A fundamental tenet of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers, the idea that individuals do not need a priestly intermediary to communicate with God. The other implication is that ministry doesn’t belong to the clergy, but to all of us who form the church, the body of Christ in the world. All of us — lay and clergy — work together as the church. And it takes all of us to keep the church vital.
One of the things we realized in creating our budget for 2023 is that we would need to cut ministerial positions by about 37 percent, because income was not able to support 2.7 full-time ministers (the positions that JT, Jane Anne, and I filled). So, we were blessed to find Marta Fioriti as our full-time settled associate minister to work alongside me as a colleague in ordained ministry. Things are going well with this model so far!
Our approach in Marta’s first two months is for us to both participate in at least part of each board, committee, and council meeting together. Part of the reason was that Marta needs to get to know our members and vice versa. Another purpose was to see how our boards and committees were operating and where one of us might be the most help.
Working together, Marta and I have planned a division of labor that is based on the current staffing structure, where the needs are, and the requirements of Plymouth’s constitution. It also reflects where our own skills and passions lie.
What have had to cut staffing for adult education, the position that Mark Lee filled in 16 hours a week and that Jane Anne later took over in 8 hours a week. The Christian Formation Board and their ministry teams are working hard to make this work with both forums and other studies. This is lay ministry at work!
The other shift, recommended by our consultant, John Wimberly, is that clergy relationships with boards will be more like coaches, rather than players on the field. Each of us will be in touch with a board, attending a part of their meetings, and will be available for consulting as needed. It may take a little getting used to, but we’re already on the way!
Marta and I wanted to share with you who will be doing what, which is a little different than it has been. It’s also critically important to recognize that Brooklyn McBride will be solo staff for the Christian Formation Board and that Phil Braudaway-Bauman will be solo staff for the Board of Trustees and the Budget & Finance Committee. So, here is our plan:
Supervision of Staff
Marta will supervise Brooklyn McBride
Hal continues as head of staff and will supervise Marta, Mark Heiskanen, and Phil Braudaway-Bauman (who supervises Barb Gregory and Anna Broskie).
Both Hal and Marta will provide emergency on-call care (anytime day or night!) and also will share general pastoral care as well. Feel free to call on either of us. (Reminder: If you are having surgery and would like a pre-op prayer, we’re happy to do that! And we’re happy to visit you in the hospital if you wind up there for any reason. But with HIPAA regulations, you need to let us know you are there, which hospital, and that you’d like a visit; we have no other way of knowing.)
Marta will support our lay caregiving teams: both the Congregational Visitors and Stephen Ministers
Boards, Committees, and Council
Marta will be the staff liaison with the Boards of Congregational Life, Deacons, and Outreach & Mission.
Hal will be the staff liaison with the Leadership Council, Board of Stewardship, and the Personnel and Nominating Committees.
Marta will preach on average once per month.
Hal will preach on average three Sundays a month.
This is a good occasion to remind all of us that Plymouth’s ministry does not belong just to Marta and me; it belongs to each of us. It’s part of what we commit to as members of Plymouth, and it also helps build a robust faith for each of us.
I am grateful to have each of you as a partner in ministry!