Senior Executive for Program Diane Porter Leaves National Staff

Episcopal News Service. March 7, 1997 [97-1707]

(ENS) In a surprise announcement, Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning released a statement February 27 that Diane Porter, senior executive for program since 1992, was leaving his staff effective March 15.

"Though her original intention had been to remain through the end of the year, she recently decided that, as the majority of her work of the triennium is well under way, a leave at this time will allow her an opportunity to refocus her energies while preparing for a new chapter." Porter, who helped write the announcement, did not say whether she had specific plans for the future. She held a number of positions in government before joining the national staff in January of 1988, serving as deputy for public ministries.

Browning said that Porter "will continue to represent the Episcopal Church on the board of the National Council of Churches and on the Seminary Consortium on Urban Pastoral Education as a link to the Office of the Presiding Bishop."

"Diane and I both take satisfaction in the positive contribution she has made and the significant accomplishments of her tenure," Browning said.

Sonia Francis assumes responsibilities

During his address to the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Summit in Cincinnati, Browning announced that he had asked Sonia Francis, coordinator of media services and the senior staff member of the program unit, to work with Bishop Charlie McNutt to coordinate the program activities of the church. He also expressed his gratitude for Porter's leadership and expressed his hope that she would "continue to labor in the vineyard with the same concern and commitment to justice."

In an interview Browning said that he would not fill the position, even on an interim basis, this close to the end of his term. In his discussion with staff members he said that he had found "immense support" for Francis and "a commitment to support her in every way."

"I have no doubt that Diane put her entire life and energy into her work," said Judy Conley. chair of the program committee of Executive Council, who was consulted by the presiding bishop before he released his statement.

Bishop Arthur Williams, Jr., of Ohio. a member of Executive Council, expressed appreciation "for Porter's deep commitment to social justice ministries over the years."

The Rev. John Lane of Virginia, a member of the Executive Council's program committee, agreed that Porter was "energetic, knowledgeable and dedicated" but added that recently she seemed to be carrying too much of a burden and possibly headed for "burn out." He added that "she wasn't good at sharing responsibility and was too eager to keep everything under control."