Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies shall appoint a Task Force on the Vision and Mission of the Church by October 31, 2012, composed of twelve to eighteen Episcopalians, including lay, clergy, and bishop members; and be it further
Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, and Executive Council each appoint one person to serve in an ex officio capacity on the Task Force as a liaison to their office or Council; and be it further
Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies be encouraged to include a significant number of members on the Task Force who are not otherwise involved in high levels of governance in the Church; and be it further
Resolved, that the Task Force on the Vision and Mission of the Church shall train facilitators to engage the whole church in a spiritual discernment process including Bible study, prayer, and group discussion, to discover where God is leading local churches in mission and ministry, and how the churchwide structure can best support and empower that ministry; and be it further
Resolved, that each diocese of this church shall be invited to engage in this spiritual discernment process, and that other entities related to the church, such as ministry networks, provinces, seminaries, or Episcopal-affiliated entities, be permitted and encouraged to participate in the process during 2013, and be it further
Resolved, that the Task Force on the Vision and Mission of the Church shall also be empowered to investigate and make recommendations, in conjunction with other church bodies, on a plan for:
- Future location of offices of the Church Center;
- Most effective staffing organization and structure for the Church Center;
- Possible changes to governing structures of the Church for the purpose of increased effectiveness and reduced cost;
- An improved budgeting process that empowers the Church for mission and ministry; and be it further
Resolved, that the Task Force on the Vision and Mission of the Church shall use the results of the discernment process and other investigations to make a report to Executive Council and the Standing Commission on Structure by February 2014, containing recommendations for how the churchwide structure, staff and budget might best be organized to empower local and churchwide ministry, and be it further
Resolved, that the Task Force on the Vision and Mission of the Church shall be given the authority to propose “A” resolutions to the next General Convention or Special Convention in order to implement the recommendations in its report, and be it further
Resolved, that Program, Budget, and Finance be asked to consider an appropriation of $500,000 to implement the requirements of this resolution.
Many people believe that it is time to restructure the church to reduce costs and effectively empower mission; however, people at the grassroots level of the church must be engaged in the discussion if a truly new and empowering solution is to be implemented. This resolution allows for a group of people, including some outsiders to current governing structures, to engage the whole church in a process of prayer and discernment of God’s will for the church. By asking for God’s guidance in a very intentional way, and by engaging the broadest possible variety of groups in this discernment process, the church has the best chance of restructuring for God’s mission in the next century. In addition, the grassroots discernment process has the capability of helping local and diocesan groups awaken their own hopes and vision for ministry at the local level. Further, the group will have the ability to propose changes to churchwide structures, including governance, location, staffing, and budgeting, that will enable The Episcopal Church to adapt to a rapidly changing 21st century ministry context.