Restructuring How We Provide Care for East Ohio Conference Clergy and Their Families

Bishop Tracy S. Malone, the Board of Ministry and Conference leadership are committed to the well-being of East Ohio Conference clergy and their families. For many years, the Pastoral Care and Counseling office has been the primary provider of care but that is now changing due to transitions in the way insurance is provided, the availability of new counseling services, and the employee assistance program.

Members of Annual Conference 2019 approved the motion to transition the position of executive director of the Pastoral Care and Counseling office to a licensed professional contracted by the Conference. On July 1 Diane Zerby, LISW-S, an eight-year member of the Pastoral Care and Counseling office, assumed the role of interim director with Lynn Smith continuing as the office administrator.

After prayerful discernment and many conversations over the past year, Conference leadership is transforming the way we offer care. We are moving from direct funding of professional counseling services to providing professional counseling services through insurance providers; creating the Commission on Clergy Well-Being; discontinuing the Commission on Pastoral Care; and closing the Pastoral Care and Counseling office. The last day for appointments will be Friday, June 12.

Change is difficult. We thank Diane Zerby, the Rev. Howard Humphress, and the Rev. Sam Slack for their current and past dedication in caring for East Ohio Conference clergy and clergy families. As we transition the ways that we care for and resource one another, the primary task of the Commission on Clergy Well-Being will be researching, educating, advocating, and communicating about the five dimensions of clergy well-being: spiritual, emotional, financial, physical, and social. The Commission will include representation from the Fellowship of Associate Members and Local Pastors, the Order of Deacons, the Order of Elders, and other persons committed to the well-being of clergy and their families.

Throughout this process, we continue to hold all in prayer.