Through the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, The Rev. Adam Greene, Episcopal School of Jacksonville Head of School and the diocese’s Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership invited diocesan clergy to participate in a three-part series on leadership held November through January.
The virtual forums provided an opportunity for collective sharing and learning that explored “Leaning into the Call,” “Leadership in a Time of Crisis and Challenge,” and “Navigating Polarities.” The forums were facilitated by The Rev. Adam Greene, Dale Beaman of Beaman Coaching & Company, LLC, and The Rev. Cn. Dr. Douglas Dupree of The Bishop’s Institute for Ministry and Leadership.
“Leaning into the Call” focused on the initial call to ministry and a reflection on where clergy now find themselves. A recent Christianity Today article stated that the pandemic has continued to take its toll on church leaders, with 38% of clergy considering leaving the ministry. The forum delved into this topic, exploring the biggest leadership challenges during the pandemic and in a time of unrest.
“A consistent theme that emerged from the interviews is that the clergy like to share and learn from one another. In interviewing Adam Greene, we were both struck by the uniqueness of his call and the leadership skills he exercised to steer Episcopal School of Jacksonville through the worst months of the pandemic,” said Douglas. “These two things – the clergy’s desire to share and learn from another, and Adam’s testimony of leadership – led us to think Adam would be an ideal facilitator to develop a really good leadership conversation amongst the clergy. That’s how the three-part leadership series was launched.”
Rev. Greene shared his call and unique career path – from his many years in international banking and corporate finance to school leadership – to illustrate the uniqueness that each clergy member brings to their own organization. Rev. Greene’s background has provided Episcopal School of Jacksonville a very positive philosophy for success through the pandemic – “how,” not “if.” The school’s more than 1,300 students learned in person and on campus across Episcopal’s four pillars from the fall of 2020 through the current semester under Rev. Greene’s leadership.
Small panels of additional clergy joined Rev. Greene for the final two Zoom forums. The Rev. Greene, The Rev. Canon Wiley Ammons, Rector, Redeemer (Jacksonville), The Rev. Matt Marino, Rector, Trinity Parish (St. Augustine), and The Rev. Lisa Meirow, Rector, St. Andrew’s (Jacksonville) discussed “Leadership in a Time of Crisis” and participants enjoyed small group breakout sessions. With congregations in disagreement over management of the pandemic, members not returning to church, and ongoing challenges facing clergy, the topic facilitated helpful discussion and useful advice for participants.
“I am thankful for the Bishop’s Institute for providing this forum and creating a space for dialogue to take place about some of our largest challenges. And these are challenges faced by all of us, no matter where or how we are serving,” said the Rev. Greene. “Hearing from others on strategies and ideas really helped us to move forward with a new perspective and the understanding that we are not alone in our endeavors.”
For “Navigating Polarities,” Rev. Greene was joined by The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral (Jacksonville), and The Rev. Joe Gibbes, Rector of the Church of our Saviour (Mandarin). The three lead the discussion and explored challenges faced by clergy in managing polarities and different value systems, as well as bringing vitality to those served during the midst of these challenges. Rev. Greene shared his philosophy of steering our Episcopal ship down the middle of the channel to avoid rocks or pitfalls on either side, and focusing on a single goal that all could agree upon – ensuring students were loved, supported and learning on campus as safely as possible.
The three panels were attended by several dozen clergy members and Diocesan administrators.