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.
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