In the last several weeks, Bishop Wayne Smith and the Rev. John Johanssen, canon to the ordinary, have led a reorganization of the bishop’s staff designed to increase efficiency and clarity for leaders in the diocese who interact with staff members.
The impetus for the change, Canon Johanssen said, was the conclusion of an operational collaboration with Christ Church Cathedral that began in 2018. In May, Bishop Smith and Dean Owen Thompson wrote to diocesan and cathedral leaders to announce that they had decided to eliminate the joint position of operations executive, and that Carine de Lange, who had held the position since its inception, would join the cathedral staff as operations executive on June 1.
“While the partnership benefited both the cathedral and diocese in some ways, we ultimately determined that our daily operations often have different priorities and different goals,” Bishop Smith said. “The conclusion of the partnership gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the diocesan staff to support more fully and more efficiently the ministry of congregations. I am glad to make these changes in advance of the bishop search.”
The end of the cathedral partnership necessitated new leadership in financial oversight for the diocese. Bishop Smith has appointed Christine Perme, who was previously comptroller, as chief financial officer and the Rev. David Getreu as canon for finance and budget. Getreu, who is also rector of St. Paul’s, Chillicothe and St. Philip’s, Circleville, will serve as liaison to the diocese’s governance bodies. Susan Byrnside, an accountant on the bishop’s staff since 2013, has been promoted to senior accountant, and two new accounting and payroll staff members, Kelly Whitaker, who manages accounts payable and Lori Crenshaw, who handles payroll and benefits, have been hired. Both Matt Hornsby, who oversees facilities, and Andrea Owens, administrative assistant, will continue to split their time between the diocese and the cathedral.
Becoming Beloved Community, the diocese’s reconciliation ministry, has also been given a more central place in the diocese’s formation ministry, Johanssen said. “Becoming Beloved Community needs to inform and infuse everything we do in the diocese,” he said. “This reorganization will make that more possible, and I am grateful to the BBC leaders whose work and witness are changing our culture to make it more just and more inclusive.”
Consultant Amy Howton, who leads the program along with a leadership team of lay and clergy leaders, will now work with the Rev. Jason Oden, canon for formation and new Episcopal communities. A new missioner for Black ministries is also being hired this summer. Oden will also work closely with the leaders of the diocese’s other formation initiatives.
The diocese’s communications efforts have also been reorganized. Julie Murray, who has served on the diocesan staff since 2003, has been named canon for communications and community engagement. She will work with Canticle Communications, a firm Bishop Smith engaged earlier this year to help lead diocesan communications, and will also coordinate diocesan convention, oversee information technology functions, and support congregations in their communications ministries.
One other key staff change is already in place. The Rev. Michael Spencer, who joined the diocese in March as canon for transitions and congregational ministry, is also overseeing human resources for the diocesan staff. Spencer, who was canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan for nine years before moving to Cincinnati earlier this year, has considerable human resource experience and will be able to handle both clergy and diocesan staff recruitment and benefits efficiently, Johanssen said.
Find a new diocesan staff organizational chart on the website.