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May 31, 2011

Bishop Stacy Sauls Named Episcopal Church COO

[ENS] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has named Bishop Stacy F. Sauls as Chief Operating Officer for the Episcopal Church.


“The Episcopal Church Center exists to support the Church in serving a diverse and changing world,” noted Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. “The churchwide staff has achieved new levels of excellence and innovation as the Church Center has been reorganized and some staff has been dispersed to offices in other geographic regions of the Church.  This transition represents a healthy and forward-looking opportunity to build on that good work. Bishop Sauls brings a unique set of gifts to the next chapter of this ministry, particularly his distinguished service as a diocesan bishop.  I am deeply grateful that he will join us in facilitating this work.”


Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori made the announcement May 31.


As Chief Operating Officer, Sauls will oversee the staff of the Episcopal Church Center in New York City as well as offices located in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. Sauls will coordinate the work of the Church’s mission program, communication, finance and administration duties while assisting the Presiding Bishop in her role as Chief Executive Officer. Also, he will be an ex-officio member of the Executive Council and an active member of the board of Episcopal Relief & Development.


“This is the most interesting and rewarding time I can imagine to serve the Episcopal Church,” noted Sauls, Bishop of Lexington for more than a decade. “I am anxious to collaborate in the transformative leadership being provided by our Presiding Bishop and the devoted service being offered by Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies, and to bring my own creativity in challenging situations to the team. I am grateful to the Presiding Bishop for her confidence and the Executive Council for its endorsement.”


Meet Bishop Stacy Sauls

Sauls boasts strong experience in ministry and mission efforts, as well as administration, managerial and corporate leadership.


Sauls was elected the Sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Lexington in 2000.  His episcopacy is recognized for his focused and creative work on mission and vision in the context of a smaller diocese in Eastern Kentucky where 14 of the 100 poorest counties in the country are located.


Sauls has guided the diocese to address issues and needs of the poor, especially in Appalachia, through education, healthcare, and housing initiatives. He is known for his work with youth, and under his leadership the successful Reading Camp program was established. Designed initially to help children from Appalachia in need of intensive remedial reading work, the Reading Camp program has been replicated in five other settings across the country and has spread to South Africa and Liberia.


Several congregations, both urban and rural, were redeveloped while he was bishop, with one new congregation started.  Sauls also focused on strengthening smaller congregations in the Appalachian region, recognizing their value in providing a vital witness in their isolated communities, and as mission outposts for the wider church.


Three years ago, Sauls implemented an innovative program, the Network for Pastoral Leadership and Congregational Development, which has gained much attention. This program to date has placed nine newly ordained priests into congregations in an intentional and intensive training and support program, allowing for them to be formed in the practical implications of parish ministry. 


During his episcopacy as well as parish leadership, Sauls has been in the forefront of addressing critical issues through community organizing and committee work in the House of Bishops and beyond.


Sauls first looked at a legal career, and is a graduate of Furman University in Atlanta, GA and the University of Virginia School of Law. He worked as a corporate lawyer, most notably with the law department of Delta Air Lines.


From there he attended and graduated from General Theological Seminary in New York City, NY and was ordained a priest in 1989 at St. George’s Church in Griffin, GA (Diocese of Atlanta). He continued his parish ministry at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Atlanta and St. Thomas’ Church, Savannah, GA (Diocese of Georgia).


He has authored numerous articles, pamphlets and presentations, and has served as a spokesperson in media interviews such as BBC during the 2008 Lambeth Conference.


He is a past member of the Episcopal Church Executive Council and currently serves on the Standing Commission on World Mission, the Budgetary Funding Task Force and is co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Philippines Covenant as well as being active with mission projects in Japan.


He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the District of Columbia Bar, and the Ecclesiastical Law Society (United Kingdom).


General Theological Seminary presented him with a DD honoris causa in 2001, as did the University of the South, where he serves as a trustee, in 2002.  He earned a masters degree in Canon Law from Cardiff University in 2009.


Sauls and his wife Ginger, a special education teacher, are the parents of two adult sons.


The way forward

Sauls will assume his new position on September 1.


Since his appointment will precipitate a bishop election in the Diocese of Lexington, Sauls will work with the Diocesan Standing Committee and Bishop Clay Matthews of Pastoral Development on the next steps.