18 August 2009

Gratitude for a Colleague

Dear Colleagues in Youth Ministry,

With deep gratitude for her all too brief ministry with us, I write of Sheryl Poole’s departure from the staff at the Episcopal Church Center. Sheryl has faithfully served as an Associate Program Officer for Youth Ministry for over a year in the Center for Evangelism and Congregational Life. She has worked at the Church Center for many years and is well loved and appreciated for her compassion, attention to detail, work ethic, and friendly smile. Her position was eliminated in the most recent management staff reduction as a result of deep budget cuts that emerged at General Convention in July. Her final day in the office will be Friday, August 28.

I have found Sheryl to be invaluable in helping me navigate all manner of work related technicalities, staffing configurations, and partnerships at the Church Center in New York. During my first set of meetings as the new Program Officer for Lifelong Christian Formation and Youth she welcomed me and toured me around the office at 815 Second Avenue introducing me to as many members of the staff as we could find. As a result of Sheryl’s warmth and grace I, too, was welcomed warmly by my new colleagues. Sheryl is one of over 35 staff members departing in the wake of this budget cut. This is a difficult and emotional time church wide for those preparing to depart and find employment elsewhere, and for those who remain in a very different work environment than that to which we are accustomed. Please keep us in your prayers as we discern, adapt, and find new ways to join in God’s mission in the world as Episcopalians. Most importantly, please be faithful in your prayers and generous in your support for the unemployed, whoever they may be.

I continue to work with Sheryl as she completes her exit strategy, gaining as much knowledge and information as I can. The remaining members of our program staff, Ruth-Ann Collins, Jeffri Harre, Sarah Johnson and I continue to meet and learn more about budget and GC resolution implications. We look forward to convening with the Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators (PYMC) network and the Episcopal Council of Christian Educators (ECCE) network this September.

Please direct all Youth Ministry inquiries to me as of today. Sheryl is transitioning to her completion of tasks in this final nine days of her time in our office and will not be responding to any new inquiries. With her amazing grace she recently shared the following words with me and the Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators, “My time here is finished and I am off to embark on another journey. I wish you all much success in your careers, personal lives, and spiritual journeys.”

Please join me in prayers for Sheryl, wishing her, too, all the best and success in her career, personal life, and spiritual journey.



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