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Concerns that TREC does not understand Executive Council

Concerns that TREC does not understand Executive Council

The Executive Council, meeting in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, discussed how to respond to report of the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church. According to the report in the Episcopal News Service, Steve Hutchinson, chair of Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission, the Committee and the Executive Council:

…discussed if and how it might respond to the anticipated report of the Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church. The discussion happened around a proposed resolution to form a working group to prepare a council response to TREC’s report, which is due to be released to the church in December. That report will include the recommendations TREC wants to make to the next meeting of General Convention in the summer of 2015.

Steve Hutchinson, chair of council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission which had proposed the resolution, said it was prompted by concern on the part of some that from what TREC has said thus far, “I know this sounds judgmental but it … does not reflect a really comprehensive understanding of what Executive Council does and how we operate, the scope and breadth and depth of our responsibility.”

The Rev. Brian Baker, GAM member, said part of the intent of the proposed resolution was a sense that council should “have a voice in the conversation” about TREC’s work. The Rev. Nathaniel Pierce, another council member, said he was prompted to suggest the resolution because of a “very specific proposal that is on the table now” from TREC to reduce the size of council and the way provincial representatives are elected.

In the end, council referred the resolution to its executive committee to consider a process to use at the January 2015 meeting and possibly beyond for council to consider any response it might want to make to the TREC report.

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Jim Naughton

Everett, while the narrative that Executive Council wants to uphold the status quo is available, I don’t know that it is accurate. Steve Hutchinson isn’t someone whose opinion I can easily dismiss.

Michael Russell

So it has been a little while, but is TREC the Taskforce to REIMAGINE the Episcopal Church or the Taskforce to RESTRUCTURE the Episcopal Church.

I had though it was the former, but most of what has come forth has been the latter. I had thought the imperative was to make us more nimble and responsive, by perhaps seeing what is actually resonating with souls out there beyond 815, not to move chairs around in the current bureaucratic structure, paring off a branch here and fertilizing one there.

Most of what I hear is so late 1960s-mid 1970s that it only goes to show how soon people forget the past.

I look forward to the report when it is finally out in December, but dollars to donuts there is nothing nimble within it.

Just sayin’

Everett Lees

I find the comments that TREC doesn’t understand Executive Council laughable, is it really that complicated? I think we are seeing a difference in how Executive Council should operate and it is easier to say the other side doesn’t understand than admit we are defending the status quo. But please don’t say that the folks on TREC do not understand. Why does Executive Council think they can make specific resolutions or recommendations to General Convention about TRECs work, which the article indicates they are planning on doing? TREC reports to General Convention not the Executive Council. The Executive Council is free to make a statement about where they agree and disagree but submitting resolutions or recommendations would not be helpful in the process.

Jim Naughton

Bill, I might feel differently about this if I thought TREC understood how Executive Council currently works. Perhaps it does, but I haven’t gotten that sense from any of TREC’s publications.

If the council is going to fill in that information so that the convention can consider it, I think that’s a good idea. I agree that the council should not lobby TREC or the church.

Bill Carroll

They can certainly respond. What I question is the implication that Executive Council was misunderstood and should have been more involved in these conversations. The intent seems to have been to create a group independent of existing structures and to have General Convention assess their proposals. To me this smacks of an effort to assert some control of a process whose potential outcomes some on the Council don’t like. I assume that restructuring Executive Council and other interim bodies are among the most controversial of the TREC proposals and will be thoroughly debated and amended by General Convention. I do think that Executive Council was rightly bypassed in this process of fundamental restructuring. Individual members have a voice, as we all do, but I wouldn’t want existing structures as such other rhan GC itself to have too much influence when fundamental restructuring is envisioned. None of which is to say TREC proposals are perfect. They aren’t. But they need to be considered on the merits. I don’t think any interim body should seize the bully pulpit.

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