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$15 million campaign for bishops’ health, wellness, education

$15 million campaign for bishops’ health, wellness, education

The following Press Release was just received from The Office of Public Affairs. Was anyone else under the impression that this is the most pressing need in the church? While Deputies have to seek outside funding to get their work done? Is this the new way we fund programs? What other questions does this raise for you?


The well-being of bishops is important but $15 million? There was anxiety among the bishops at General Convention when cuts to their budget were discussed along with all the other cuts that had to be made. Is this the response? What about Mission, Communication, Youth and Young Adults – the other priorities of the budget? What about debt of seminarians and their wellbeing? See below for Budget Priorities from 2009 General Convention.

The Episcopal Church

Office of Public Affairs

College For Bishops announces endowment campaign to insure

future health, wellness, education of Episcopal bishops

Endowing a Sustainable Future

[May 3, 2011] The College for Bishops has announced the formation of a $15 million endowment campaign to insure the future of the organization, which is designed to provide education and formation for Episcopal bishops in all stages of their ministry.

The campaign, Endowing a Sustainable Future, is chaired by the Rt. Rev. F. Clayton Matthews, Bishop for Pastoral Development and Managing Director of the College for Bishops. He is joined by a group of 30+ other bishops from throughout the United States.

“Through its myriad of programs, offerings, and educational enrichment sessions, the College for Bishops has proven to be invaluable for our bishops, which in turn has greatly benefitted clergy and laity,” explained Bishop Matthews. “Our goal now is to make sure that these offerings are available for future generations of Episcopalians.”

The mission of the College for Bishops is to provide opportunities for education and formation that will strengthen bishops in their personal lives, as diocesan leaders in God’s mission and in their vocation in service to the Episcopal Church.

For more information about Endowing a Sustainable Future, contact Clayton Matthews

About the College For Bishops

The College for Bishops was created in 1993 in response to a specific need to strengthen the Episcopal Church’s bishops. The College for Bishops received non-profit status in 2010.

The College for Bishops provides the only formal resource to engage and guide bishops in the Episcopal Church and some parts of the Anglican Communion in the formation of their episcopal ministry. It can take a minimum of three years for a newly-ordained bishop to become comfortable in his or her new role.

Since the health of bishops, clergy and congregations are tied together, through the College, bishops develop vision and resources to deepen their own and the Church’s sense of mission thereby giving them the ability to sustain the benefit of forming and supporting clergy and equipping laity within dioceses.

Among the programs: 90 Day Companion Program for a newly-elected bishops; New Bishops and Spouses’ Conference; Living Our Vows Program, a canonically mandated three-year transitional resource program; Short Courses, Small Group Studies and Continuing Education; CREDO for Bishops

“I have found the work of the College for Bishops to have had an immensely positive impact not only on bishops, but on the functioning of the entire Church,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has noted. “I believe that it is essential to secure the future of this program in order to ensure the continued educational and formational growth of episcopal leaders in a community environment.”

College for Bishops: College for Bishops

The Episcopal Church

# # # #

From the 2009 General Convention Budget:

PRIORITIES

The 76th General Convention adopted the following priorities to guide the work of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance and to inform the entire church of where we will engage mission in the forthcoming triennium. We understand these as priorities for the ministry of The Episcopal Church, and in the spirit of Ubuntu, not as priorities one over another. All are essential and of equal value, and should be received with a “both/and” rather than an “either/or” spirit as together they engage and empower the communicants, congregations and dioceses of this church in common ministries that serve God’s mission. Our hope and prayer is that these mission funding priorities will excite and energize all members of our church as have those adopted by the 75th General Convention – that the heartbeat of our Episcopal Church will forever be “mission, mission, mission.”

Networking the members of the Body of Christ

a. Establishing and supporting collaborative efforts within and among dioceses and congregations to promote vibrant ministry in service to God’s mission

b. Structuring healthy relationships with overseas dioceses of The Episcopal Church and those Anglican provinces historically related to The Episcopal Church, clarifying commitments with firm timelines and establishing necessary accountability

c. Promoting partnerships with other dioceses and churches of the Anglican Communion, encouraging multi-diocese mission efforts that reduce redundancy and enhance relationships both domestic and foreign

d. Advancing ecumenical relationships and collaboration

Alleviating Poverty and Injustice

a. Inspiring and modeling a genuine commitment to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals

b. Addressing, domestically and abroad, the challenges and consequences of a failing global economy

c. Advocating for and working to provide education, healthcare, employment, housing, and equal rights for all of God’s beloved

d. Promoting environmental sustainability and stewardship of creatio

Claiming our Identity

a. Exploring and discovering who we are as The Episcopal Church, within the comprehensive reality of our complex culture and in relationship to others

b. Educating about Episcopal Church governance and polity, forming at all ages our Christian, Episcopal, and Anglican identity

c. Telling Christ’s story and our story, utilizing current technology and a vibrant contemporary communications network

Growing Congregations and the Next Generations of Faith

a. Establishing lifelong Christian formation throughout the church, with specific support of youth and young adults

b. Making evangelists of all communicants

c. Teaching and developing the spiritual discipline of giving

d. Providing discernment and formation of lay and ordained ministries

e. Supporting congregational vitality and development, with particular attention to immigrant, indigenous, and underserved population

Strengthening Governance and Foundations for Ministry

a. Inspiring and developing sound leadership at all levels of the church

b. Moving from programmatic structures to ministry networks

c. Collaborating with seminaries and dioceses to restructure and retool theological education for a changing church

d. Reviewing provincial and diocesan configurations and composition

e. Assuring standards of accountability and measurement of outcome

f. Providing legal and operational support for dioceses in transition or litigation

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George McGonigle

Establishing an endowment for the College is probably a good idea but the timing of this announcement is awful! How about a “quiet” campaign for 1/2 the total and no further announcements until this has been fully subscribed?

Richard E. Helmer

The negative comments and even the commentary in this article all seem to have one cynical implication: that the bishops are indifferent to the needs of those hurting in the world.

Travis, not at all. And I point out to you that there is at least one bishop in this thread who has commented, and not positively to the initiative…nor cynically, either.

I’m more concerned that this announcement could be read cynically, as you suggest. And that means it has the potential of being unhelpful, most of all to our bishops, who are often on a razor’s edge in the rough-and-tumble of ecclesiastical politics even at the best of times. A more apt description to the timing and tenor of this announcement is that it risks coming across to the wider church as “tone deaf.”

More concretely, I have to wonder about the bishops funding an initiative for their own House when we hear little if anything publicly about their endeavors to tangibly help fund the General Convention priorities. These I think are most pressing, as our bishops are beholden to the financial decisions of General Convention (those pesky vows of obedience) just like the rest of our clergy are. Yes, they can go off and start a separate 501(c)3, as can we all, but priorities still matter, and they might offer a better context in making the case on building the endowment for the college. The press release doesn’t seem to give them a mention.

In any case, I freely admit, with more than a bit of self doubt, that we bloggers do like to engage in “Monday morning quarter-backing” and, like you, I very much prefer to give our bishops the benefit of the doubt. Certainly I see evidence elsewhere that they are sympathetic to the financial struggles their congregations are experiencing. Would, however, that we hear more about the actions being undertaken in response. . .

Travis Trott

The negative comments and even the commentary in this article all seem to have one cynical implication: that the bishops are indifferent to the needs of those hurting in the world. I highly doubt that this is true. I know that my bishop is DEEPLY concerned about those suffering.

Also, the truth that there are suffering people in the world does not make this an illegitimate cause. The implication is that if times were better, this would be ok, as if there aren’t always hurting people in the world.

This is a fledgling non-profit with a very specific mission. If it just gained 501(c)3 status, then it is wise for the organization to announce a campaign to endow itself with resources for the future. Also, $15 million makes for a comparatively modest endowment.

I’m certain that much thought went into the campaign, with much concern and sensitivity to the current state of the church. In fact, building one’s endowment during uncertain times seems like a VERY good idea to me.

Gretchen Rehberg

@ Jim, while I agree with your comments, please remember that the surplus was generated with funds donated by both the laity and the clergy, and as one who gives more than the full tithe, I do think forgetting that the clergy also give generously to the work of the church with our money is a mistake.

Gretchen Rehberg

Jim Naughton

I want to bring us back around to the Church Pension Fund. It is sitting on a significant surplus–donated by the laity. Can we justify pulling that kind of money entirely out of the system at this particular time? I don’t know the answer, but I think the question is ripe for public discussion.

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