July has brought a season of change to the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries also known as OFYAM. Unexpectedly two of our cherished staff members announced their departure from our office.
Effective June 24th, Sarah Hedgis resigned as the Director of the Episcopal Mission Center to accept a new position as an Associate Priest at the Philadelphia Cathedral. Sarah was ordained to the priesthood in the Cathedral last year, and this opportunity allows her to follow her call to serve a parish and fully live in to that ministry. As the Director for the EMC she developed the curriculum and staff for our summer Mission Program. She has done inspired work in helping us define and shape this important formation and outreach ministry by having discipleship inform and guide our outreach!
Lindsay Barrett-Adler resigned her position as Associate for Young Adult Ministries and Servant Year Program Director effective July 8. Lindsay faithfully served the Diocese of Pennsylvania for five years, first as a member of Servant Year and served on its Board of Directors before becoming its Program Director in 2013. Her own service gave her first hand experience that guided her in this ministry, and under her leadership our program tripled in size, added youth, church and school partnerships and overhauled the formation program. She leaves us to take a position with the Development Team at Green Street Friends School. Its commitment to diversity and equality mirror the goals of Servant Year.
We are sad that Sarah and Lindsay will not be with us but we are grateful for their ministries with OFYAM. We send them on with our blessings and good wishes as they move forward on their journeys.
To help us navigate this time of transition we are pleased to announce that Jan Berry-Schroeder, who had served as Interim Director for OFYAM during Andrew Kuhn's paternity leave, has agreed to stay on and serve as Interim Missioner for Missional Living and work with the EMC and Servant Year Programs. Jan has a Master's degree in counseling and served for 8 years as a Director for Youth and Family Ministry at the parish level. Certified by FORMA in Youth and Family Ministry Jan brings with her extensive experience in program design, planning, and management as well as curriculum development and implementation.
We did have to make one timely decision. This year's Servant Year members experienced challenges that needed long-term solutions and some of our current corps members even felt that the program needed to take a year off. We were working with them to address identified issues in housing, placements and formation and it became clear that we needed the next year to get the best solutions in place. When Lindsay's departure came within a month of the new year start, we made the difficult decision to not offer Servant Year during the 2016-17-program year. We erred on the side of getting things done completely right instead of quickly and incompletely. We determined that we did not fully live up to our Servant Year pillars of community, service, and formation. We will continue to work diligently and methodically so that the programs we offer fully meet the needs of its members and reflect our diocesan values and mission
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us "to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven", and with every change there is opportunity. We look forward to where God is leading us in this ministry serving the needs of our parishes, clergy and laity.