Introducing Wendy!

It’s no secret that we have a wonderful and capable social media director keeping the blogs rolling and the Twitter feed tweeting and the Facebook sites posting for all offices of the Formation and Vocation Ministries Team.

summer_camp_wendy

Wendy Johnson has been on contract part-time with us for the past six months helping to develop our media plan and to assist in covering the communications gap during our search for the new Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry. As we launch into the new program year we felt it might be helpful for you to “meet” her more formally since we recently renewed her contract.

Wendy worked for the Youth Ministries office as consultant for all of the EYE’11 transportation logistics and 3 Days of Mission, and she compiled and produced the final report for the event.

Her interface with our in-house communications team is pretty seamless and we contracted her again to manage media and communications for the 2012 General Convention Official Youth Presence (GCOYP). She also compiled our team’s report on all of our General Convention 2012 activities including the GCOYP, Children’s Program, Young Adult Festival, and Youth Booth.

Wendy is mother of three and actively homeschools her youngest daughter as her two older sons are wrapping up their high school careers more rapidly than she desires. She and her husband travel when time and children permit. This past summer, Wendy won an award to travel to Poland with Holocaust survivor, Eva Kor, to develop curriculum to facilitate future pilgrimages of Christian youth groups to Auschwitz in the year 2015 (the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation). Watch the videos from the trip on her Vimeo channel.

A background in political science, passion and skill in youth and young adult ministry, combined with her curiosity and competence with social media make her an excellent match for the current needs of our team. She is a strategic thinker, a thoughtful editor, and an energetic worker. We couldn’t be more blessed to have her on board.

Please join us in thanking Wendy for sharing her passion and skills with us. She will be working with us on EYE again and looks forward to receiving guest blog posts and links to story ideas and resources from all of you.

Please help us grow our network by staying connected and pointing the way when you see the Spirit at work in the church, in our communities, and across the globe.

On behalf of the Formation and Vocation Ministries Team,

Bronwyn Clark Skov

Applications now being accepted for Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry

As the Mission Department and Formation and Vocation Ministries Team are preparing to say farewell to our friend and colleague Jason Sierra at the end of this month, we are also praying for the discernment process that will determine his successor as Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry.

Below is the text from the news release announcing the application process. Please join us un prayer, distribute the invitation to your networks, and offer gratitude for the amazing ministry we have enjoyed during Jason’s tenure with the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of The Episcopal Church.

We will miss him. Yet, we wish him well in his MBA program at Duke.

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Applications accepted for DFMS
Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry

[Tuesday, June 25, 2013] Applications are now being accepted for the position of Missioner for Young Adult and Campus Ministry on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).

This position reflects the priorities of Episcopal Church General Convention 2012 and focus on the Five Marks of Mission.

The position is full-time and does not require relocation.

Information on this and all the positions as well as application instructions are available here.

For more information contact a member of the Episcopal Church Human Resources Team at HRM@episcopalchurch.org.

Youth Ministry job openings

jobsEaster season always seems to bring with it a bustle of activity that in Youth Ministry often feels like a sprint to the finish of the school year with a simultaneous push to finalize summer mission, camp, and pilgrimage plans.

In the midst of all of this transition it is also the season for transitions in professional youth ministry positions. I am pleased to note there are many openings out there right now.

The Youth Ministries desk in our office does not have a mechanism to post job openings, but the Office for Transition Ministry does, as does the Episcopal Digital Network. Click here for the link to the free job listings if you have an opening, and click here if you’re looking for a job.

I also highly recommend listing with our partner professional organization for Lifelong Christian Formation, Forma. Here is the link to their Jobs Corner posting form, and her is a link to their list of open positions.

I encourage you to join in prayers for faithful discernment and strategic calls for these positions.

Rising generations are depending upon us!

Office for Transition Ministry

Frequent questions to the Youth Ministry Office not only include questions about wage and benefit guidelines (see Youth Ministry Salaries), but also about job searches. Organizations want to post and advertise open positions, and youth ministries professionals want to know where to look for openings. The Youth Ministries office is not equipped to handle these logistics. Fortunately there is an office with expertise in the area of gifts discernment and career opportunities within the Episcopal Church. I encourage you to read the invitation below from my colleague in our office, Tori Duncan. I have almost completed my Ministry Portfolio and am happy to share my experience if you are curious. I am hopeful that we can fully engage with the Office For Transition Ministries to help further legitimize professional lay ministry and to take advantage of this church wide network in discerning employment opportunities. 

I am hoping that you will communicate with the youth leaders of The Episcopal Church on my behalf that they are welcome and encouraged to register with the Office for Transition Ministry, thereby receiving access to a Ministry Portfolio and our database. Many positions are posted in and searched through our system, and I would like to have known as many leaders in your networks as possible! The OTM Ministry Portfolio emphasizes gifts and skills, experience and call from God as the key factors to discern possible candidates for a position, and I know your colleagues would enrich our database significantly. This seems like a win-win opportunity for the Church!

Individuals may register with our Office using the link on the OTM Portfolio landing page at: www.otmportfolio.org, or via a link on the Transition Ministry page of The Episcopal Church’s website: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/transition-ministry.  Once the request for registration is submitted, we will provide the appropriate process to the individual directly. We request a lay leader have the Lay Certification form signed by his/her bishop, and require confirmation of canonical residence and good standing by clergy.

Thanks for helping me spread the word that the OTM Portfolio is not just for clergy registrants. We currently have over 16,000 individuals (both lay and ordained) registered, and believe that the richness and value of the tool comes with the participation of our gifted colleagues in ministry. Thank you!

The Rev. Victoria Duncan, Office for Transition Ministry

And for those not yet engaged with the Office for Transition Ministries, Forma is doing a pretty amazing job of tracking openings at their Jobs Corner here.

Faithfully,

Bronwyn Clark Skov, Officer for Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry Salaries

Compensation
Salary.
Benefits?
What is “full-time?”
What are others paid for church work; lay or ordained?

These are key questions that bubble up perennially, and especially when budgets are being structured and mutual ministry reviews and performance evaluations are being set up, and positions are being newly created or vacancies need to be filled.  I offer the following ideas in the hopes they might be helpful to you.

I encourage you to interact with our own Episcopal Office for Transition Ministry (formerly Church Deployment Office/CDO). My colleague who serves as the Officer for this area, Tori Duncan, has assured me that lay professionals are under-represented. We all need to sign-in and create/update profiles. We also need to encourage our congregations and dioceses to use this office to post openings and search for potential ministry matches. A lot is happening in the way of updates and upgrades in this office. Please check out the site by clicking here and contact Tori (vduncan@episcopalchurch.org) if you have questions or need help. Soon I will be sharing a post from Tori with more information and details, so stay tuned!

Congregations should be in touch with their own bishop’s office to make sure they are in compliance with applicable federal and state employment law as well as working within the guidelines required by Church Pension Group and Safeguarding God’s People policies.

The Forma network (www.episcoforma.org )is also doing some great work in collecting information and advising and consulting organizations and individuals about employment within the church. I strongly encourage membership/partnership with Forma for all church professionals working in the field of Christian Formation and Education.

Finally I offer a few thoughts of my own from the perspective of 20 years in the youth ministry trenches as a part-timer in a small congregation, to working in more than one parish at a time, to serving as a diocesan staff member. These are my own observations and opinions and do not represent any official pronouncement of any kind. I offer them faithfully, thoughtfully, compassionately, and with hope.

Lay Ministry as a church professional is every bit as much a call to ministry as that of an ordained person. Often the two are in concert. Often they are not. Employers should seek information on comparable secular compensation in geographic regions and level of education. One could argue that a seminary education can be assumed for clergy employees, however more and more priests are being formed in contexts other than traditional seminary settings; some are non-stipendiary and unable to mobilize to another congregation, some have been called to other congregations and receive compensation. These are reasonable factors to consider when discerning salaries and compensation packages.

For youth ministry specifically we are often inadvertently and ignorantly under-compensated for a number of reasons.

Much of our ministry is unseen like communication w/ parents, youth and volunteers
The visible ministry looks more like fun than work from the outside – Happening, Mission Trips, Movie Nights, Fund-raising. (Whee!) People question the seriousness of our work and often treat it as proving grounds for ordained ministry rather than a call to lifelong lay ministry.

I’m sure you could name more. All of these dynamics set youth ministers up to be paid for far fewer hours than they actually work, and for not being honored with Sabbath Time for rest and renewal and reconnection with family and friends, or Continuing Education time for professional development and connecting with colleagues.

When negotiating my own contracts I have insisted on a few simple guidelines for myself and my employer:

I should be paid more than the average middle or high school teacher in my community – their salary is based on nine months of work, mine is based on 12. Please take into account education and years of experience. I am entitled to pension and health benefits.
Overnights do count as hours worked within a week – it is not only time that I am away from my family, it is also time when I am responsible for other people’s’ children, their health and well-being, TWENTY-FOUR hours a day from our event beginning to end. I usually take those extra hours as Sabbath time rather than overtime pay, especially if I’m not eligible for additional compensation due to exempt employee status.

I request two weeks of paid time off for continuing education; those opportunities should be paid by my employer to attend conferences, meetings, or participate in on-line or in-person institutional learning. A practice that I learned early on is to seek one continuing ed opportunity that appeals to my personal sense of ministry, and a second experience that my congregations agrees I need to work on to benefit the ministry in the faith community I serve.

Negotiate a sabbatical – look to the clergy guidelines in your diocese and request paid time away for sabbatical after a certain number of years served full-time on a staff. This can be a sticky wicket, but it is the standard for clergy and should be a standard for lay professionals engaged in positions that include responsibilities for education, formation, and pastoral care. I have never made this a deal-breaker for employment. I was never granted a sabbatical in 14 years of ministry in one congregation, however none of that position was ever full-time. In my diocesan position I was all prepped to go on sabbatical when I was called into this opportunity instead. So I am still praying and looking forward to a sabbatical some day and pray that you are granted one sooner!

I hope this is helpful information. Most of all, THANK YOU for engaging in this vital ministry. The church is blessed by your gifts and renewed with your passion for evangelizing our young people.

(Article updated from a 2009 post to an earlier version of this blog.)