With a mix of emotions, I am writing today to let you know that our founder, Nurya Parish, is stepping down as Executive Director. Obviously, we will miss Nurya’s leadership tremendously. Her contributions to the organization she envisioned and created are almost too many to list. Over the past ten years, Nurya has often told the story of her call from God to start the Farm, but her intelligence, creativity, and dogged commitment brought that call to life. Though this is a watershed moment for our organization, she has laid a remarkable foundation for Plainsong to continue to flourish.
We are not unprepared. We have been working on our leadership transition plan for several months. Part of this plan is that Nurya will remain our Executive Director through the end of February. After a short break, she plans to continue her support of Plainsong Farm as a community member and volunteer, while focusing on serving God as a priest and an advocate for creation care and new ministry development.
Though Nurya’s departure is obviously a major change, she leaves the organization in exceptionally capable hands. Our outstanding staff—Mike Edwardson, Emily Ulmer and Katharine Broberg—are all committed long-term to the Farm and ready to step into larger roles. The Board members are equally dedicated to ensuring that our entire programming schedule will continue in 2024 and beyond. Most importantly, our mission to Connect People, Places and God will remain unchanged.
All of us are particularly excited about our transition to a collective leadership model. Nurya has been involved in planning for this shift and is excited to see our “connections” mission realized in our structure. Mike, Emily and Katharine together will co-direct the farm and are already developing the strategy to do so immediately after Nurya’s transition.
We ask for your prayers as we embrace this new season for Plainsong Farm. As partners in the renewal of God’s creation, we look forward to strengthening our relationship with you. Finally, to celebrate Nurya’s tenure and send her on her new journey with love and joy, the Board and I invite you to a Liturgy of Blessing on March 10 at 4:30 at the Farm. Please save the date.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Mike.McIntosh@plainsongfarm.com
With warmest regards,
Mike McIntosh, Board Chair
In 2008, I started to sense that God might be calling me to work to bring Plainsong Farm to life. I now see before my eyes what once felt like an impossible dream. God did this, and I got to help. I will always be grateful for this incredible journey.
When Plainsong incorporated, I made a commitment to serve as Executive Director through the end of 2023. Last year I prayed long and hard about whether I was called to continue in this role. As I did, I saw that serving as Plainsong’s Executive Director is no longer my call.
I believe that, to the degree possible within our economy, God calls us to work that gives us life. I love serving God as a priest of the Episcopal Church, I love startups and turnarounds and I love writing and speaking. Serving as Executive Director of an established, functioning non-profit organization is not life-giving to me. I started to feel that remaining Plainsong’s Executive Director would do a disservice to Plainsong and to myself. Accordingly, I notified our Board of Directors of my desire to stepdown.
I am excited that the Board then decided to empower Emily, Katharine and Mike as the organization’s Co-Directors. Plainsong came to life through collaborative leadership; this next step in Plainsong’s journey formalizes that reality. I am so excited, in fact, that I have volunteered to serve on the organization’s Fund Development Committee. Even though I won’t be the Executive Director anymore, I will continue to support Plainsong Farm as generously as I can - and I hope you will too. (A special plea - leadership transitions can be challenging! Your gift this year really matters.)
My next steps are still being discerned, but I know I will stay active in work for creation care and new ministries. I plan to stay connected with Plainsong after a break from active engagement so we can all re-imagine future relationships. However, after some time, I look forward to seeing you around the farm.
With every blessing,
The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, Founding Executive Director