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Dear friends and colleagues,
I write to inform you of two staffing transitions on the Diocesan Staff.
Over the last few months, Chef Lonny Gatlin has wrestled with a yearning to return to Cleveland and the vocation of serving the elderly and infirm in the retirement and nursing home industry from which he came to join the Bellwether staff. As much as we hate to lose him on the farm, this is a deep and genuine calling that has been formational to his vocation as a Christian and a deacon and has held a relentless hold on his heart.
In the three and a half years he has worked at Bellwether, he has been instrumental in developing its ministry, at the heart of which is the farm-to-table culinary program. Through two restarts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, he has helped reshape both the what and the how of providing caring hospitality to all the farm’s guests. In short, he arrived at a critical time, meeting the immediate needs of a chef-less program, and has put his unique imprint on feeding bodies and souls ever since.
Since the beginning of October, we have worked to identify someone worthy of inheriting Lonny’s legacy and are delighted that Chef Josh Horning has agreed to join the Bellwether staff. A resident of Oberlin with extensive experience in cooking with locally grown and seasonal ingredients, he currently serves as Catering and Facilities Chef for Cleveland Metroparks, covering a range of venues including Merwin’s Wharf and Edgewater Park. The transition will take place during the remainder of this month, with Josh beginning full-time work after Thanksgiving.
I am also grateful to announce that Ms. Ruth Mercer, a communicant of Christ Church in Shaker Heights, has joined the Bishop’s staff as a program developer for the Diocese and Bellwether Farm. This part-time position will focus on creating and supporting programming for the full range of diocesan ministries, with particular attention to developing programs that further realize our retreat, education, and formation potential. Her extensive experience as a life-long Episcopalian and active lay leader in Oberlin and Shaker Heights, and her recent service as Chair of the Commission on Ministry, combine with her work in the college and not-for-profit sector to bring valuable perspective and energy to the opportunities we share.
Please join me in keeping Lonny, Josh, and Ruth in your prayers of gratitude and support as they transition into their new responsibilities.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Jr.
Bishop of Ohio
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