The following resolution was passed unanimously by the Convention. It will go forward to the July 2012 General Convention of The Episcopal Church for consideration with the endorsement of the Diocese of Georgia.
Re-imagining General Convention
Considering the mandate of the Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism, the commission feels charged to address the issue of re-imagining General Convention based on the mandate’s charge which includes ”…including patterns and directions for evangelism,…, leadership development…”
At the 76th General Convention, Public Narrative was introduced and used as a way to tell our stories, encouraging us to think and act missionally. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, in one of her sermons said, “the heartbeat of the church is mission, mission, mission.” Resolution A071 called for identifying and participating in Evangelistic Opportunities at General Convention 77. These have served as inspiration for our work.
By design, General Convention is the largest gathering of the people of the Episcopal Church. This extraordinary opportunity should be used to empower and equip the church and its leaders for mission and evangelism in God’s world by creating a balance between legislative deliberation and a focus on renewal of the church. This can be accomplished by providing training and inspiration for mission and evangelism through intentional leadership training, sharing of “best practices”, storytelling, networking and engaging in mission in the host city – being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ: A community in action.
This would require changes to the structure of General Convention. As a vehicle for that change, we commend the following:
The Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism presents the following resolutions:
To the 77th General Convention
Resolved, the Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism directs that the following resolution be filed with the Secretary of the General Convention for consideration by the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church:
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, there shall be a Task Force of the General Convention on Missional Structure and Strategy, the composition of which shall be at the discretion of the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies and the members of which shall be appointed jointly thereby not later than 90 days following the adjournment of this 77th General Convention. The Task Force shall be charged with presenting a plan to the Church for reforming its structures, governance, administration, and staff to facilitate this Church’s faithful engagement in Christ’s mission to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:18) in a way that maximizes the resources available for that mission at all levels of this Church.
Resolved, while acknowledging the historical legislative function of General Convention, serious consideration should be given to, but not limited by, General Convention missional models that include the following:
- Simplifying the structure of General Convention governance (e.g. Unicameral legislature;
- Training for evangelism, church planting, congregational development, story telling and community formation;
- Sharing of “best practices” and facilitating “grass roots” networks;
- Being an opportunity for the spiritual revival and renewal of the church;
- Increasing the capacity to impact the host community in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Resolved, the Task Force shall endeavor to issue its report and recommendations along with resolutions necessary to implement them, including proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of this Church, so that they might be considered by a special General Convention prior to the convening of the 78th General Convention in 2015, but in any event, not later than February 1, 2015.
Resolved, the General Convention requests the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $100,000 for the implementation of this resolution.
The administrative and governance structures of The Episcopal Church have grown over the years so that they now comprise approximately 47% of the churchwide budget and sometimes hinder rather than further this Church’s engagement in God’s mission. Reform is urgently needed to facilitate this Church’s strategic engagement in mission and allow it to more fully live into its identity as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in a world that has changed dramatically over the years but that also presents extraordinary missional opportunity.