November 17, 2014
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
Last month, I wrote to you about our need to reduce the diocesan operations budget, make the staff structure more sustainable, and focus our work more fully on creating vital congregations. Today I am pleased to tell you that the Ven. Rick Cluett, archdeacon emeritus, has agreed to assist me in this work by returning for a time to the post from which he retired a decade ago. I am grateful for his dedication to our diocese and his willingness to serve.
Because Rick is retired and receiving health coverage and other benefits from the Church Pension Fund, he will be able to serve full time as archdeacon for approximately half of the cost normally associated with this position. As archdeacon, he will assist me in a variety of ways, including serving as the diocese’s chief of staff, advising about the development and implementation of diocesan policies and programs, visiting and worship with congregations to support their ministry and mission, and assisting clergy in their ministry. He begins his new position on November 20.
Before serving as archdeacon from 1984-2004, Rick served as rector of St. Margaret’s Church in Emmaus and in parishes in New York and Maryland. Since his retirement, he has served as chaplain to retired clergy and families and as the bishop’s representative for world mission. He was interim dean of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity in 2005-6. In the wider church, he has been deputy to the Presiding Bishop for reorganizing dioceses, a conference leader and consultant for CREDO Institute, and project manager of Strength for the Journey, a program that assisted dioceses that were reorganizing after their bishops and many clergy departed the Episcopal Church. He is a graduate of Hobart College and Virginia Theological Seminary.
Since I talked with you at convention about the need to reduce the budget, diocesan staff members have already begun to identify potential cost savings, streamline workflow and technology, and improve business practices. I expect to write to you again by the end of 2014 to tell you more about which staff members will handle existing and new programs, initiatives, and administrative functions.
Advent is nearly upon us, and with it comes a sense of holy anticipation at what God has in store for us and for our ministry here in the Diocese of Bethlehem. My prayers are with Rick, with all of our staff and leaders who are working to build a sustainable future, and with all of you and your commitment to our shared ministry.
Sean Rowe (The Rt. Rev.)