Reflecting on Years of Faithful Service
By Sean McConnell, Director, Engagement, Episcopal Relief & Development
The first thing that I did when I joined the staff of Episcopal Relief & Development in May 2013 was attend what used to be called “The Network Meeting” in Newark, New Jersey. We would meet in person each year in what was always a wonderful gathering of the best people The Episcopal Church has to offer. We didn’t call them Ministry Partners back then. They were members of the network made up of diocesan and congregational representatives with leadership from provincial representatives.
It was at that meeting that I first met the Rev. Jane Snibbe from Northern California and Canon Barb Hagen who represented the Diocese of Montana and Province VI.
Barb is one of those faithful and hardworking leaders of The Episcopal Church who you know is the reason that things really get done. In 1997, her bishop asked her if she was willing to take on the role of Diocesan Ministry Partner, and Barb stepped up to the role with grace and finesse. She is an active resource to Congregational Ministry Partners in the Diocese of Montana, and a supportive friend to her provincial and diocesan colleagues. In fact, when the staff of Episcopal Relief & Development need advice and guidance, Barb has been a helpful member of our Council of Advice.
I have heard Jane mention her age out loud in meetings, but I will not do so here. I will say, however, that she fell in love with this organization when, as a teenager, she attended the 1949 General Convention of The Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Her Youth Advisor directed her to the table of The Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief (which we were called in the 20th century), and after learning about the work, she went home and became a fundraiser for the organization. Jane has a lifetime of understanding that a budget is the truest barometer of an organization’s values. She has been a fierce advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring that 0.7% of her diocese’s budget was apportioned to international development. In December, 2019, I had the great privilege to be present at Jane’s ordination to the priesthood.
Barb and Jane have both announced their retirement from their roles as Ministry Partners and I could not be prouder to have known both of these leaders in our church. They are both examples of how to live life guided by faith and values, and I can only hope to carry the lessons learned by both of them into my work for Episcopal Relief & Development.
Every Ministry Partner is a blessing, and we at Episcopal Relief & Development are grateful for each and every one.