Ecumenical Staff Officer Dr. Tau leaves COB, replacement being sought

COB file photo

Rev. Kyle Tau, PhD

WASHINGTON, D.C. - After more than four years as the Ecumenical Staff Officer for Faith & Order and Theological Development for the Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church (UMC), the Rev. Kyle Tau, PhD, is leaving to pursue new ventures in his ministry.

Dr. Tau has provided staff support to the bi-lateral dialogues and full-communion coordinating committees of The UMC.  In this role, he has been involved in full communion negotiations with the Episcopal Church and has participated in the drafting and production of dialogue reports, policy statements, and study resources related to Catholic Church, Moravian Church, and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America relationships. 

As the primary staff support for the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order, Kyle played an instrumental role in the study and drafting process that resulted in the production of Sent in Love: A United Methodist Understanding of the Church, in addition to coordinating and contributing to other work on the Committee.  He has also represented The UMC in Faith and Order dialogues with the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A.  During his time in this role, he has authored or co-authored articles in Circuit Rider Magazine, Ministry Matters, UM & Global, Methodist Review, and Wesley and Methodist Studies.

COB Ecumenical Officer Bishop Sally Dyck said Dr. Tau’s departure would be a loss to the Council but noted that that she was supportive of Dr. Tau’s next steps in life and ministry as a Deacon who takes the church to the world.

“However, even though I have worked with him the least amount of time, I will greatly miss him on our ecumenical team and the full COB staff. Not only does he demonstrate the theological expertise needed in the bi-lateral dialogues and Faith and Order work, he also provides overall insight into our work, creativity in problem solving, and a wonderful spirit.  We wish him well as he makes this transition,” said Bishop Dyck.

The Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst who is Dr. Tau’s counterpart in the COB work said It has been a blessing to be in ministry with Dr. Tau these past few years, “as he has been both a respected colleague and a trusted friend.  I will miss working with him and how our ministry gifts complemented each other, but I wish him and his family great joy as they take this new journey together.”

Dr. Tau noted that it has been a privilege to serve in this ministry role with the Council of Bishops.  “The last four and a half years have provided me with a unique opportunity to use my passions and gifts to serve the church and for that I am incredibly grateful.  I have developed cherished relationships across our global connection.  While serving as a staff person to the COB, I have been welcomed and trusted as a colleague in this vital ministry.”

He gave particular thanks to the COB Ecumenical Officers under whose leadership he has served, Bishop Mike Watson and Bishop Sally Dyck and to staff colleagues in the COB Office, and particularly to share in ecumenical ministry with Rev. Dr. Hawxhurst.

In August, Dr. Tau will begin studies as a law student at the Georgia State University College of Law as the next step in his calling to a ministry of service and justice as a Deacon.  “I am excited about the vocational opportunities the law will provide, including unique ways to continue connecting the church and the world, “he said.
The COB is posting a job notice to replace Dr. Tau.   Please click on this link to see the job description and application requirements.  The job description is also posted below.
The Council of Bishops (COB) Search Committee announces a search for the next Ecumenical Staff Officer for Faith & Order and Theological Dialogue and invites inquires and applications for the position.

The ESO for Faith & Order and Theological Dialogue serves under the authority of the Council of Bishops (COB) through the Ecumenical Officer. The COB Search Committee seeks an experienced professional in ecumenism, church history, and theology for this position.  The COB’s next ESO for Faith & Order and Theological Dialogue will be responsible for providing supporting academic analysis and critical reflection upon ecumenism and theology relating to The UMC, its identity, plans and positions.  This role serves as the primary advisory to the Council of Bishops, Ecumenical Officer and Ecumenical Staff Officer and Leadership Development on matters of theological and ecclesiological issues of The UMC.
The preferred candidate must demonstrate experience in systematic theology, as well as experience in and a commitment to ecumenism.  The selected candidate will be expected to assume the position effective July 2021.
The ESO for Faith & Order and Theological Dialogue is responsible for staffing bi-lateral theological dialogues and full-communion coordinating committees of The UMC. Additional key functions that are the responsibility of the ESO for Faith & Order and Theological Dialogue include, but are not limited to:
  • Perform scholarly research and create written resources for the COB, The UMC and general public on topics relating to United Methodist identity and general topics relating to ecclesiology, ecumenism, theological dialogue, interreligious relationships and Faith & Order.
  • Partner with United Methodist seminaries to support scholarly research and discussions on these topics as requested.
  • Provide interpretation and reflection upon the theological and ecclesiological implications of ecumenical and interreligious activities, policies and plans of The UMC.
  • Coordinate and support the theological dialogues and full communion coordinating committees of The UMC under the oversight of the COB and the direction of the Ecumenical Officer.  This support may include overseeing logistics, strategizing goals and outcomes, taking meeting minutes, drafting reports and press releases, and contributing materially to the work of the committees by research, drafting and editing of products.
  • Provide staff support to the United Methodist Committee on Faith and Order, coordinating its annual meeting(s), and providing theological and historical guidance in its work, which may include overseeing meeting logistics, taking meeting minutes, developing meeting agendas, drafting reports and press releases, and contributing materially to the work of the committees by research, drafting and editing of products.
  • Interpret documents and statements produced by conciliar bodies, the Vatican and various other interreligious organizations.
  • Work with United Methodist seminaries, colleges, and affinity groups to promote awareness of, and interest in, United Methodist identity and general topics relating to ecclesiology, ecumenism, interreligious relationships, and the history of Methodism. Where appropriate this may take place in collaboration with The General Board of Higher Education.
  • Provide resources (teaching, materials, etc.) to the COB to support dissemination and dialogue throughout their local conferences.
  • Oversee the archiving of COB records in collaboration with the COB Office Administrator.
  • Plan annual/quadrennial budgets of assigned committees in cooperation with Ecumenical Officer, Ecumenical Staff Officer, and committee chairs/co-chairs.
  • Represent The UMC with ecumenical organizations as deemed appropriate by the Ecumenical Officer.
  • Support and strengthen Bishops in ecumenical and theological work.
  • Other duties as needed.
The successful applicant will possess the following qualifications:
  • Master’s Degree in theology, church history or related area is required.  Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or equivalent in theology, church history or related area is preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in systematic theology.
  • Demonstrated experience in and commitment to ecumenism.
  • Two to five years graduate level teaching experience strongly preferred.
  • Experience and knowledge of inter-religious / interfaith relationships is preferred.
  • Active member in The UMC.
  • Proven ability to work within the structures and polity of The UMC and awareness of the global nature of the Church.
  • Extensive knowledge of social media platforms and strong understanding of technical software, including Microsoft Office, Dropbox, etc.
  • Expert project management skills.
  • Superior oral and written communication, diplomacy, mediation, and negotiation skills.
  • Experience in publishing materials for distribution.
  • Ability to operate effectively in a collaborative and inclusive team environment within the COB staff, individual bishops, and the COB as a body.
  • Fluency or near fluency in second language strongly preferred.
  • Must be willing to travel between 30% and 50%, including international travel.
  • Work location is flexible but must have access to a major airport.
Please apply via the COB Job Board at
Closing Date:May 7, 2021
The Council of Bishops is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks and encourages applications from minorities, women, and individuals with disabilities. All offers of employment are subject to the applicant successfully completing background, reference, and other applicable checks.

Media Contact:

Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga

Director of Communications - Council of Bishops

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