Changes to Diocesan Youth Ministry

Contributed by: The Rt. Rev. Sally French, Bishop of New Jersey

New Youth Missioner Clare Gutwein

In early 2020, just before the pandemic began, Bishop Stokes appointed Clare Gutwein and Joe Rodriguez as Youth Conveners for the Diocese of New Jersey. The Youth Conveners were asked to bring together youth and youth leaders in congregations across the diocese, and to facilitate conversations and ministry focused on youth. This model was a gift during the years when we could not gather in person, and Clare and Joe were able to continue the ministry and encourage engagement during a very difficult time.


As we move forward in this new season, it is clear that the work of youth ministry in the Diocese of New Jersey requires more hands-on support. It is time to move from convening to rebuilding. With this in mind, I have called Clare Gutwein to serve as Diocesan Youth Missioner, effective October 1, 2023. This new half-time position includes responsibility for rebuilding our diocesan youth programs, strengthening opportunities for youth engagement, and equipping parents, youth leaders, clergy, and congregations seeking to establish or revitalize their ministry to and with young people.

Outgoing Youth Convener Joe Rodriguez

As the Youth Convener positions wind down, I give thanks for the work and gifts that both Joe and Clare have offered, and as we say goodbye to Joe, I want to share that I am especially grateful for his skills in communications, and for the work he has done to build connections and to support our young people. I look forward to the new initiatives that will emerge in the months to come, and I encourage you to reach out to Clare if you would like to know more about our new Youth Ministry offerings: cgutwein@dioceseofnj.or To connect with Joe, please email before September 30.

Joe, we wish you God’s blessing as your ministry journey continues. And Clare, blessings to you as you begin this new position.

—The Rt. Rev. Sally French, Bishop of New Jersey