ECF Announces New Initiative: Vital Teams to Help Strengthen Lay+Clergy Leadership Teams

February 25, 2014

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ECF is launching a new initiative called Vital Teams in order to strengthen the lay+clergy leadership teams that are at the heart of ministry in the Episcopal Church. The vision of Vital Teams is an Episcopal Church where all communities of faith have access to effective training on forming strong lay+clergy leadership teams, they all have the tools and resources needed for identifying strong team leaders, and that the leadership formation institutions across our Episcopal Church are working together to promote those gifts and skills that promote strong lay+clergy leadership teams.

Donald Romanik, President of ECF, noted “I believe that we are being called to reimagine the type of leadership that is needed for today’s Church. As one of the only lay-led, independent institutions in the Episcopal Church, ECF has a unique voice and role to play in promoting strong lay+clergy leadership teams. Vital Teams are ones that partner together in discerning where God is calling the congregation, and share in the building up of the community in creative ways.”

ECF’s new initiative has received a number of generous contributions from donors including from the Rev. Canon Carl Gerdau, former Canon to the Presiding Bishop. Vital Teams will be led by its own lay+clergy leadership team including Miguel Escobar, Program Director of Leadership Resources, Kate Adams, Special Projects Director, and two new lead consultants who bring significant on-the-ground expertise to this work: the Rev. Rosa Lindahl and the Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr.

The Rev. Rosa Lindahl - Rosa joins ECF after serving as the cofounder of the New River Regional Ministry in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a project for which she was awarded an ECF Fellowship in 2011. This regional approach to ministry merged a well-resourced downtown congregation, a Latino storefront ministry, and a primarily English-speaking congregation with financial challenges. Today, the New River Regional Ministry leverages the diverse resources of three distinct faith communities. Prior to becoming an Episcopal priest in 2006, Rosa worked for 15 years in international organizational development and human resource management, primarily with Federal Express. Rosa is a native of Colombia, has a passion for Latino ministry, and lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She has a B.A. in psychology and an M.Div from Sewanee.

The Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr. - Ron is serving his fifth year as rector of St. Katherine’s Church in Williamston, Michigan, a congregation whose focus on lay-led leadership teams is helping to address the needs of greater Williamston in a variety of entrepreneurial ways. In 2011, Ron and St. Katherine’s developed and successfully launched the Forster Woods Day Center, a day care facility that provides assistance to persons living with dementia and other physical and mental impairments. Prior to becoming an Episcopal priest in 2007, Ron was employed for over 20 years in executive management and leadership positions at four Fortune 500 companies. Ron is the Dean of Diocesan Council in the Diocese of Michigan, the Legislative Liaison for the Michigan Association of Adult Day Centers, and a member of the Board of Directors of Open Door Ministries of downtown Lansing. Ron is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and hold degrees in Marketing, Management, Finance, Business Administration, as well as a Masters in Divinity.

Miguel Escobar, Program Director for Leadership Resources, stated “A strong team is one that brings a diversity of gifts and perspectives to a shared purpose. Rosa brings significant expertise in creating practical trainings to enhance how leadership teams perform. Ron’s extensive background in marketing and advocacy will help us as we seek to partner with seminaries, dioceses, and other major leadership formation institutions to focus on team leadership skills. We are all thrilled to welcome them to ECF’s Leadership Resources team.”

For more information about Vital Teams, please email Miguel Escobar at or call ECF at 800-697-2858