Charlie Kuchenbrod, who has served the Southern New England Conference and prior to that the historic Connecticut Conference for nearly 19 years, has announced plans to leave the staff in favor of a consultancy role.
"Even as he enters a season of 'retirement,' I am delighted to announce that Charlie’s expertise in working with churches particularly in their phase of legacy will be available to the SNEUCC, as he has accepted our offer to become a consultant to the SNEUCC," said the Rev. Dr. Audrey Price, Executive Minister for Strategic Operations.
Kuchenbrod decided some time ago to pursue a non-traditional path to retirement by retiring incrementally. Beginning in 2018, he reduced his schedule to four days per week. This year, he has taken another incremental step in his retirement journey and - with the support of SNEUCC Senior Leadership - will transition from staff employee to independent contractor in the capacity of Legacy Church Consultant, Price said. He will provide consultation for and work with legacy churches, which are those churches that have determined that they are moving to end their ministries.
Additionally, Kuchenbrod will continue to provide ongoing management and administrative support for the Consolidated Trust Funds. Assets invested in CTF have grown from less than $50 million to more than $140 million during his tenure.
"While Senior Leadership and the staff will miss having our colleague as a fellow employee, we celebrate with Charlie this major incremental step towards retirement," Price said. "We are also deeply grateful that Charlie will continue to work with the Conference and his knowledge and expertise will remain available to our local congregations. We are joyful because this transition also positions the Conference to have focused support for churches during a pivotal time in their congregational life."
Kuchenbrod began working for the historic Connecticut Conference in September of 2002 as the Director for Finance & Administration. Since then, he:
- Helped to strengthen the Silver Lake Conference Center ministry, and saw his own children benefit as conferees, summer staff, counselors and deans.
- Led workshops on stewardship, planned giving, financial best practices and endowment management.
- Developed and presented clergy boundary training workshops on financial matters, including management of conflicts of interest.
- Facilitated the Connecticut Conference moving from a mindset of scarcity to a recognition of possessing adequate resources for many important ministries and sometimes even achieving a mindset of abundance.
- Helped to create the Eden Fund, the “green” Consolidated Trust Funds option that emphasizes environmental sustainability and does not invest in companies holding fossil fuel reserves.
- Helped to create and implement the Faith In Our Future Together recoverable grant program.
“The best thing about working for the Conference has been the people I have gotten to work with – on the staff, of course, but also in congregations.” Kuchenbrod said. He added that he hopes that during his time with the Conference, he has “been more than a technical expert… but has provided support and encouragement” for local congregations.
“It has been a privilege to serve the Connecticut and Southern New England Conferences. I have benefited in many ways and I believe that I have made significant contributions," he said. "I believe that I have contributed in important ways to the creation of the new Conference and I pray that it will meet and exceed all of our hopes and expectations.”
Kuchenbrod's last day as a staff employee is March 31st.