Bishop's Staff Transition
From Bishop Prince G. Singh
All Christians are called to discern and respond to God’s call in a dynamic manner—meaning constantly—to ensure that it is fresh with challenge, fulfillment and joy! When the Reverend Julie Cicora accepted my invitation to serve as Canon for Mission and Ministry in our Diocese, she did so with the understanding that this was going to be a vocation with a call to figure out many details given a changing Church in a changing culture. She came onboard my staff in the Fall of 2009 at a time when we had so many unknowns about opportunities and much clarity about the challenge of decline in our numbers almost everywhere in the Diocese. This was true for the whole Northeast region of the United States. Her number one priority was to help congregations discern and find godly clergy leaders who were passionate in spirituality, radical in hospitality, and who had a desire for collaborative and creative mission. The next challenge was to have them accept these calls to a region where weather is not the most attractive characteristic by any stretch of the imagination.
Julie was up for the challenge with her deep commitment to prayerfully walk with search committees and vestries, empowering and equipping them while making sure we called trusted and competent clergy. Over the past seven years she has been on top of that priority and has developed among other things a reputation for our Diocese to attract good talent from around the Church. There has been a huge turnover—for instance, only five of the forty five or so active clergy serve in congregations where they were when I was called to serve as your bishop. We have had several new calls. Each new call implies dynamic local (agency) leadership accompanying significant re-visioning, discernment and call processes. Our Diocese is blessed with talented and godly women and men who have responded to God’s call to serve with our congregations — in no small measure because of Julie’s efforts and leadership.
She now discerns a call to go back to her roots of ministry among those in the margins of society and Church. While we will miss her vibrant spirit and leadership on Diocesan staff we know she has done a remarkable job in answering God’s call faithfully. She leaves a transition ministry methodology and a vibrant congregational and missional development community in a healthier place with many gifted leaders who participate in these processes with greater clarity of focus.
I will personally miss a delightful and trusted colleague with a can-do attitude because of her insatiable trust and love for God. She has been gracious in flexibility about her departure date while she completes the projects on her plate and while we discern how her position is reimagined for the future. I will be communicating details about this process in the coming weeks. In the meantime, let us rejoice and give thanks for Julie’s leadership among us and offer prayers as she discerns and moves into a new call with Rural & Migrant Ministry and more.
May God bless her, Scott and their growing family of five grandchildren and more! ¡Adiós, friend!
Your servant in Christ,
From the Rev. Canon Julie Cicora
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May the light of Christ shine brightly in your hearts during this season of Epiphany! I’m writing to tell you that the Holy Spirit has been nudging me to pursue another call. Right before Christmas, the Rev. Richard Witt approached me about taking over as Interim Board President of Rural & Migrant Ministry. This created an issue for me, since my current role is time consuming and often reactionary (responding to transitions and needs of our congregation as they happen). My conversation with Richard started me down a path of discernment about my calling.
After spending time in prayer and with my spiritual director, I have discerned a call back to grassroots ministry. Part of that ministry will be spending time working with the good people of Rural & Migrant Ministry as the board chair. I have worked on and off the board for the past 16 years, and their programs are near and dear to my heart (see my Facebook and blog posts). In addition, I will continue to be open to the Holy Spirit. I’m interested in evangelism and potentially working with the church in this capacity.
I’m so grateful for having had the opportunity to serve the Bishop and the Diocese in this capacity. It has been a privilege to work so closely with the Bishop and the staff in order to support the work of congregations as they discern God’s calling for their community.
The Bishop and I have decided to keep my end date flexible in order to ensure a smooth transition and to make sure all the churches I’m currently supporting have a plan going forward. Please don’t hesitate to contact me and we will keep you informed as we determine a more specific time frame.
Julie A. Cicora