BLOGFORCE: Where have you seen resurrection?

As we move through the latter weeks of the Easter season, it’s important to keep the story in our heads.  Theres a lot of doom and gloom around cultural change and restructuring, but we are a people of the Resurrection.

The BLOGFORCE question before us:  “Where have you experienced resurrection, either in the church or otherwise, this Holy Week and Easter Season?”

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 3rd of May.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.


tweetchatLook during the week for more information on our next Acts8 tweetchat, which is scheduled for Monday, May 4th at 9PM EDT using #acts8tc

BLOGFORCE Roundup: Why the (DF) Missionary Society (of the PECUSA)?

This week, we challenged the BLOGFORCE to answer the third of three questions about the different levels of the church:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Missionary Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

The submissions for this week in order of being received were:

Andy Doyle blogged, “Thoughts on the Future Diocese and Future Wider Church Structure

 At the core of a missionary Episcopal Church is a bishop serving God’s people and  undertaking service and evangelism for the sake of reconciliation. The only reason to have a diocese is to help organize the mission of a particular area, and to stay out of the way of a living Church making its missionary journey. The only reason to have a wider church organization is to organize the mission for a particular region. Everything else is extra. This has been the essence of our structure and it continues to be so today. Sure, we can add a lot of other things to it. Those who are the elite power brokers in the organization will tell us that their parts are also essential.  This is not true, though. It is a lie one leader tells its Church citizens in order to maintain their place in power. The Church would continue to make its way in the world without all that we pretend is necessary. Our structures have been and forever will be a utilitarian exoskeleton for the real work of God’s Holy Spirit. What we know today is that this skeleton and all its scaffolding and framework which we have so labored to construct no longer works. It no longer protects us. It no longer enables us to be agile in the culture. It no longer supports the mission efforts of our Church. The present church is organized to operate in a context that no longer exists. The same pressures that all major manufacturing companies and institutions face in this time period are the same pressures the church faces.

Steve Pankey Blogged, “What is the mission of the (DF) Missionary Society (of the PECUSA)?

Where The Missionary Society (the in house term for that long title above) gets its mission comes, I believe, in the next question in the Catechism
Q. How doe the Church pursue its mission?
A. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love.

It seems to me that this is the mission of the Church-Wide Structure: to enable Common Prayer, to support the proclamation of the Gospel, and to promote through education, advocacy, and study; justice, peace, and love.

Christopher Arnold Blogged, “BLOGFORCE: Why The Episcopal Church?

Parish and Diocese I can talk about. The provincial level of TEC is far more muddled for me. I think I feel about it the way many Americans feel about the federal government: a bit suspicious, not sure it represents my interests, wanting it to be better than it is, and not sure how to make it that way.

Nurya Love Parish Blogged, “How should the church work? A post for church geeks.

According to the logic of our polity, the diocese would be the basic mission unit of the church and the churchwide structure would primarily exist to facilitate growth and health of the dioceses. But that’s not what I see.

Susan Snook Blogged, “The Mission of the Church-wide Structure.

Lots of people talk about mission and mean completely different things by it. I think the church-wide structure’s mission is fairly simple and straightforward. But there’s one component of it that has not been done well at all: providing inspirational, strategic leadership for the whole church.

Gay Clark Jennings Blogged, “Structure, Identity, and Magical Thinking.

In the last few years, there’s been an identity crisis brewing in some of the churchwide structures of the Episcopal Church. When structure and identity get confused, we run the risk of thinking that if we make a few big, grand gestures—change the name of the church, rearrange some departments, get rid of our bicameral General Convention—we have taken the problems that confront us seriously. When we talk about structure as if it will save us, we’re not really talking about structure. We’re talking about our identity and our vision for the future.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


 Continue the Conversation on Twitter!

tweetchatActs8 will be hosting a one-hour tweetchat on the evening of this roundup (3/23) at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.  Use the hashtag #acts8tc.


The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE: Why the (DF) Missionary Society (Of the PECUSA)?

So now that the TREC report has been released and debated ad-infinitem, ACTS 8 is hosting a three-part BLOGFORCE challenge focussed on mission and structure at different levels of the church.  Over the course of this, we will be asking the following three questions:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Missionary Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

This week’s challenge is question three.  A large part of the angst in the church is over national mission and structures.  What should the mission be and how should it be structured to serve that?

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 22nd of March.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.


tweetchatLook during the week for more information on our next Acts8 tweetchat, which is scheduled for Monday, March 23rd at 9PM EDT using #acts8tc

BLOGFORCE Roundup: Why the Diocese?

This week, we challenged the BLOGFORCE to answer the Second of three questions about the different levels of the church:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Mission Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

Chris Arnold blogged, “BLOGFORCE: Why the diocese?

Why the diocese? Can’t really imagine an Episcopal Church without dioceses or bishops. Two reasons, though: they rescue us from isolationism and tribalism, and they share out the harvest work in the vineyard.

Steve Pankey blogged, “Why the Diocese?

To me, the mission of the diocese is quite simply, to equip us for our ministries.  Certainly there a few ministries that are best done at the diocesan level, but to my mind that list is very, very small.  As the hub from which congregations radiate from, the diocese should serve to facilitate the ministries of each member congregation.  It should serve as a hub of communication, of best practices sharing, of training, and of support.

Amy Real Coultas blogged, “We are the diocese

A few days from now the diocese will preach a sermon that insists, despite all messages to the contrary from both the church and the world, that everyone listening (and those not listening!) are the very creation of God, and beloved of God, and that they are not alone, ever, and that in Jesus, their whole lives are loved and turned upside down, and made new, and that they have a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. The diocese will say: there is hope. The diocese will say: there is something more true, and more powerful, than wealth, fashion, debt, fear, technology, divorce, betrayal, racism, sin. There is even something more true than death: life. Your life, God’s life, your neighbor’s life. And Love. Love is more powerful than all those things combined.

Holli Powell blogged, “Why the Diocese? A BLOGFORCE reflection

Last week’s Acts 8 Moment BLOGFORCE prompt was number two of three in a series. The first question was: “what is the mission of the congregation? How should it be structured to serve its mission?” The second: “What is the mission of the diocese? How should it be structured to serve its mission?” And the final question, which you may have guessed, will be: “What is the mission of the denominational office? How should it be structured to serve its mission?” I didn’t get a chance to respond to the first question (February 2015 was NOT MY FRIEND), and apparently I’m too late to be included in the roundup for question two, but I have some thoughts, so I’m going to share them anyway. This may turn into a treatise on all three questions, so … you’ve been warned. #churchnerdalert

Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale blogged, “BLOGFORCE Challenge: What’s a Diocese For?”

The fact of the matter is that many of the big things that have happened in our diocese over the last few years have been ideas originating from lay and clergy folks from around central and southern Indiana latching onto an idea and making it happen, with the diocese signing on to many of these ideas to help them achieve liftoff. Examples have included a multi-parish operation to build and provide sustainable funding for a school in Haiti, and providing a home and technical resources for dailyoffice.org, which originates in Lafayette, Indiana and has helped thousands of people around the world exercise the habits of prayer to develop a closer relationship with God.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


 Continue the Conversation on Twitter!

tweetchatActs8 will be hosting a one-hour tweetchat on the evening of this roundup (3/2) at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.  Use the hashtag #acts8tc.


The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE: Why the Diocese?

So now that the TREC report has been released and debated ad-infinitem, ACTS 8 is hosting a three-part BLOGFORCE challenge focussed on mission and structure at different levels of the church.  Over the course of this, we will be asking the following three questions:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Mission Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

This week’s challenge is question two.  Much has been made of the idea that theologically the “smallest unit” of the church is the diocese.  What is the mission of a diocese and how should it ideally be structured to serve its mission?  What might it look like if we re-tooled from the ground up?

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 27th of February.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.


tweetchatLook during the week for more information on our next Acts8 tweetchat, which is scheduled for Monday, March 2nd at 9PM EDT using #acts8tc

BLOGFORCE ROUNDUP – What is a Congregation?

congregation3This week, we challenged the BLOGFORCE to answer the first of three questions about the different levels of the church:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Mission Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

Here are the responses:

Linda Mizwiki blogged,  “What is a congregation? It’s where sh*t gets real

A congregation is the in-breath and out-breath of the church.  It is where the mundane becomes the sacred.  It is God’s money laundering service, taking our junk, our baggage, our brokenness, our pride, and turns it into service, mashing it around together, and churning out love for the world.  It is where our shi*t gets real.  It is where we learn to love each other, and to love ourselves, even when we seem unloveable.

Steve Pankey blogged, “What is a Congregation?

I can’t answer “What is the mission of the congregation?” without first thinking about the mission of my congregation. Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foley, Alabama is part of God’s mission, as the Catechism says, “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (BCP, 855). We do that in a very particular way because Christianity, especially Anglican Christianity, is very much an incarnational religion. Our work is specific to the particularities of who we are and where we are.

Tom Lutes blogged, “What Is a Congregation? Or, Let Me Show You Some Shapes.

I’m not much for structuring action plans, but there are two powerful images that, for me, inform how a congregation can engage with God’s mission. One describes how we are a community of believers, united by our baptismal vows, and the other is what I call “parish respiration.”

Adam Trambley blogged, “Episcopal Congregations: What? Why? How?”

Adam Trambley at the Black Giraffe looks at the definition and mission of many Episcopal congregations today and suggests a change of focus.

Andrew Amanda Leigh-Bullard blogged, “Congregations: Christian Community 101

Congregations provide the training ground for one of the central tenants of Christian belief, that of prayerful community. Through reflection on the missions of various congregations a sense of the MISSION of a congregation is revealed. Rooted in a Eucharistic understanding of belonging, and an awe-filled appreciation for their oddity, congregations provide the perfect place to examine what it means to be Christian together.

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


 Continue the Conversation on Twitter!

tweetchatActs8 will be hosting a one-hour tweetchat on the evening of this roundup (2/9) at 9PM EDT/6PM PDT.  Use the hashtag #acts8tc.


The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE: What is a congregation?

congregation3So now that the TREC report has been released and debated ad-infinitem, ACTS 8 is hosting a three-part BLOGFORCE challenge focussed on mission and structure at different levels of the church.  Over the course of this, we will be asking the following three questions:

1. What is the mission of the congregation?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
2. What is the mission of the Diocese?  How should it be structured to serve its mission?
3. What is the mission of the (Domestic and Foreign) Mission Society (of the Protestant Episcopal Church of America) or whatever you currently insist on calling it? How should it be structured to serve its mission?

This week’s challenge is question one.  While there is much debate about what the “basic unit” of the church is from a theological standpoint, it is hard to argue that the congregation does not have its own unique identity and legal standing.  What is the mission of a congregation and how should it ideally be structured to serve its mission?  What might it look like if we re-tooled from the ground up?

David Simmons
Acts8 BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less origin story abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Sunday the 8th of February.  On Monday, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.


tweetchatLook during the week for more information on our next Acts8 tweetchat, which is scheduled for Monday, Feburary 9th at 9PM EDT using #acts8tc

BLOGFORCE SCRAMBLE ROUNDUP – The Final Trec Report

TRECLast Week, The Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) is issued it’s final report.

Immediately below are the abstracts and links to the various responses (in order received) to our BLOGFORCE Ready 5 Challenge.  Below those are links to other responses that have been highlighted on Acts8 Social Media.

The Crusty Old Dean (AKA Tom Ferguson) made two submissions:

Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead: TREC Final Report” (Which is written in the hyperbolic character of the Crusty Old Dean)

and

We’re One, But We’re Not the Same: Two Proposals for Restructuring and Reform.” (Which contains Tom’s constructive suggestions)

Steve Pankey writes, “We asked for change and they delivered“:

We asked TREC to give us change, and boy have they delivered.  It took less than two hours before the sigh of relief turned into the very visceral response of rending of garments and bowls of tears to drink.  Having served on a Diocesan re-imagining task force that presented its report in February of 2014, I could have predicted most of the responses on Social Media.  The Conventionistas and Status Quo folks will be upset that TREC dared change anything.  Those who are genuinely interested in change will be upset that their particular version of change was not put forward. Only a very small number of people, all of whom serve on TREC, will be happy with the proposal.  All of those responses are OK because what is most important part the TREC report is that the report exists at all.

Adam Trambley writes, “A few small steps in a TREC of a thousand miles“:

Adam Trambley at The Black Giraffe concludes that “The details on governance, including the role and election of the PB, the Presiding Deputy, the Executive Council, and General Convention, are serious proposals that TREC has done a solid job addressing…[However, t]he lack of discussion around financial implications is a fairly large hole that will need to be filled in… The whole Church will have a lot of work to do.  As TREC has said, they can’t do the real work that needs to be done.  They can only propose some structures to make that work a little easier.  We all have to do it.”

Keith Voets writes, “The TREC Report: To What End?“:

I think I am stuck.  I am stuck because I have decided that while structural change is certainly necessary and should always be ongoing; the real crisis in the Episcopal Church is not one of structure, it is one of theology and missiology.  Is the purpose of these changes so that we can create and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ or are these changes so that we can make it easier to be social workers that mention God once in a while?  I am not convinced that our shrinking numbers have much to do with changes in society, but has much more to do with the fact that we no longer stand for much other than being nice.  We have replaced cries for Jesus with cries for Justice forgetting that justice comes with a life in Christ.  Are these proposed changes for Jesus or are they for us?  We can reimagine and restructure all we want, but until Jesus becomes the center of our lives again – all of this is a waste of time.

Drew Downs writes, “Too Safe to Save: TREC’s final report“:

The Task Force had a monumental job and the results are in. The TREC’s final report was released with great expectation to clearly mixed reviews. The report, as it is, is strikingly middle-of-the road. It is more daring and prophetic than my lowest expectations and far less provoking of the hard, local decisions that need to be made in the Episcopal Church. They hint at the problems and nearly name them, but in the end, shy away from them with a nod and a wink. What is left are moves that, in the end, feel motivated by corporate ambitions than theological rootedness. But, it does offer hope. Just in a different way than we expect.

Nurya Parish writes, “Thank you, TREC. Church, let’s get to work.“:

TREC has offered us a prophetic message: we have not thought strategically and allocated assets effectively to serve God’s mission today. If we ignore it, we will endure the consequences.

Susan Snook writes, “Do Not Go Gentle: The TREC Report, Part One“:

TREC has made some good recommendations and some not-so-good ones.  I find myself wondering, though, why we are managing for decline instead of restructuring for growth.  First of a series of posts on the TREC report.

Scott Gunn writes, “Step away from the disintegration booth!

Scott Gunn wonders if we’re ready for reform as he applies the wisdom of Star Trek to TREC. “While we haven’t installed disintegration booths at General Convention (yet), we are living in a painful reality in
which no one seems to be able to imagine an alternative. Not just at General Convention, but across the church, we blithely do the same things over and over again, even while the vast majority of our congregations
wither. It’s costly, but how else could we possibly do things? The pain of the present is tolerable, because it’s familiar.”

Frank Logue writes, “The lever that moves the Church“:

The most important technical fix in a final report that stresses the need for adaptive change is the two-line resolve on page 8 which states, “Resolved, That the diocesan assessment percentage be lowered while making it canonically mandatory (with means for pastoral exception) for each diocese to meet that assessment.”

Using data from the 109 Dioceses, Frank Logue fills in the blanks with a new diocesan assessment.

Other responses noted on Acts8 Social Media include:

Derek Olson – One Thing on TREC

Jared Cramer – Don’t Hold the Presses, Approve (most of) this Thing! — Initial Reflections on the TREC Report

Jonathan Grieser – Strike up “Nearer my God, to Thee:” The Titanic (aka Episcopal Church) is sinking

I will be glad to add others to this list!  Please submit them to blogforce@acts8moment.org.

Respectfully Submitted by David Simmons, BLOGFORCE Wing Commander


This was a

Scramble!

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.

BLOGFORCE SCRAMBLE – The Final TREC Report

grumpy trecThe Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued it’s Final Report!

Therefore, it’s time for a BLOGFORCE READY 5 SCRAMBLE!  If you’d like to blog with us on your reflections, follow the instructions below.

This report has just been issued.  So:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Remember that this is the beginning of a process and conversation.

This BLOGFORCE scramble is a short-term quick response.  so it will end at 5PM, Wednesday the 17th.  A summary post will be posted on Thursday morning.  Due to the length of the report, the Ready Five will end on Friday, December 19th at Noon.


How do I participate in the Blogforce?

Simply blog your answer on your own site, then:

1. Paste the code you can find here at the bottom of your post – note that it is code so you will probably need to switch to HTML view in your blog editor. It should look like this on your blog when posted or previewed:

2. Send the permanent link and a 120 word or less abstract to blogforce@acts8moment.org.  This should be done by no later than 5PM Central Time on Wednesday the 17rth.  On Thursday, Noon on Friday the 19th.  After that, the abstracts will be re-posted with links.  At that point, the provided code will point to the round-up page instead of here.

The editorial board of Acts8 reserves the right to decline submissions that are deemed offensive or do not uphold the Guiding Principles.