As your bishop, I have made the difficult decision to implement changes in my staff.
Effective today, November 6, 2020, I have ended the employment of the following staff people: The Rev. Vicki Hesse, Kimberly Pratt, Beth Rowley, and Eric Travis. I am grateful for the many years of service and dedication to our diocese that each one of these people has given. Each person has been offered a generous severance package, pastoral support and assistance with this transition.
While it is normative that new bishops make staff changes, I didn’t take these actions lightly, but deliberately; with deep prayer and a great deal of heart wrenching conversation. I know where I want us to go, how I want us to be, and I have a clear sense of the shape and characteristics of my staff that I will need to move our diocese forward. It was not easy for me to make these decisions, particularly in the midst of the pandemics that we as a community now struggle against; the continuing spread of COVID-19 and systemic racism, being foremost. That said, the pandemics made it even clearer that many of our previous ways of doing ministry must adapt and change to meet our current and future challenges.
On Thursday, November 12 at 5:00 p.m., we will host a Zoom Goodbye Toast and Gathering for the departing staff persons. The Rev. Eric Williams, member of the Standing Committee, will host the event and the link will be in the next issue of the Weekly Connection email. In addition, if you’d like to offer thoughts and thanks in writing to a specific departing staff person, you may do so here: Message for Eric, Message for Kim, Message for Beth, Message for Vicki. Your message will be directly conveyed to each person.
Beth, Eric, Vicki and Kim have been faithful servants and leaders in our diocese. I want to offer all of us the opportunity to thank them for their years of service. I know that you will, as well.
Please know that my staff and I will ensure that essential programs continue. If you have questions or concerns about a diocesan program please reach out to Canon Jo Ann Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be able to direct you to the staff person who will best be able to provide assistance.
In the upcoming days, I’ll have much more to say about the restructuring process and the goals in which I envision us achieving. Now, however, I want us to focus on saying goodbye to the people who have given so much to our diocese.
Please know that you all remain in my prayers.
All my Best,
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bonnie A. Perry
Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan