New Director of Communication for ECUSA

As some 7WD readers know, I served on the search committee for the Director of Communications of the Episcopal Church. Today the announcement has been made: Ms. Anne Rudig has been named as the new director. I was (and am!) delighted to add my voice to those of our committee in recommending her to our Presiding Bishop and our Chief Operating Officer.

Anne brings much experience to the job (you can get a sense of that in the linked article). More important than that, she has a contagious passion for telling the story of who we are as Episcopalians. She is comfortable talking about her faith and sharing what the church — and what Jesus — has done for her and her family. She has a big vision for what our church can be, and she is eager to lead us in as we seek to tell our story to the whole world.

There are already some outstanding journalists (we’re talking Pulitzers!) and other talented staff at 815. The editor of Episcopal Life, Solange de Santis, has done great things and will continue to do so I believe. What we were seeking was someone who could work with the leaders of our church and the staff of 815 to craft a broad communications strategy for the Episcopal Church. We did not want someone who would polish up what we’ve done before, but someone who might take us in bold new directions.

Communicating who we are is more important than ever. Our church attendance is shrinking. The actions of secessionists get us in the news for our internal struggles. To be sure, whacky leftists do their fair share to earn us a place in the headlines too.

We need someone who can lead us in telling the Good News to the whole world. It goes without saying that we need to tell the Good News, not just good news. That is, our struggles and our failures are part of who we are, and we need to share those stories too. Mostly, we need to talk about the saving power of Jesus Christ and the unique charism the Episcopal Church brings to the world.

Finally, it was a pleasure to serve on the search committee. Every time I gather with Episcopalians, I am amazed at the deep reservoir of talent and faith that can be found in our church. (Now, only if we could tell some people about that!) To disabuse the conspiracy theorists out there of any ideas, we operated under no restrictions from the PB and COO. We were told to find up to three people and recommend them for the job. We reviewed giant piles of resumes, asked very hard questions on paper, and grilled some finalists in person. In the end, we reached a strong consensus. And we had a great time doing the work.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing where Anne will take our communication efforts. She’ll be off to a quick start, with a Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and then General Convention in 2009. You go, Anne!

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3 Responses

  1. Lisa Fox says:

    I hope you are right, and I pray God’s blessings upon our new Communications Director.

    But Linda Watt has decimated TEC’s communications office — destroying most of the real journalists in our church center and anyone who wanted to use new media in ways that are helpful to our church.

    I pray Anne will be able to withstand the hideous force that Linda Watt has introduced at 815.

  2. Scott Gunn says:

    Lisa,

    I’d be interested to know more about your claims that Linda Watt has “decimated” TEC’s communication department. I know Jan Nunley left, and I do not know the story of why or whether or not Linda Watt had anything to do with that. Perhaps I am naive, but I am unaware of anything that Linda has done to reduce communication staffing.

    I can’t speak beyond my experience, but I have understood her to be an eminently reasonable person. When the decision was made (I still do not know by whom) to not have an editor of Episcopal Life, Linda agreed to a conference call with the Board of Governors (of which I am one) of Episcopal Life. We made the case for why this was a lousy decision. She was very quick to find funds for the position. While there have been changes in the department, I do not understand them to have had much to do with her. Perhaps you have other info.

    To be sure, the department is not staffed the way it was several years ago, but I think maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps not. I don’t have the full picture.

    Peace,
    Scott

  3. Malcolm says:

    So glad to see that the person hired for a senior strategic communications position actually has a background in strategic communications. Certainly a refreshing change.

    My principle source of income is my secular work as a communications professional, and I am routinely dismayed in dealing with those who seem to think that anyone can do effective communications, training, planning or vision be damned. I left a previous position because the communications function was marginalized and subverted.

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