Episcopal News Service reports from Executive Council on a presentation by the Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church:
[Episcopal News Service – Chicago, Illinois] One of the co-conveners of the Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church told Executive Council Oct. 15 that the task force was aiming for “not just a legislative success”; that is, having the 2015 General Convention accept its recommendations.
“The real challenge is actually not in the legislative success; the real challenge is turning the proposals into real action and into a sustained way of working across the church in a way that really meets all of our dreams and visions for what the church should be,” said Co-convener Katy George.
TREC’s work began in July 2012, when General Convention, by way of Resolution C095, called for a task force “to present the 78th General Convention with a plan for reforming the church’s structures, governance, and administration.”
Ms. George was accompanied by the Rev. Dwight Zscheile, who discussed the task force’s vision and identity paper. The Rev. Zscheile has written an influential paper that, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I didn’t find particularly helpful, and that seemed to me to betray a set of personal prejudices against the folks who actually make church governance work, rather than an actual set of ideas about how it could work better. I am suspicious of people who want to lecture us on “the downside of democratic rule,” as the Rev. Zscheile does, and fervently hope that TREC isn’t building toward recommendations that will marginalize lay people in the governance of the church.
But when I read a passage like this one: “Other than those who relish church politics, most Episcopalians approach diocesan conventions and General Convention with apprehension, for coalition politics, parliamentary maneuvering, and divisiveness typically characterize these gatherings.” I don’t say, “Ah, here is someone with fresh new ideas for how the church should do its business.” I say, “Yikes. Here is someone who seems to have no idea how difficult it was to get women into the House of Deputies or into ordained ministry; who has no idea how difficult it was to get Bishop Gene Robinson elected and confirmed; who has no idea how difficult it was to pass canonical protections for transgender people; and who has no idea how close the church came to backtracking in several of those instances.