The Bishop and people of the Diocese of Minnesota commissioned a study group and asked them to look hard at the present state of the diocese and its immediate future. The answer they found is not a happy one. But they have developed a plan to respond to what they found.
From the report:
The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota is at a critical juncture in its life. Almost every measurable trend is downward. Courageous and visionary efforts to address this reality over the past several decades have not succeeded in any measurable way. Apart from a significant change in the way the diocese conceives of its life and engages in its ministry, the BCMS holds out little hope that these patterns will be reversed in the future. That is why this process has focused on rethinking, reframing and reclaiming the identity and purpose of the diocese. Recommendations regarding these matters constitute the first part of this report. The plan outlined on the following pages is designed to build on and help implement the identity and purpose that have been named. It assumes that the following critical realities need to be understood, accepted and addressed.
The plan proposed by the Commission has four primary goals:
- Goal 1: Spiritual Transformation and Fuller Participation in God’s Mission
For the congregations in the Diocese of Minnesota to experience a profound sense of shared spiritual transformation and theological renewal, which leads all Minnesota Episcopalians to participate more fully in God’s mission in our world.
- Goal 2: Renew Congregations in Context
For every congregation to connect or re-connect its ministry directly to its particular mission field and become communities in which discipleship is a way of life for all God’s people.
- Goal 3: Recreate the Diocese as a Network
To redevelop the entire diocese by the end of 2009 to function primarily as a network of congregations and ministries. These networks will exercise local initiative and responsibility for shared ministry in their contexts.
- Goal 4: Develop Effective Stewardship of Financial Resources
For the diocese to develop and implement fiscal strategies that make the best use of the resources God has entrusted to us, and to challenge and motivate all Episcopalians to generous and faithful giving.
The full report is here in PDF format.