House of Mercy going through leadership change

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Update: A rally demanding Sr. Grace be reinstated and that board reform is planned is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the House of Mercy.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For the first time in 35 years, the House of Mercy in Rochester is going through a leadership change. The Mission was founded, and led by Executive Director Sr. Grace Miller. This week Sr. Grace was assigned to a different role as a newly hired executive director takes over.

News10NBC sat down with Sr. Grace and found out what she’ll do next.

Sr. Grace has been working with the poor, the homeless, and the hungry at the House of Mercy on Ormand Street. It’s passionate work that she’s not ready to stop anytime soon.

"Well, I guess the Board decided that I would no longer be Executive Director, and they hired someone else to be Executive Director. It was a Board decision," Sr. Grace said.

She admits, she knew a change in leadership would happen one day. After a year-long search, the Board hired Dr. Tammy Butler to lead the Mission.

"Well, I’m hurt by it. I mean the person that came is a good person you know, but I didn’t expect this, but I have to say it you know it devastates me, but I’m here," Sr. Grace said.

House of Mercy Chairman of the Board Ed Hourihan told News10NBC the Mission is not only serving more people, and offering more services, but its budget is also growing rapidly.

"We have to pay attention to that from a governance standpoint as any not-for-profit has to do," Hourihan said. "You know we’re now doing more grant writing. You know we’re involved with accepting money from the government, and from the foundation."

Hourihan said Sr. Grace is an irreplaceable civil rights leader, and advocate for the poor and homeless. She’ll stay on as the mission’s Spiritual Director.

"We’ve formed a committee of the board, and Sr. Grace is going to lead that committee in working on Next Step Housing which is going to serve the public, and serve this population. So we’re happy to have her willing to do that as well," Hourihan said.

House of Mercy was founded in 1984 and opened its doors the next year on Hudson Avenue. Years later the mission moved to its current location on Ormond Street.

"We feel that this is God’s work, and this is what we wanted to do. What would Jesus do? That’s what we do here," Sr. Grace said.

She does have one thing to say about Butler.

"She’ll do a good job. I mean she’s been here this week, and she’s doing very well. You know I can tell that she loves the people, and you know she cares for them," Sr. Grace said.

House of Mercy said Tammy Butler comes in with a formal background in human services and behavioral health. She also earned a Ph.D. in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College.