By Stuart Mann
Janet Marshall is the new director of the diocese’s Congregational Development department. She will begin on Oct. 1.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be coming on board at this time,” says Ms. Marshall, a member of St. Timothy, North Toronto. “There’s so much potential for fresh vision and energy in the diocese.”
The Congregational Development department helps parishes become active, healthy communities of hope and faith. It provides consultation, facilitation, training and education through a variety of programs, including Natural Church Development and Fresh Start. Staff and volunteers help with parish reconfigurations and realignments, parish selection committees and missional church initiatives.
Ms. Marshall brings a wealth of experience to the job. Over the past 25 years, she has worked with the Anglican, United, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches. She is currently the director of the Centre for Church Development and Leadership at the Toronto United Church Council.
Although she has worked at every level of the Church, she has spent most of her time helping parishes, a job she clearly enjoys. “I’ve spent countless number of hours and been able to get to know deeply what the heart of these places are, the challenges they’re feeling and facing, and with them finding ways to create new life, new hope and creative ways of reaching out and connecting with the world that we’re called to serve,” she says.
Ms. Marshall was on the staff of the diocese’s Program Resources department (now named Congregational Development) from 1991 to 2004 and is looking forward to returning to work for the diocese. “It feels like I’m coming home,” she says. “I chose to be an Anglican when I was in my early twenties, and it feels wonderful to be able to come home and work again with the community that has meant so much to me over so many years.”
She says her first goal as director is to enhance the resources provided by Congregational Development. “I believe every leader, lay or ordained, should be supported in their skills and confidence for leadership for the changes the Church is facing these days.”
She is inspired by the possibilities. “The diocese is blessed with tremendously gifted, innovative and wise people who have a real heart for creating a Church that can invite people to know Jesus and share God’s kingdom with others,” she says. “It’s going to be a time of fresh energy, fresh ideas. It’s an opportunity to look at what the diocese has been doing over the past number of years, learn from that and shape the next generation.”
Angela Hantoumakos, the diocese’s executive director, says she is delighted with the appointment. “Janet brings to the diocese a wealth of subject matter expertise in facilitation, field-based research, training, strategic analysis and planning with diverse congregations, dioceses and presbyteries. It is with immense pleasure that I welcome Janet ‘home’ to the diocese and look so forward to working with her and supporting her in her ministry.”