Restructuring Gets Going in Indianapolis…by Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale

“Surely I have plans for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Who would have guessed that the Biblical passage that concludes the restructuring resolution for The Episcopal Church would be the first words my parish’s choir sang this morning as our priest censed the altar? If even the Anglo-Catholic introit-elves have gotten behind restructuring…can there be a surer sign of God’s favor?

Today Bishop Cate Waynick announced the opening of nominations for a diocesan restructuring task force via a pastoral letter read aloud during Sunday services throughout the diocese of Indianapolis, noting:

In any organization the ‘usual way of doing things’ can become enshrined and go unquestioned, even though situations and needs have changed over the years.  We live in a vastly different world than that of our grandparents, and are facing the need to adjust, prune, augment, and re-imagine the structures which support our mission and ministry.

The 175th convention of the Diocese of Indianapolis passed a restructuring resolution that was a very close cousin to the one passed at the General Convention. In the end, passing the resolution proved to meet far less resistance than those of us behind it thought, but now the real work begins.

I am very excited by the enthusiasm with which Bishop Cate and the Executive Council, neither directly involved in the resolution that came to the floor of diocesan convention, have taken this on. The diocesan convention and the leadership of the Diocese of Indianapolis have now done their part. Now is the moment for the rest of us to do ours.

Nominations are due by December 22. The membership of the committee will be announced on or before the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle (January 18, 2013).

I ask this of the Acts 8 Moment readership:

  • Are you in the Diocese of Indianapolis? Do you have a dream for your church? Nominate yourself for the task force, or someone you know. If you have never been involved in formal church leadership – that is not a barrier to you. The Executive Council is specifically directed to include those “not often heard from”.
  • Are you outside the Diocese of Indianapolis? Pray for us. And if you know people in this diocese, please make sure they know about this. The pastoral letter was to be read either today or next Sunday. By coincidence, these Sundays bookend Thanksgiving, so attendance might be a bit low. The Diocese of Indianapolis extends from Lafayette and Muncie at the North end, all the way South to the Ohio River.
  • Is your diocesan convention coming up? As far as I am aware (correct me if I’m wrong in the comments), Indianapolis is the first diocese to adopt a restructuring resolution in response to what The Episcopal Church is doing. Consider whether your diocese might benefit from a similar body. Note that your diocese may require a somewhat different approach – in the Diocese of Indianapolis, the diocesan convention has the power to charter committees. This isn’t true in all places, though, so check your constitution and canons!