to provide additional junior resources to support our Senior Staff. Top priorities for additional help include 1) our Youth Ministry, 2) our Children and Family Christian Ed Ministry, and 3) additional technical support for the Church’s online presence, most notably a videographer to assist with the online worship experience.

Can you explain the new titles for Silvi and Lisa?  Are we now referring to non-ordained staff as Ministers?

Yes, going forward we will refer to Lisa and Silvi as Ministers rather than Directors. This change is intended to honor the vocation of the lay staff, to emphasize the importance of their contributions, and to signal that we view the entirety of our Senior Staff as a single team working as one in the service of our Church. Our ordained staff titles will continue to follow the traditional progression of “Associate Minister” (Christine), “Senior Associate Minister” (Katie), and “Senior Minister” (Bill).

Why is Katie leaving Christian Education and moving to Congregational Care?

Katie has successfully transformed our Christian Education Ministry and is ready for her next calling. The transition to Congregational Care is a natural one for Katie. She has already completed her Clinical Pastoral Education coursework and, while successfully leading Kenilworth Union’s Christian Education program, she has quietly demonstrated her calling for pastoral care—helping families through hardship, leading funeral services, and creating her 100 Days of Homegrown Prayer devotional series. In addition, Christine Hides has done an outstanding job working with Katie to renew and energize our Children and Family Ministry and is ready to assume the overall leadership role for Christian Education.

But isn’t Katie going on Sabbatical early next year?  What are we doing in her absence?

Yes, Katie will be on Sabbatical during January and February, after postponing her Sabbatical this past summer with the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Reflecting her high intellect and considerable academic achievements, she has been awarded an independent grant to research the role of prayer during uncertain times. This sabbatical work will continue her spiritual development and further prepare her for her pastoral care duties upon her return. Katie will also complete Stephen Minister leader training early in her tenure in her new role.

The Senior Staff is working on interim arrangements to cover Katie’s pastoral care duties. We have decided not to recruit an interim pastoral care minister due to the short duration of Katie’s absence. One key element of the interim plan is in place. Kathy McCabe will serve as pastoral care coordinator, engaging Kenilworth Union’s Senior Staff and care resources on behalf of our Congregation. More to follow.

Why is Christine adding Adult Education to her Christian Education responsibilities?

In conversations prior to Jo’s announcement, Christine let us know that she has the same enthusiasm for teaching adults as she does for teaching children. And that it is a career goal of hers to have the opportunity to lead the entirety of a Christian Education program. Adding Adult Education is a natural step for Christine.

Why is Christine also being asked to lead Communications?

In her leadership of our Children and Family Ministry during the COVID-19 crisis, Christine has had remarkable success executing an online communications strategy while also creating online Christian Education programming. We are now asking her to deploy these skills to lead our overall Communications initiatives. In this role, she will build on Jo’s work to communicate and deliver the full resources of Kenilworth Union through our online presence.

How is Silvi’s role changing?

Silvi will now serve as Minister for Youth, Young Adults and Mission. She will continue to lead Kenilworth Union’s highly successful Youth Ministry and will also expand her role to pursue two other passions: 1) she will formalize her ministry for Young Adults (something she has already begun “in her free time”), and 2) she will expand her mission leadership by seeking to further engage our entire Congregation in mission volunteering, particularly in support of our Outreach non-profit agencies.

What is the future of Lisa’s Music ministry?

Lisa will serve as Minister of Music, where she, now in her 24th year at Kenilworth Union, will continue to lead our amazing Music Ministry. Her role has been transformed in 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis, which required her emergency, on-the-fly education as a sound production engineer. As many of you have come to understand, the beautiful music that attends our Sunday 9:30 a.m. Online Worship requires hours of laborious work mixing many different, independently recorded tracks to create one harmonious whole. We salute Lisa for continuing to enrich our worship with such moving music in the most challenging of circumstances. And we will look forward to her continuing leadership as we return to in-person worship in 2021. Lisa will play a key role in sustaining the high quality of Kenilworth Union’s in-person worship while also helping to deliver further improvement in the Church’s online worship experience.

Why are we asking John to take responsibility for Kenilworth Union’s technology?

John will continue as Director of Business Operations. He has made an extraordinary impact on Kenilworth Union’s business operations in his brief 16-month tenure, including management of our accounting and finance function, facilities, and various human resources and compliance tasks. Going forward, steady improvement in Kenilworth Union’s technical capabilities will be critically important to growing our Church’s online presence. John will bring the experience and judgement developed through a 35-year business career to the task of making sure we procure the right technical equipment as well as adding the staff with the right skills.

Are we hiring the additional personnel right away and what are the priorities there?

Our plan, subject to the results of this year’s All of Me, All of Us Stewardship Campaign, is to add three additional part-time personnel to support the Senior Staff in their new and expanded roles. Specifically, we plan to provide additional help for Christine (Children and Family), Silvi (Youth) and John (technical support for video production of online worship).

Posted on December 15, 2020