Departures from Diocesan Staff

Dear Friends,

Two of our diocesan staff members have announced their plans to move on to their next phase of ministry.

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After sixteen years on our diocesan staff, Gennie Callard has submitted her resignation as the Bishop’s Assistant for Children, Youth and Young Adult Ministries. She will be moving back to Massachusetts to be closer to her family.

Over the course of her ministry among us, Gennie has developed top-tier programs for the formation in our community and has helped curate a culture in our diocese in which the youngest among us are honored and heard at all levels of leadership. In addition to our camping programs, Gennie has helped to create opportunities for our youngest Episcopalians and those who support them across our diocese, state, and wider church through convention, youth programming, the Episcopal Youth Event, trainings, retreats, and more.

In addition to her work in children’s and youth ministry, Gennie has worked closely with Sudanese Grace, caring and supporting them in their development as a congregation. Most recently, through her work as President of Province V of the Episcopal Church, Gennie was instrumental in the creation and organization of the wonderfully successful Big Provincial Gathering, held last month in Kalamazoo.

Gennie has been a champion of young people in our church, increasing the impact of their witness and ministry amongst us. We are grateful for her commitment to young people, passion for ministry, and her many years of leadership in our diocese. She departs from us with our thanks and blessings for all of life’s adventures before her. Gennie’s ministry with us will conclude August 31st. A celebration of Gennie and her ministry is being planned for sometime later this fall. Details to come.

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Tricia Leistra has also resigned in order to accept an unexpected offer to serve on the national staff of the Reformed Church of America, her home denomination.

Tricia came on board earlier this Spring as the Diocesan Office Administrator, supporting the bishop’s day-to-day activities and the organization of the diocesan office. In these few short months, Tricia has helped us to live into our transition of our diocesan office from Kalamazoo to Wyoming and helped to improve efficiency and transparency in our diocesan operations.

Her outside perspective has been an asset to our community as we move forward to becoming more responsive, flexible, and in-tuned with the diocese and the wider church. Tricia’s ministry with us will conclude August 28th.

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I am grateful for the leadership of these two incredible staff members and send them off with our sincere gratitude for their time with us and prayers as they move ahead.

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our friends, the healthful Spirit of thy grace: and, that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr.
Bishop Diocesan,
The Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan