The special task force of the structure of the Episcopal Church, created by the passage of Resolution C095 (which you can read below the fold) begins its work on Thursday at a conference center near Baltimore Washington International Airport.
What are your hopes and fears concerning the restructuring of the church? If you had two minutes to speak with the task force, what would you say?
According to a release today from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs:
Media are invited to attend the opening prayers and remarks from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings on February 14 at 3 pm as well as the review of the group’s mandate. The remainder of Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday’s proceedings and small group discussions are private and are closed to the media. The closing worship on Saturday is open to the media. The Task Force for Church Structural Reform plans to issue a statement following the conclusion of the meeting.
An earlier a media release contained this information:
The Task Force for Church Structural Reform is composed of 24 members: four bishops; nine priests; one deacon; and ten lay people. Three are under age 30; eight in their 30s; five in their 40s; four in their 50s; and four are age 60+. Nine are people of color.
The members of the Task Force for Church Structural Reform and their dioceses are:
The Rev. Jennifer L. Adams, Diocese of Western Michigan
The Rev. Joseph M.C. Chambers, Diocese of Missouri
Canon Judith G. Conley, Diocese of Arizona
Bishop Michael Bruce Curry, Diocese of North Carolina
Bishop C. Andrew Doyle, Diocese of Texas
The Rev. Marianne S. Ell, Diocese of North Dakota
The Rev. Miguelina Espinal-Howell, Diocese of Newark
Professor Victor A. Feliberty-Ruberte, Diocese of Puerto Rico
The Venerable Robert Anton Franken, Diocese of Missouri
Dr. Catherine George, Diocese of New Jersey
Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Diocese of El Camino Real
Ian L. Hallas, Diocese of Chicago
Julia Ayala Harris, Diocese of Florida
The Rev. Dr. Bradley S. Hauff, Diocese of Pennsylvania
The Rev. Leng Leroy Lim, Diocese of Los Angeles
Thomas A. Little, Esq. Diocese of Vermont
The Rev. Canon Craig W. Loya, Diocese of Kansas
Sarah Miller, Diocese of Alabama
The Rev. Kevin D. Nichols, Diocese of New Hampshire
Bishop Sean W. Rowe, Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania
Margaret B. Shannon, Diocese of Texas
T. Dennis Sullivan, Diocese of New York
Jonathan McKenzie York, Diocese of North Carolina
The Rev. Dr. Dwight J. Zscheile, Diocese of Minnesota
In addition, two partners from other Anglican Communion provinces have been appointed: the Very Rev. Peter Elliott of the Anglican Church of Canada, dean of the Diocese of New Westminster and rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver; and the Rev. Sathianathan Clarke, Th.D., of the Church of South India, who is the Bishop Sundo Kim Chair in World Christianity and professor of theology, culture and mission at Wesley Theological Seminary.
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That this General Convention believes the Holy Spirit is urging The Episcopal Church to reimagine itself, so that, grounded in our rich heritage and yet open to our creative future, we may more faithfully:
• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
• Respond to human need by loving service
• Seek to transform unjust structures of society
• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth; and be it further
Resolved, That this General Convention establish a Task Force under the Joint Rules of Order, whose purpose shall be to present the 78th General Convention with a plan for reforming the Church’s structures, governance, and administration; and be it further
Resolved, That this Task Force shall be accountable directly to the General Convention, and independent of other governing structures, to maintain a high degree of autonomy; and be it further
Resolved, That the Task Force shall have as many as 24 members, appointed jointly by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies by September 30, 2012. The membership of the Task Force shall reflect the diversity of the Church, and shall include some persons with critical distance from the Church’s institutional leadership; and be it further
Resolved, That, in order to be informed by the wisdom, expertise, and commitment of the whole body of the Church, the Task Force shall gather information and ideas from congregations, dioceses and provinces, and other interested individuals and organizations, including those not often heard from; engage other resources to provide information and guidance, and shall invite all these constituencies to be joined in prayer as they engage in this common work of discernment; and be it further
Resolved, That the Task Force shall convene a special gathering to receive responses to the proposed recommendations to be brought forward to the 78th General convention, and shall invite to this gathering from each diocese at least a bishop, a lay deputy, a clerical deputy, and one person under the age of 35. It may also include representatives of institutions and communities (e.g., religious orders, seminaries, intentional communities); and be it further
Resolved, That the Task Force shall report to the whole Church frequently, and shall make its final report and recommendations to the Church by November 014, along with the resolutions necessary to implement them, including
proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Church; and be it further
Resolved, That the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance consider adding $400,000 to the 2013-2015 triennial budget, to enable this Resolution to be implemented energetically and successfully,
“…for surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to
give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The administrative and governance structures of The Episcopal Church have grown over the years so that they now comprise approximately 47% of the churchwide budget and sometimes hinder rather than further this Church’s engagement in God’s mission. Reform is urgently needed to facilitate this Church’s strategic engagement in mission and allow it to more fully live into its identity as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in a world that has changed dramatically over the years but that also presents extraordinary missional opportunity.