The Rev. Sheelagh A. Clarke has announced she is retiring after 13 years of ministry, effective Jan. 1, 2019. For the past 16 months she has served on diocesan staff as Interim Coordinator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Her last day in the office will be Dec. 20, 2018. She joined diocesan staff on Sept. 1, 2017 after serving as Rector of St. Stephen’s, Millburn.
“Since last summer, I’ve discerned that there is a need for me to return to the U.K. to be a daughter to aging parents and play my part in their support,” she said.
Sheelagh plans to be in the U.K. for six months, then will return to the U.S. in July and stay through the fall. While she is in the U.S., she plans to take part in the life of the diocese and be available for supply work and volunteer opportunities.
Looking back on her 16 months on diocesan staff, Sheelagh said, “I’ve had a wonderful time in this role, especially with the creative aspects of designing the new youth experiment. It’s exciting and unusual – you don’t normally get an opportunity to do something like this. And I have loved getting to know our youth and youth leaders – they are wonderfully committed and passionate. I’ve also enjoyed doing coaching and support for the Going Local journey and the clergy cohorts.”
The Rev. Canon Greg Jacobs, Canon to the Ordinary and Chief of Staff, said “We have all been enriched by Sheelagh’s creativity and passion not only for youth ministry which she has set on a wonderful new trajectory, but also her work with the clergy cohort groups that has promoted a greater sense of collegiality and theological exploration.”
“It has been only a few months that I have served with Sheelagh. Yet in this short time, I have gained a deep appreciation of her love and care of parishes and their people,” said Bishop Carlye Hughes. “She has been industrious and creative in responding to multiple staff transitions and preparing for her own. Though she will depart diocesan staff at the end of the month, she made us ready to continue our Going Local, Joining God in the Neighborhood, and Youth ministries. By empowering laity and clergy alike she has made our ministries stronger. For all of this, our whole diocese can be grateful.”