[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs — Press Release] In the continuous pursuit to be good stewards while concurrently being responsive to the needs of the church membership at the local level, Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls has unveiled an organizational model for the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).
Additionally, Bishop Sauls announced that the second floor at 815 Second Ave. in New York which currently houses Church Center staff will be leased to a new tenant, while negotiations are underway for other spaces in the 11-story building.
Bishop Sauls presented this information to the staff at a special meeting on March 27.
He stressed that the new model and the new lease will not result in any reduction in workforce.
The new model allows for the recognition that every DFMS staff member is dedicated to mission work, no matter what the job responsibility.
“Everything we do is about mission,” Bishop Sauls explained. “It is about engaging mission, supporting mission, and maximizing resources for mission.”
The new model will provide a missional understanding of the staff’s work at all levels. DFMS departments are remaining the same, but terminology is being reoriented to focus on mission as the priority.
All DFMS staff will have new designations to reflect staff functions:
- Mission Leadership (formerly known as the Executive Oversight Group)
- Mission Networking (formerly known as program staff)
- Mission Support (formerly known as administration)
- Mission Administration (formerly known as administrative assistants)
Of particular note is the move to assign a staff member to serve as a liaison to the Episcopal Church dioceses and regional areas. “We are reorienting the work of the staff to support and strengthen the local instead of function independently of the local,” Sauls explained. “Every diocese and regional area in the Episcopal Church will have a Mission Networking staff member for making resources — human and financial — available at the churchwide level to support and encourage mission at the local level in partnership with the local level. My goal is to have spoken with every diocesan bishop by June about assigning a networking liaison to each diocese and region.”
Additionally, Bishop Sauls is leading a study to discern and develop effective models for staff to work off-site/remotely. “The goal is to have the networking staff especially be more connected to, responsive to, and accessible to local leaders,” said Sauls.
Bishop Sauls explained that the second floor was specifically requested by the new tenant because it has a private entrance/exit. “This will benefit us because the new tenant’s occupancy will not increase traffic in the lobby or on the elevators,” he explained.
Bishop Sauls expects to name the tenant shortly.
The leasing of the second floor will provide nearly $380,000 of new revenue in the first 12 months.
The additional floor has been made available for rent by using space more efficiently, which allows consolidation of existing offices. Some staff offices will be re-located within the Church Center in New York City with some staff working remotely. These moves will occur in April.
Additionally, Bishop Sauls believes another half floor can be made available to tenants. Some prospective tenants have already inquired and inspected offices that could be made available.
This new lease/tenant does not impact the current conversation on the future of the Church Center. “These actions have no bearing on the building report that was presented at the February Executive Council meeting,” Bishop Sauls stressed, adding that the new lease is coterminous with existing leases with current tenants, which means that “the ability to sell the building, if Executive Council should so decide, is not impaired.”
“We are looking at the building as one of the many assets God has given us for mission. Leasing space is a way to generate the maximum real estate potential to increase revenue for mission,” Bishop Sauls said. “In turn, we are utilizing the space for the DFMS staff in ways that are intended to enhance the work of the staff in serving the church.”
The new model and the new tenant do not increase the operating expenses of the budget as approved by General Convention 2012.