￼The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff, ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese of Virginia, has announced four changes to the diocesan staff:
“In this time of transition in the life of the Diocese,” Bishop Goff said, “two of these appointments are ‘permanent’ while the other two are for a time certain. Each one of these appointments is part of a larger strategy to develop our staff to meet the needs of a changing diocese in a changing world. I am thrilled that these talented men and women have said yes to the call. Please join me in welcoming them to their new positions.”
The Rev. Dr. Mary Thorpe is now Canon to the Ordinary. Mary’s work in this new role will include oversight of clergy transition and vocation and the clergy disciplinary processes. She will also advise parishes and clergy on healthy collaborative ministry. “I’m honored by this appointment,” said Mary. “I hope to bring the same focus on transformation and flexibility that guided my work in transition ministry to my new responsibilities as Canon to the Ordinary. We’ve got much exciting work to do together!”
Mary joined the Diocesan staff in 2014 as Director of Transition Ministry. Mary brings the experience of careers in public policy, in entrepreneurial ventures in high-technology and in public education as a music teacher. Prior to joining the diocesan staff, she was rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Richmond. She received her doctorate in Church and Ministry at Columbia Theological Seminary, focusing on the search process.
Ted Smith, Diocesan Treasurer, will add to his portfolio the responsibilities of Secretary of the Diocese for an interim period. His new responsibilities are related to governance, church property and other projects as directed by the Ecclesiastical Authority. “I am grateful for the confidence placed in me by Bishop Goff and the Standing Committee,” said Ted, “and I look forward to working with Bishop Goff, the staff and all constituencies in the Diocese of Virginia as we move forward into this next chapter together.”
Ted joined the Diocese as Treasurer in 2014. Prior to coming to the Diocese, he held finance roles in the non-profit and corporate worlds, including the University of Virginia Investment Management Company and Genworth Financial. A native of Richmond, Ted graduated from St. Christopher’s School and the University of the South and holds an MBA from Wake Forest University.
Karen Salter is the diocesan Director of Staff Development.
She will serve in this part-time position for six months. During that time, Karen will focus on training, strengthening and helping to recalibrate the vital work of the diocesan staff. “I am honored to serve our Diocese in this new way to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges of this important time of transition,” said Karen.
Karen is a lawyer, mediator and consultant. She specializes in dispute resolution, diversity, racial equity and reconciliation, and church consultation. She has provided mediation, retreat leadership, mutual ministry review, congregational development, transition/search coaching and other services to more than 60 churches throughout Virginia and North Carolina. During her tenure as Director of Staff Development, Karen will continue her consulting and mediation work with congregations in the Diocese and beyond. Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a law degree from Washington & Lee University.
Sierra Gore is diocesan Project Coordinator. In this role, she will work with Bishop Goff and senior staff to coordinate ongoing and seasonal projects in communications, governance and infrastructure. In addition to her work on the diocesan staff, she is Director of Explorers’ Camp at Shrine Mont and Co-Chair for diocesan Parish Youth Ministries.
Sierra is from the Midwest and grew up in the Episcopal Church. Her faith journey has led her around the country as a college campus minister in Missouri, camp staffer in Nevada, California, and Virginia, and a youth leader in Kauai, Hawaii. “I am excited to join this team and take on this new role!” said Sierra. “I hope to be an enthusiastic presence as we tackle projects and support the Diocese.”