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UPDATED: TREC releases final report for consideration by General Convention

UPDATED: TREC releases final report for consideration by General Convention

We’ll be looking this over and listening for others’ voices as well, but in the meantime go and have a read.  You can download it here

UPDATE

TREC final report: first impressions

I’ve only had a chance to go through it once, and there is a lot to digest in this 73 page report.  The task force has structured their report as recommendations “for changes in the Church’s structures, governance, and administration to advance the Five Marks of Mission.”  They have grouped their changes in three areas of recommendations and then offered three corresponding resolutions for General Convention.  These areas are:

  • Restructuring for Spiritual Growth
  • Reimagining Dioceses, Bishops and General Convention
  • Restructuring Assets in service of God’s mission in the future

Some of the highlights of their resolutions are:

  • Calling on the pension fund to incorporate clergy whose income does not come from the church
  • Development of a new diocesan bishop search process that includes mandated discernment with adjoining dioceses
  • Make diocesan apportionment lower but mandatory
  • Establish a unicameral General Convention but that still allows for discussion and vote by order
  • Election of PB by whole of GC, and PB serves as co-chair of GC
  • Cuts the Executive Council in half to 21 members and eliminates EC staff
  • There would be only two Standing Commissions; Theology, Liturgy, and Music and Governance, Constitution and Canons
  • The PHOD would become the Presiding Deputy (from Lay and Ordained orders) and becomes a stipendiary position.

In my first reading my sense is that these changes would result in a centralization and concentration of power that is antithetical to the spirit of change that animated the previous General Convention which authorized this Task Force.  There are some good ideas throughout, but as a whole I’m not so sure.  It bears closer analysis and review, which we will bring to you in the following days.

Posted by Jon White

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

What is the rationale for a unicameral GC?

Won't that cause the bishops to dominate GC? Especially if coadjutors and suffragans all get voting power?

Shouldn't we instead be giving more power and initiative to the laity?

Seems to me that TREC is confusing "nimble" or "efficient" with "top-down."

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Samuel Knopf
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Samuel Knopf

So, so disappointing. I so wanted it to be more imaginative, and more radical in the sense of more getting back to our roots.

It is the sort of thing one saw from the centralised Soviet Union, that plus increased and unfounded mandates from on high. Note the now discredited idea that the people farthest away (815) from the local mission field know best.

If your read the report closely, note that the "unicameral" body is in fact tricameral houses at various, albeit unspecified times.

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Ruth Meyers
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Ruth Meyers

I'm still reading and digesting, as I'm sure many are. As I move further through the report, I'll be looking for some detail about a couple of things that stood out as I began reading. The continuing commissions don't include ecumenical and interfaith relations, one area that needs a churchwide structure to support it. And I wonder about the basis for the resolution about theological education; I'm not aware of consultation with seminaries, so it's not clear to me how they came to their recommendation.

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Tom Sramek, Jr.
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Tom Sramek, Jr.

I get the whole "no centralization" thing, but I'm wondering how one gets to a streamlined General Cinvention, Executive Council, and Episcopal Church Center without either centralizing (i.e. consolidating) or simply letting things go. If the current form of General Convention is unwieldy and a slimmed-down version is too centralized, then what is the third choice?

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