The Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson has been appointed the Episcopal Church’s Domestic Poverty Missioner. Currently Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana, he led the dioceses response to Hurricane Katrina and transformed the disaster response into a ministry that addresses poverty on many levels.
Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church, has announced the appointment of the Rev. Canon Mark Stevenson as Domestic Poverty Missioner on the staff of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS).
In this position, Stevenson will be responsible for work related to Anglican Mark of Mission 4, The transformation of unjust structures of society, which the 77th General Convention designated as a budget priority and structured with a focus on the alleviation of poverty in the United States.
In addition to the newly created work of Mission Mark 4, Stevenson will be responsible for several of the DFMS’s longstanding domestic-poverty engagements, including support for the Jubilee Ministry program and liaison with networks of Episcopalians working to address poverty in their communities.
Most recently, Stevenson served as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Louisiana since August 2005 where his responsibilities included oversight of the bishop’s staff, budget management, coordination of clergy and congregation transitional ministry, and various pastoral and administrative concerns throughout the diocese. When Hurricane Katrina made landfall just days before Stevenson took his post, the scope of his ministry expanded dramatically to include working closely with then-Bishop Charles Jenkins, as well as local, regional, national and international leaders and groups to put into place the processes for effective relief ministry. In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the diocese instituted an Office of Disaster Response that evolved over the years into Episcopal Community Services of Louisiana, a ministry focused not only on immediate disaster relief but also on the transformation of lives by building a community of care and respect for all human beings.
Before that, Stevenson served as rector of the Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans, and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Maitland, Florida (Diocese of Central Florida). In addition, Stevenson has served as a deputy to the 2012 General Convention and an alternate at the 2009 General Convention.
“I believe that Mark’s ability to jump into the midst, to listen to the people’s stories as well as to their needs, and to provide succor and leadership when Hurricane Katrina hit shortly before he began as Canon to the Ordinary in Louisiana is an indicator of how he will approach his role as Domestic Poverty Missioner,” noted Executive Council member Lelanda Lee. “Listening, and then discerning how to act quickly, will be essential as he engages a very full portfolio of responsibilities.”
“It has been my pleasure to work with Mark Stevenson since he and I met in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” noted Robert W. Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. “He played a vital role in building the Diocese of Louisiana’s ministries in response to that terrible tragedy. In his capacity as a member of the board of Episcopal Relief & Development, he has helped the organization shape its response to the earthquake in Haiti and our approach to fighting poverty globally. We look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”
Bishop Sauls noted that the appointment of Stevenson follows an extensive search process that included interviews with more than a dozen candidates. The interview committee included Lelanda Lee, chair of the Executive Council’s joint standing committee on Advocacy and Networking; Bishop Alan Scarfe of Iowa; the Rev. Anthony Guillen, DFMS Latino-Hispanic Missioner; John Colon, DFMS director of Human Resources; and committee chair Alex Baumgarten, DFMS Director of Government Relations.
Stevenson will begin work with the DFMS on Monday, September 16. His office will be based in Dallas. He can be reached at email@example.com as of September 16.