The Rev. Susan Snook, member of Executive Council summarizes and comments on the meeting held in Chicago last week:
This meeting opened with some anxiety, and I think some anticipation of fireworks to come. Happily, fireworks did not go off in my presence. However, the Council addressed some important issues.
The Conflict over the United Thank Offering
The issue was taken up by the Governance and Administration for Mission committee, which properly addresses questions of by-laws and governance. In executive session, GAM heard what I understand to be very frank and sometimes emotional explanations of how different people experienced the conflict. I don’t serve on GAM, so I don’t know the substance of those conversations. In plenary session, the full Council approved a resolution (see the news story here), and heard that GAM and the UTO each plan to appoint four members to a working group that will spend significant time addressing the issues and the decisions that need to be made. This has now become a matter for Executive Council rather than staff, as I hoped it would. It will appropriately go through Council’s normal channels: in-depth research by a committee, followed by a report and recommendation to the full Council.
Location of the Church Center
We are exploring two issues: (1) what kind of Church Center (if any) does the church need? and (2) what is the best and highest use of the real estate we own in Manhattan? I can’t say very much about what we are discussing, due to the sensitivities of talking publicly about real estate plans. But I can say that we have retained outside experts to advise us, and are working on both questions. Very soon, we will be issuing a survey so church members can weigh in on what kind of Church Center we would like to have. Be patient, because this is a complex question – but I can promise you that D016 is being taken seriously.
The Budget Process.
Our goal in creating a new budget process has been to avoid the total fiasco that erupted with last triennium’s Executive Council budget, which was created by a small cadre of inner-circle leaders, with last-minute input from the rest of Council in plenary, and some significant mathematical errors by staff. We don’t want those problems! Our goal is to get wide and visionary input from ministry leaders (not just staff or Council) about what the church should be doing. So far, we have reached out to ministry leaders in CCABs and other groups for their priorities, hopes and dreams for their areas of ministry. We are currently working with Council standing committees to assess the input we have received and to set priorities among all the proposals named.
More Money to Spend!
Due to better-than-expected collections from dioceses, TEC will have more revenue this triennium than budgeted, to the tune of about $1.5 million. Church Center leaders and the leaders of the Advocacy & Networking committee of Executive Council (A&N) came in with a proposal to hire a new racial reconciliation officer. After in-depth and difficult discussion in both FFM and plenary session (see the news story here), the Council decided to approve the new officer. This brings up some issues that I believe Council and FFM need to address before our February meeting.
Read it all here
Episcopal News Service reports resolutions from Executive Council here.