May 25, 2011
Yesterday, I met with the Standing Committee and with the regional deans of the diocese to review the report of our CREDO consultants on our diocesan culture and effectiveness. Based on the report’s recommendations, which were received gratefully and affirmed by both groups of leaders, I am now beginning a restructuring of the diocesan office and the bishop’s staff that will enable us to serve congregations more effectively.
The report that our leaders reviewed yesterday is the culmination of a six-month process that I announced at Diocesan Convention last November. Since then, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings and Steve Smith from CREDO have administered three online surveys, distributed broadly and answered by 85 people, conducted ten intensive one-on-one interviews with diocesan leaders, and met extensively with me. I’m thankful for their thorough work and experienced recommendations, which have provided me with both new perspectives and confirmation of ideas I’ve developed since becoming your bishop.
The report indicates that you, the people of the diocese, are enthusiastic about our diocese’s renewed energy and vision, but that you know we must restructure to make best use of our energy and resources to promote vitality in our congregations and to further God’s work in the world. The report also offers your wisdom about how I can leverage my gifts and skills to be a spiritual leader, pastor, and evangelist to our churches and the wider community in Chicago and Northern Illinois. I’m grateful beyond measure for your confidence in me and your passion for our ministry together.
I will proceed with restructuring the diocesan office and the bishop’s staff as efficiently and pastorally as possible, and in close consultation with the Standing Committee, mindful both that we are expanding our potential for mission and ministry and that we must say goodbye to some staff members whose ministry with us will conclude as a result of this process. Please pray for them and for the entire staff during this transition.
As people of God, the most important work we have to do is to grow the church, form the faithful, and change the world. Restructuring our diocesan office is a means to that end and it will keep us busy for the next few months, but our hearts must remain tethered to God’s transforming love and what it makes possible in the world and the lives of the people we serve. You can expect to hear from me often about the details of restructuring, and when everything is done, I hope you will know that all of our effort has been in answer to God’s call and in service to the world.
Your Servant in Christ,
Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop of Chicago