At our Christmas services, I announced that the Diocese had awarded St. Clement’s a one-year grant to hire a Digital Pastor. What’s even better news is that you already know him!
Since 2017, Michael Buttrey has served as our Theologian-in-Residence, a role I created specifically for him. For the past seven years, Michael has been instrumental in deepening and widening our collective experience of learning to follow Jesus Christ: Michael has taught a course on medical ethics; is an incredibly popular teacher in our OMG Tuesdays series; preaches on occasion; co-leads our Christian Education ministries - developing curriculum & facilitator guides for small groups and OMG Tuesdays; and shares his expertise in fostering churches that are trauma-informed and safe for survivors (an issue on which he is a national leader). In addition to his teaching role, Michael volunteers with our youth and A/V ministries. Michael, and his wife, Irene, have been active at St. Clement’s for 12 years.
Now, I am thrilled to welcome Michael into another new role, among the first of its kind in the country: Digital Pastor. Our ideal candidate for this role is theologically educated and spiritually formed, with extensive experience in group facilitation and education, keen researching skills, and a deep understanding of online communication. Michael fits this role to a tee. Originally from Alberta, Michael grew up in the Mennonite church, married into a Reformed family, studied with Roman Catholics, and has worshipped with Anglicans for the past twelve years. He will graduate with a PhD in Christian Ethics later this year and is excited to contribute to St. Clement's growing online participation.The new role of Digital Pastor builds on the digital innovation that enabled our church to serve our parish during the pandemic. Out of necessity, we built a strong foundation of how to serve “digitally” (e.g., “Church at Home”). We now seek to build out our “digital parish,” and to sustain and support our established in-person parish, many of whom continue to worship online. Currently 50% of our community worships online, with many more participating in our virtual small groups and OMG Tuesdays offerings.Building on these successes, we have heard from online worshippers a desire for more interaction and the ability to participate more fully. People are grateful for the various opportunities currently available, and are looking to go deeper.
The Digital Pastor at St. Clement’s will be dedicated to researching, implementing, facilitating, and shaping interactive opportunities for the St. Clement’s online community. The Digital Pastor will become an essential part of our pastoral team, inhabiting the model of shared leadership we embody at St. Clement’s. I could not be more excited to be welcoming Michael into this new role in our midst. Please join me in extending a hearty welcome! You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours truly in Christ,