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Blue Book reports unearth more anxieties over structure

Blue Book reports unearth more anxieties over structure

From ENS, word of a trend in Blue Book reports: everyone wants to do something about perceived structural liabilities and inequities, “from the over-arching to the extremely specific.”

The 77th meeting of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention is being asked to sift and winnow a variety of answers to the question of what to do about the Episcopal Church’s structure that, as one group says, it “no longer needs, nor can it afford.”

At least nine of the committees, commissions, agencies and boards (CCABs) of convention touch on the issue in their Blue Book reports. The comments and proposed solutions range from the over-arching to the extremely specific.

Some, but not all, of those nine CCABs have supplemented their comments with resolutions (designated by the letter “A”) meant for convention to consider when it meets July 5-12 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. (Legislative committee hearings and some other convention activities begin July 4.)

The CCABs are not the only groups weighing in about how the Episcopal Church should change. Resolutions may also be submitted to convention by three other groups: bishops (B resolutions), dioceses (C resolutions) and deputies (D resolutions), and at least 29 of the church’s 110 dioceses have already filed resolutions about the church’s future structure.

Many of those diocesan resolutions are based on a model resolution suggested to the House of Bishops in September by Bishop Stacy Sauls, a member of the house who is also the church’s chief operating officer. (A video version of Sauls’ presentation about structural change, made as he presented it to Episcopal Church Center staff, is here).

The model resolution would have convention call for a special commission appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies to present to a special meeting of General Convention before the 78th General Convention in 2015 “a plan to the church for reforming its structures, governance, administration, and staff to facilitate this church’s faithful engagement in Christ’s mission….”

Sauls told the church’s Executive Council at its April 18 – 20 meeting that he wants to talk with the council and the church “about putting everything on the table and rebuilding the church for a new time that has no precise historical precedent.” He added that he wants to talk to council “not about the panic of our declining numbers but about how we strengthen what is working best out there and make what is strong stronger so that the strong can serve the less-than-strong.”

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