We write to share some exciting shifts occurring in the Foundry staff.
But first, a brief history: In 2017, Foundry received the assessment of a congregational consultant hired by the Board to perform an evaluation of our leadership systems, including lay servant leaders, lay staff, and clergy. We sought to strengthen Foundry’s capacity to support the ministries needed to nourish a vital and growing congregation.
One outcome of the assessment was a reorganization of the staff model. This included the Senior Pastor taking on both the role of Chief of Staff and a relatively large group of direct reports. The strategic vision was for this to be an interim role of 2-3 years to help achieve some of the longer-term objectives of the plan.
One of those objectives was to devote more resources to front-line clergy and staff to allow higher quality delivery of ministry and mission. As a result, for the past five years, Pastor Ginger has directly supervised 6-7 staff positions in addition to shouldering the more prophetic leadership and spiritual roles for which she was initially — and primarily — called to Foundry.
Over this time, Foundry has built increased leadership infrastructure and financial support, which now allows the expected re-adjustment of the Senior Pastor role. The Board has been very clear in their directive that it is time for this change, and have afforded Pastor Ginger the flexibility to devise the details of the new staff structure. No one at Pastor Ginger’s level of leadership should be expected to sustain this level of day-to-day supervisory responsibility while also carrying out necessary executive-level leadership functions.
The consequent staffing structure can be reviewed here. The following are key shifts and elements of the new structure:
Rev. Ben Roberts will become Foundry’s Executive Director of Program and Justice Ministries, reporting to Pastor Ginger. Pastor Ben will continue to oversee Foundry’s significant social justice work, supported by Social Justice Programs Manager Jackie Wright. Ben will also supervise the Director of Family Ministries, Director of Hospitality and Congregational Care, and the yet-to-be-named new Director of Discipleship.
With nine years of impactful ministry on the Foundry staff team, a powerful public-facing presence in the advocacy community in Washington, DC, a non-profit management executive certificate from Georgetown University, and strong relationships among his colleagues on the Foundry team, we are blessed that Pastor Ben is willing to take on this new role. He has been in onboarding stages since the beginning of the year, and will take on the role officially beginning April 1.
Rev. Lani Willbanks will continue to report to Pastor Ginger as Executive Director of Operations and Impact overseeing the administrative functions at Foundry.
In ongoing creative collaboration with Pastor Ginger, “Maestro” Stanley Thurston will take on additional duties related to worship development and implementation as Director of Music and Worship Arts. Stanley has helped facilitate transcendent worship for 14 years at Foundry, is a highly respected music artist in DC and beyond, and is a trusted creative ministry partner among the staff team.
Stanley will convene a robust Worship and Sunday Morning Ministry Team comprised of core lay leaders for worship and hospitality ministries as well as other clergy and staff. He will continue to be supervised by Pastor Ginger and will receive support from newly hired Music and Worship Coordinator, Dayline Cueto.
To support our ever-expanding nursery, we’re pleased to share that long-time caregiver, Michelé Wright, will become our Lead Childcare Coordinator, working with two new additions to the staff, Nicole Motley and Sierra Haubert. And Senior Operations Manager, Jasper Travis, will be supervising a new Events Coordinator who will manage logistics for all large events at Foundry, including weddings, funerals, and third-party events in our facility.
We understand that this is a lot of change amidst the already big shift of Pastor Will’s reappointment and departure in June. However, we’re choosing to see the unplanned convergence of these events as an opportunity to embrace the new things God is up to in and among us as Foundry UMC.
Be assured that we will let you know as soon as possible who will be joining us as Director of Discipleship. Until then, please pray for all who are stepping into new roles and for Foundry as we move into this next season of life together.
Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli
P.S. There will be a special Charge Conference as required by the UMC Book of Discipline on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 7 p.m. for the purpose of adjusting the salary for Rev. Ben Roberts to reflect his new role. Look for more information in the next week about how to connect if you wish to attend.