Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing today to share news that is both happy and sad. The Rev. Canon Dr. Ellen Clark-King, Vice Dean and Canon for Social Justice, has just been appointed the new Dean of King’s College London. Ellen is the first woman to hold this position in its 191-year history, and she will start in December 2020.
Ellen arrived at Grace Cathedral as Executive Pastor and Canon for Social Justice in December 2016 following on her previous role as Cathedral Vicar for Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, Canada. Her appointment was the result of a rigorous international search and I was overjoyed when she accepted this calling as a next step in her already impressive career. We promoted Ellen to Vice Dean and Canon for Social Justice in September 2019.
During Ellen’s time at Grace, she has been a connector to the wider church, and she serves on the boards of the San Francisco Interfaith Council and Episcopal Community Services. Ellen has capably led the Office of Congregation, overseeing pastoral care, formation, social justice, music, liturgy and evangelism. As a member of our chapter, she has exceeded every expectation for compassionate leadership, and she has led our excellent clergy team with competence and grace.
Because of my own reliance on her as colleague and a friend during her time with us, I can imagine how deeply her loss will be felt throughout our congregation.
Today, the cathedral chapter, clergy, staff and I join Ellen in celebrating her next professional opportunity, which is also a return to her home with proximity to her immediate family. Ellen’s position at King’s College begins this December, and we anticipate that she and her spouse Jeremy, who is also a beloved priest in the Diocese of California, will move in mid-October.
“This is a hard announcement for me, as well as a joyful one,” shares Ellen. “I have loved my years with Grace Cathedral and will be fully present here for my last four months. It is too early to start saying goodbyes but not too early to say how thankful I am for the way you all — staff, congregation and trustees — have welcomed and supported me, and enabled me to grow throughout my time with you. When I do leave in October Grace Cathedral will go to London with me, carried in my heart.”
This summer, Ellen will launch a social justice roadmap and be a part of the gradual re-opening of Grace Cathedral from the closure of the coronavirus pandemic. The cathedral’s congregation and the community as a whole will benefit from her leadership as it adjusts to new social, health and economic challenges. You will continue to hear Ellen’s strong voice championing social justice and anti-racism.
After Ellen leaves there will be an interim plan for managing the Office of Congregation, followed by a search for new leadership when public health and economic conditions better support the timing of an international search. So that we can connect more personally as we navigate this transition, as is our annual tradition, we will hold a Town Hall this summer.
Ellen’s next four months with us will be underpinned by what has always been Ellen’s core purpose – helping people discover their true identity as beloved children of God. Please join me today with enthusiasm for her important future and with the deepest gratitude for her service to Grace Cathedral.