AED Board - 2022 Election
Lee M. Ragsdale, III
Diocese: East Tennessee
Present Employment: Retired
Current Ministries: Baskervil Food Pantry, Feed Georgetown County, Fail. Chance Bail Fund, Re-entry Programs for Returning Citizens
Current Church Assignment: Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church, Pawleys Island, SC
Previous Positions: Deacon, Church of the Resurrection, Loudon, TN, Director TN Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
Education: MSW, UNC-Chapel Hill
Prior Board Experience: Midway Treatment Ctr, Knoxville TN., Knox County Drug Treatment Court (TN), TN Re-entry Task Force
Skill sets: Policy development and evaluation, program management, team building and staff supervision and development. Public advocacy and education.
How do you envision contributing to the AED Board? What are your special talents and gifts?
I expect that any contribution I might bring to the AED Board would center around two or three critical areas. First, during my long career as a social worker, I have had the good fortune to work on the streets, one-on-one with marginalized populations in both the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. In these roles, I developed a deep understanding and an appreciation of the sacredness of every person, even as they confront brokenness, isolation, rejection, addiction, mental illness, separation, and incarceration.
Secondly, I have spent considerable time in leadership positions which required that I participate in policy development, implementation, and program evaluation activities. Finally, along with these policy related activities, I have become an advocate for justice fairness, and inclusivity.
What is your vision for the future of the Association for Episcopal Deacons?
The many roles of the Vocational Deacon are often misunderstood and not properly utilized in our church. It is my belief that Deacons, properly recruited, educated, trained and supported, have and will continue to make a real difference in this broken world. There have been marginalized populations for centuries and during those times Deacons have played a vital role as healers, sustainers, and advocates.
The truth is that across this wonderful church, Deacons are often misplaced, underused, or misused. In many cases, they are also underappreciated and not adequately supported in their work. AED is in a unique position to rectify many of these deficiencies. To do this difficult work, we must as an organization, be willing to take an active advocacy, educational and supportive role for our order. To do this, we must be present, visible and vocal at every level from the parish to the diocese, and even to the governing bodies of the church.
I envision a dynamic and inclusive organization, ready to take the lead as we send well-equipped Deacons, as God’s ambassadors, across the church and world to all the children of God who hunger for good news. I believe that AED has begun that work already and is poised and able to do even more.