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Executive Council leadership responds to call for Special Convention

Executive Council leadership responds to call for Special Convention

Amid the regular budgeting process, the opening of Executive Council’s meeting in Salt Lake City included reactions to the proposal by Bishop Stacy Sauls that the Episcopal Church call for a Special Convention to deal with questions of its structure.

From the Episcopal News Service report:

“Anderson and Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church’s chief operating officer, both used their opening remarks in part to address the way in which Sauls in September introduced to the House of Bishops a proposal to engage the laity and clergy in conversation about the kind of structural reform that he said could shift the church’s focus toward mission.

Anderson was among some in the church who felt Sauls ought to have alerted them to his intention to propose such a conversation and she said in her remarks to council she had told Sauls this. In turn, Sauls referred in his remarks to “the matter that has come between some of us,” which he called “a breach that has been carried on very publicly and regrettably without talking to one another.”

Anderson suggested that the church needs to “slow down” the conversation. She said that the church’s Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church “has developed a sample resolution to help all of us – clergy, lay people and bishops – structure our conversations and work together toward change that best facilitates mission and best limits unintended consequences.”

[…] Sauls said that if he were to deliver his presentation to the bishops over again, “I would have notified Bonnie of the one thing I presented that was new,” which was a model resolution (found at the end of his presentation to the bishops here) that he described as “a vehicle for bishops to take this conversation to the people with whom they work.””

More here.


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Vicki Zust

I think that we need to have a discussion about what the mission of national judicatory is. That is distinct from the mission of the church.

The mission of the church is to reach people for Christ.

But the Mission of the national level judicatory is not to reach people for Christ. It is some version of providing the resources necessary for members of the church to reach people for Christ.

Until we are clear about what it is that the national judicatory is supposed to do, any conversation about how it should be structured and make decisions is only going to lead to frustration and wasted time.

Tom Sramek, Jr.

Contrary to our esteemed President of the House of Bishops, I think we need to speed up the conversation, not slow it down.

Tom Ferguson, aka “The Crusty Old Dean” feels similarly:

Folks, we’ve been talking about restructuring the church for mission for at least a decade, all under the auspices of the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church. What has come out of it? Nada. Nothing. Zip. As Dean Ferguson points out, our church is largely structured the same way it has been for the last 100+ years, with small changes to respond to specific events.

I fear that a “slowing down” in the conversation in order to make sure that every last person is thoroughly heard will result in a church hierarchy that is embroiled in endless meetings and parliamentary machinations while the wider Episcopal Church collapses, atrophies, or disintegrates around it.

Congregations and dioceses may end up pulling out of participation in wider church bodies not because they don’t want to be a part of the Episcopal Church (as it appears to be the case in South Carolina) but because they no longer regard what happens at General Convention or Episcopal Church Center as relevant to their lives or the mission and ministry of their dioceses and congregations. Why spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on something that is irrelevant? Sadly, the account that Dean Ferguson gives is a portrait of pointlessness.

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