We know that even the most diligent deputy might struggle to read every one of the 1,128 pages of the Blue Book. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We asked members of numerous groups that submit Blue Book reports to give us just one key takeaway from their report. Six of them rose to the challenge.
The Rev. Katie Nakamura Rengers from the Advisory Group on Church Planting: Together with mission developers, church planters, coaches and ecumenical partners around the country, the Advisory Group on Church Planting is encouraging a Spirit-led, missional movement across the Episcopal Church. We lift up creative leaders and new ministries that we see taking risks, learning from their communities, and engaging the Gospel of Jesus Christ in provocative new ways for the 21st century. Our work offers hope for the future passion and resilience of the Church in proclaiming the good news for years to come.
Katie Sherrod from the Task Force on the Episcopacy: Our resolutions emerge from the belief that while bishops are elected by lay people and clergy of a diocese, they are elected for the whole church, should be formed by the whole church (bishops, clergy, laity) and better reflect our church’s diversity. Shared best practices for search, election, and post-election processes, overseen by a body of bishops, clergy and lay people; establishment of a voluntary discernment process, and mindful data collection will support a healthy episcopacy for the whole church.
The Rev. Lucinda Ashby from the Task Force on the Episcopal Church in Cuba: This process of re-engagement between the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba and The Episcopal Church is unique. It is like peeling back the layers of an onion in ways that are historical, international, financial—but above all, relational. What a wonderful opportunity for reconciliation, and what a wealth of experience with mission and ministry the church in Cuba brings to the Episcopal Church.
James T. McKim, Jr., from the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism: ECCAR is charged with “guiding and monitoring the Church’s work in response to General Convention resolutions directed at eliminating the sin of racism from the life of the Church…”. Good anti-racism work is occurring. However, canons and General Convention resolutions requiring ordination candidates and members of church committees to have taken anti-racism training have not been followed effectively. Thus, the committee developed an anti-racism training framework defining what constitutes anti-racism training which will be considered at General Convention 2018.
Tom O’Brien from the Task Force on Clergy Formation in Small Congregations: Resolution A022 (substitute) proposes a theological education networking team that would gather and disseminate resources and best practices for discernment committees, COMs, and the local formation of clergy and licensed lay leaders. Resolution A027 proposes a scholarship fund for persons who pursue non-traditional theological formation with the goal of serving as bi-vocational and non-stipendiary clergy. Both resolutions are aimed at improving the vitality of small congregations.
The Rev. Nurya Love Parish from the Advisory Council on the Stewardship of Creation: The council’s initial mandate called for us first to develop regional consultative groups, then support those groups by creating localized grant processes. Due to concerns about time constraints, we opted simply to create a new churchwide grants process to support ecologically based ministries. That grants program offered three cycles of funding that made a difference across the church; regional consultative groups were hard to develop.