October 31, 2011
On September 1, I wrote to you about our executive team search and said that I hoped to have the new team in place by Diocesan Convention. I am very glad to tell you that we have met that goal with nearly three weeks to spare.
Late last week, I extended offers to three talented people who have all agreed to join the bishop’s staff at the Diocese of Chicago. Please join me in welcoming my new executive team:
Director of Ministries: The Rev. Jim Steen, who currently serves as associate for congregations and administration, will become our director of ministries. Jim’s passion for congregational ministry and vision for the church of the future are familiar to many of you, and he has been an invaluable support to me during our diocesan restructuring. I am very grateful to him for agreeing to continue his service.
Jim served as rector of St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church from 1998-2010, a period of extraordinary growth for that congregation, and has also served congregations in Washington DC and New York City. Jim holds an MDiv from General Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University. Jim, the father of a grown son, lives in Hyde Park with his partner, Tom Chesrown. Learn more about Jim here.
Director of Networking: The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, who has been rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Syracuse, New York and Episcopal chaplain at Syracuse University since 2004, will become director of networking at the end of January 2012. I serve with Jennifer on the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church, and have come to admire her keen listening, articulate questioning, and passion for creating a church for the next generations.
Jennifer was previously director of alumni and church relations at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, from which she holds an MDiv. She is also a graduate of Smith College and holds an MA from Cornell University in historic preservation planning. Jennifer, a triathlete, blogs at Cookin’ in the ‘Cuse, is an editor at Edible Finger Lakes magazine and has been published in the anthology Bread, Body, Spirit. She will be moving to Chicago with her husband, Harrison, their ten-month old son, Timothy, and a miniature dachshund, Chase, who I’m told is famous around the church. Learn more about Jennifer here.
Director of Operations: Courtney Reid, currently senior director of organizational effectiveness at the Center on Halsted, a community center for Chicago’s LGBT community, will become director of operations on November 14. Courtney, who is a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Ravenswood, impressed me with her skill and experience, but especially with her enthusiasm and passion for ministry.
Courtney has worked in management at Chicago-area health and social service non-profit organizations for fifteen years. She holds a BA from the College of William and Mary and an MDiv from Yale University. She has done work at the Center for Non-Profit Management at Northwestern University and earned a certificate in non-profit financial accounting. Courtney and her partner, Pam, live on the north side of Chicago with their three young daughters. Learn more about Courtney here.
As you can imagine, the prospect of working with these gifted people has ignited in me a new sense of possibility and a passion for our work together. I’m looking forward to seeing you at Diocesan Convention and sharing the fire.
I owe thanks for overseeing this search to Anna Stefaniak, our excellent associate for human resources, and to those who helped with interviews, including Standing Committee member M.E. Eccles, Congregations Commission co-chairs Andrea Mysen and Steve Godfrey, Chancellor Todd Young, Lonn Myers of Bishop and Trustees, Alvaro Áraica of the Hispanic Affairs Committee, Idida Pérez of the Anti-Racism Commission, and Canticle Communications partners Rebecca Wilson and Jim Naughton.
Thanks, too, to all of you who have continued to advance the mission of the diocese as we searched for new leaders. Please pray for our new team and welcome them to our ministry.
Jeffrey D. Lee