There have been some changes in the diocesan staff and in the staff of the Center for Reconciliation (CFR). We are welcoming Kristin Knudson-Groh to the diocesan staff and bidding Godspeed and farewell to Elon Cook Lee.
Kristin is joining my staff to serve as communications director in a moment when we’re in the process of re-evaluating the way we do communications ministry in Rhode Island. Some of you will recognize her name, because she grew up here in Rhode Island and her father served in churches here— particularly All Saints, Pontiac. I’m delighted to welcome Kristin to the staff. Dave Seifert and others associated with the communications ministry are going to continue their work with us as well. The plan is to do a broad re-evaluation of what will best serve the needs of the congregations across the state, and to this end we are working to increase our capacity. Although the Rev. Gillian Barr served in a part-time capacity, Kristin will be working full-time. But we’re also in conversation with some vendors and other experts about how to increase the role of our website, social media and earned media (press reports) in our work to share the good news of what God is doing here in Rhode Island. This will probably take a couple of years to work through, and Kristin will have a key role in that process.
But as we welcome Kristin, we are simultaneously saying goodbye to Elon, who has been with the CFR from its beginning. She has been key to getting that organization up and running, moving from a resolution at Diocesan Convention to a nonprofit that is producing multiple programs a week and reaching out across the state. Elon was a brilliant teacher and helped many of us reconsider our own understanding of our story by including the ignored and forgotten stories of the enslaved and the marginalized. She has an incredible gift for doing this work through presenting artifacts from our history and inviting us to reflect on their meaning within the larger national and regional narrative. She is taking a new position with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., as director of interpretation and education. On behalf of all of connected with the CFR and all of us across the diocese, we say thank you and congratulations!
Debra Sharpe, the CFR executive director, and the CFR Board of Directors will be working during the next months to continue the legacy that Elon made possible, and to look for new ways that we can fulfill the mandate that was given us by Diocesan Convention when the organization was created. There are many ways to support that work, and you can learn more about those and the programs being offered at the CFR’s website.
In a season of change, one thing remains the same: our work to proclaim the truth of Jesus and his life to the community in which we live. Jesus has the ability to change lives and reclaim what was lost. Kristin will help us share that good news, just as Elon showed us how to present it in a way that included all of the voices and experience of the full spectrum of God’s children.