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Newsmakers: Suzanne Watson, Gary J. Parker, Richard Ohlsen and Frederick Boyd Williams

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New staff officer for Congregational Development

[ENS, Source: Congregational Development] The Rev. Suzanne Watson has begun her ministry at the Church Center as a staff officer for Congregational Development with special responsibility for small and rural congregations.

Prior to joining Congregational Development, Watson served the Diocese of El Camino Real, by way of New Zealand, as interim priest at St. Francis Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Cooperating Parish.

Chaplaincies' office phases out position

[ENS, Source: Office of the Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies] The Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies' office announced the departure of the Rev. Gary J. Parker, who provided important leadership in this mission.

Parker's position as director of Veterans Affairs, Prisons, Healthcare, Maritime, and Emergency Responder Ministries was phased out because the office is completing its frontline mission in disaster response on behalf of the Church.

ERD Appoints Director for Domestic Disaster Response and Preparedness

[ENS, Source: Episcopal Relief and Development] Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has appointed Richard Ohlsen as Director for Domestic Disaster Response and Preparedness. In this newly created position with ERD, Ohlsen, who has several years’ experience in emergency operations, will work with Episcopal dioceses to inventory and design disaster preparedness plans. He will oversee ERD's long-term Hurricane Katrina response program, rebuilding Gulf Coast communities.  Ohlsen will also link dioceses and ERD to local, state, and national emergency preparedness and response networks.

For the past seven years, Ohlsen has worked with the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Region II (New York). He assisted in responding to major disasters including Hurricane Jeanne, the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack, and the crash of TWA Flight 800. Ohlsen wrote New York State Supplements to the Federal Response Plan and serves as a lecturer on emergency management.

Ohlsen, who began on April 3, is currently traveling to the Gulf Coast region with Abagail Nelson, ERD's Vice President for Programs, to assess recovery and rehabilitation work in affected communities.

Canon Frederick Boyd Williams of the Diocese of New York dies at 66

[ENS, Source: Diocese of New York] The Reverend Canon Frederick Boyd Williams of the Diocese of New York died in his home earlier this week. He was 66.

Born in Tennessee, Williams attended Morehouse College, General Theological Seminary and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop William Creighton in 1964.  He served his early ministry in Washington, D.C., and Minnesota, and became canonically resident in the Diocese of New York in 1973.

In 1972 he became the vicar of Intercession, the first black priest to hold that position. In 1976, he was named rector and served in that role continually through his retirement earlier this year.

Williams was a noted scholar on the African Diaspora, who traveled extensively in the Caribbean, and on the African continent. Over the years, he preached and lectured on five continents. He was also a pivotal influence in the founding of the Afro-Anglicanism Conference.

He was active within the diocese, the New York City community and the Anglican Communion. Among his activities, he served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation; a member of the board of directors for the Boys Choir of Harlem; chairman of the board of the Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (the largest urban redevelopment project in the history of the city); chair of the National Clergy Advisory Committee of the Balm in Gilead, Inc.; and a member of the New York City Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

Donations in his honor may be made to the Church of the Intercession.

Bishop Mark S. Sisk will be the celebrant at a Mass of Resurrection on Holy Monday, April 10, 11a.m., Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street, Manhattan.  Clergy are requested to wear cassock, surplice and white stole.