Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Resolution to Base Budget on Marks of Mission

Here is a proposed resolution for General Convention 2012 (see blog post HERE for explanation):

Resolved, the House of _____________ concurring, that this Convention reaffirms its commitment to the Anglican Communion, and accordingly reaffirms the Anglican Five Marks of Mission as an appropriate statement of mission in this church; and be it further

Resolved, that the Five Marks of Mission are:
  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth; and be it further 
Resolved, that this Convention affirms the following categories of ministry as further important Components of Mission of this Church:
  • To build Religious Relationships, including such ministries as ecumenical relations, Anglican Communion relations, and Federal Ministries, and
  • To develop Stewardship and Leadership; and be it further 

Resolved, that Program, Budget and Finance be directed to center the churchwide budget on these seven priorities, clearly delineating which costs are attributable to each category, and ensuring that at least sixty percent of the budget for the 2013-2015 triennium be directly allocable to these priorities; and be it further

Resolved, that expenses not attributable to the Mission categories described above be reduced so that they comprise no more than thirty percent of the churchwide budget by the 2016-2018 triennium. 

The Anglican Communion has recognized the Five Marks of Mission as examples of how God works in each culture.According to the explanation of the Five Marks on the Anglican Communion website: 

Mission: Announcing good news
The first mark of mission, identified at ACC-6 with personal evangelism, is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus' own summary of his mission (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22; cf. John 3:14-17). Instead of being just one (albeit the first) of five distinct activities, this should be the key statement about everything we do in mission.

Mission in context
All mission is done in a particular setting - the context. So, although there is a fundamental unity to the good news, it is shaped by the great diversity of places, times and cultures in which we live, proclaim and embody it. The Five Marks should not lead us to think that there are only five ways of doing mission!

Mission as celebration and thanksgiving
An important feature of Anglicanism is our belief that worship is central to our common life. But worship is not just something we do alongside our witness to the good news: worship is itself a witness to the world. It is a sign that all of life is holy, that hope and meaning can be found in offering ourselves to God (cf. Romans 12:1). And each time we celebrate the Eucharist, we proclaim Christ's death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26). Our liturgical life is a vital dimension of our mission calling; and although it is not included in the Five Marks, it undergirds the forms of public witness listed there.

Mission as church
The Five Marks stress the doing of mission. Faithful action is the measure of our response to Christ (cf. Matt. 25:31-46; James 2:14-26). However, the challenge facing us is not just to do mission but to be a people of mission. That is, we are learning to allow every dimension of church life to be shaped and directed by our identity as a sign, foretaste and instrument of God's reign in Christ. Our understanding of mission needs to make that clear.

Mission as God-in-action
"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world... So mission is never our invention or choice." (Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121). The initiative in mission is God's, not ours. We are called simply to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news.

This resolution calls The Episcopal Church to reaffirm its commitment to the Anglican Communion and to doing mission in a characteristically Anglican way.  It calls the churchwide structure away from over-spending on administrative and governance costs, toward refocusing on empowering the people of The Episcopal Church for mission, by requiring that administrative and governance costs be contained and that costs of mission become the priority of this church.  Executive Council’s proposed budget for the 2013-2015 triennium proposes that expenses falling into the five Anglican Marks of Mission categories, plus the two additional Mission categories named above, comprise only 55% of the total budget.  The remainder of the budget is composed of administrative and governance expenses.  This resolution recognizes that these levels of administrative and governance costs are too high, and requires that these costs be contained over a reasonable period of time.  

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