Annual report from bishop's senior staff to convention
The Rev. Canon Joseph M.C. Chambers, Canon to the Ordinary, and Ms. Desirée Viliocco, the Executive Director of Finance and Administration, make up the Senior Staff in the Offices of the Bishop and together oversee the business, legal, property, and other matters on the Bishop’s staff. Ms. Viliocco oversees administration and financial matters and Canon Chambers oversees mission, program, congregations and clergy in transition, governance, and the Title IV process.
Working closely with Ms. Rita Benson, Ms. Viliocco supports all areas of finance, benefits, and insurance. Ms. Viliocco and Ms. Benson give a great deal of time to the insurance concerns of both our active and retired clergy. Ms. Viliocco also gives primary support to the treasurer of the Diocese and to the Diocesan Investment Trust, as well as serving as a member of the Diocesan Endowment Committee. Ms. Viliocco does a great deal of work around the budget process in the diocese and, with the Canon to the Ordinary and finance committee, prepares a draft budget that is presented to Diocesan Council. Independent financial auditors performed their annual audit in the spring and praised the work of this office. Much of the work this year in the finance department focused on the erection of a new church building for St. Francis Church in Eureka, administration of various Diocesan grants and Kelton White Fund loans, and trust and endowment matters.
Canon Chambers works closely with congregations in transition by training, mentoring, and supporting vestries and search committees. In the last year a number of full-time priest positions have been filled. New to the diocese is the Rev. Amy Fallon (Vicar, Trinity, Kirksville), the Very Rev. Kathy Adams-Shepherd (Provost, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis), the Rev. Earl Mahan (Priest in Charge, St. Luke’s, Manchester), and the Rev. Peter Speropulos (Assistant, St. Michael and St. George, Clayton). The Rev. Chris Slane transitioned from St. Martin’s, Ellisville to Emmanuel, Webster Groves.
The Rev. Pamela Dolan resigned as rector of Church of the Good Shepherd, Town and Country, where the Rev. Maria Evans is serving as Interim.
In January, Ms. Jillian Smith began transitioning into her new role as Director of Deaconess Anne House, and in August took over for the Rev. Rebecca Ragland, who resigned. In her role, Ms. Smith continues the good work of her predecessors by overseeing the vital ministry of the Episcopal Service Corps in North St. Louis.
Currently there are a numbers of rector and vicar searches underway including at St. Paul’s, St. Louis, Emmanuel, Webster Groves, Grace, Jefferson City, and Church of the Good Shepherd, Town and Country.
As congregations and clergy in transition are a priority for the Canon to the Ordinary, Canon Chambers attends regular conferences with other diocesan transition ministers throughout the Episcopal Church to network, share best practices, and to learn about new tools for transition ministry. One of the major ongoing topics is the dramatic changes in transition trends throughout the church. Some of those trends: fewer priests are mobile and full-time jobs are less common.
Canon Chambers continues to provide the primary staff support to the Standing Committee. Both he and Ms. Viliocco work together to support Diocesan Council and both serve as Vice Presidents for COEDMO. Much of the business of COEDMO this year has been supporting St. Francis’ in Eureka in their effort to erect a new church building, which is set to be open very soon.
Mrs. Robin MacLaughlin, Ms. Tracy Grigsby, Ms. Rita Benson, and Ms. Susan Wegner work closely with Canon Chambers and Ms. Viliocco to support a number of ministries in the Offices of the Bishop. Their duties include, but are not limited to:
Ms. Rita Benson
- Finance Assistant and Benefits Administrator
- Changes in health, life, and disability insurance benefits, open enrollment, CPG
- Changes in employee status
- Flexible Spending Accounts
- Accounts receivables and payables
- UTO Grants
- Diocesan program financial reports
- Parochial reports
Mrs. Robin MacLaughlin
- General Administrative Assistant
- Discernment Process Coordinator
- Supply Clergy list
- Safeguarding God’s Children
- All Diocesan event registration and support
- Standing Committee support
- Dismantling Racism Commission
- Record Keeping
Ms. Susan Wegner
- Administrative Assistant to the Bishop
- Appointments for the Bishop and Canon to the Ordinary
- Lay licensing
- Remarriage petitions and authorizations
- Diocesan Confirmation service
- Bishop’s visitations
- Renewal of ministry
- Letters Dimissory
- Chrism oil
Ms. Tracy Grigsby
- Office Receptionist
- Internal Office Support
- Diocesan Council and Convocation support
- Project Support
- Equipment Manager
The Senior Staff is grateful for the quality of support they receive. Ms. Benson, Ms. Grigsby, Mrs. MacLaughlin, and Ms. Wegner are incredibly gifted and continue to faithfully serve to make the work in the Offices of the Bishop go smoothly.