Just the Same, Only More So: TREC’s Letter to the Church, September 2014

My first reaction to TREC’s latest letter was: Lazarus? Really? Does that mean the Episcopal Church stinketh? My second reaction was, We’re not dead yet! We’re feeling much better!

My third reaction was a sigh of frustration. Way back in the halcyon days of 2012, when we passed that resolution on restructuring, and sang a hymn, and left Convention feeling uplifted and hopeful about the future of the church, in a few places you could hear a quiet little cautionary voice: Everyone’s happy now. But just wait till somebody starts making some actual proposals to change things. Then watch all the forces of keeping-things-the-same in the Episcopal Church rise up and sabotage any actual change that might occur. (Religio-leadership wonks have a fancy word for this – homeostasis: the tendency of any system to sabotage change that might threaten an unhealthy system with health.)

It’s not too surprising that the forces of sabotage have risen up this early in the restructuring process to prevent any change. What’s surprising is that resistance to any real change seems to be coming from within TREC itself.

Wait, what are you talking about, Susan? TREC did propose some changes. Yes, it did – but on the most important issue it has addressed so far – the role of the Presiding Bishop and the balance of power within our system – TREC has decided that we should remain the same as we are now, only more so.  Way more so.  

What’s funny about this is that earlier in its thinking process, TREC really did come up with some creative ideas to change the system for better health and functioning: it proposed alternatives to the almost unlimited power of the Presiding Bishop. These alternatives would create a General Secretary or CEO position responsible for administrative leadership, would appropriately allow both the PB and the CEO to exercise separate sets of spiritual gifts, and would clarify a better balance with the governance role of Executive Council. These were good and creative ideas.

But reading between the lines and with no inside information, it looks like the forces of homeostasis within TREC itself rose up, fearful of change, to sabotage these creative alternatives, and the solution they are proposing is: to keep things just the way they are. Only more so.

Gosh, maybe we really do stinketh.

I’ll talk more about the balance of power in our system in a minute. But first, let me give credit where credit is due and say what I think TREC got right.

  • Times are changing and we need a church-wide structure that is a spur and support for local innovation, not a regulatory agency. Yep.
  • The roles of staff, Executive Council, Presiding Bishop, and General Convention are sometimes overlapping and unclear. Yep.
  • We need to move toward a networked model for supporting each other in ministry. Yep.
  • We need better leadership that sets visionary priorities, develops goals and objectives related to those priorities, and creates accountability to make sure those goals and objectives are met. Yep.
  • The highest visionary priorities for our church to address, which TREC identifies toward the bottom of its letter, include evangelism, community leadership, non-traditional parish formation, and so on. Yep.

So – TREC has correctly identified many of the issues before the church.

treehouse

Having given praise where praise is due, let us now return to TREC’s incomprehensible support for keeping the most important church structures Just The Way They Are (only more so).

Did we set up TREC to re-structure the church, by the way? Or did we just want them to hammer harder at the current structure to keep it standing a bit longer, however rickety it might be?

 

 

The Role of the Presiding Bishop

Here is what TREC has proposed: have the Presiding Bishop also act as Chief Executive Officer, in charge of nominating a Chief Operating Officer, Treasurer/CFO, and Chief Legal Officer.  The PB could fire any of these people at will.

Guess what: this is almost exactly the structure we have now, except that it increases the power of the PB in some small but significant ways.  For instance, now the PB and PHoD together nominate the COO and CFO.  TREC proposes to take the PHoD mostly out of it, centralizing this power in the hands of the episcopate.  And in reducing the role of Executive Council, as TREC seems to suggest, they would also be strengthening the office of PB – the same as now, only more so.

It’s an unhealthy structure. Here’s why.

First, for the most part in the church, we love our bishops, and our Presiding Bishop, and we are glad to have them as partners in ministry.  But we can’t by any stretch regard the election of the PB as a process that represents the whole church.  She/he is elected by the House of Bishops, which is one hundred percent clergy and is not even close to representing the diversity of the church (it is overwhelmingly male, white, straight, and middle-aged or elderly, counting the retired bishops who vote, for instance).

Most important of all: barring a disciplinary offense, the PB has very little accountability to anyone.

That means that once the PB is elected by the most exclusive club in the church (the House of Bishops), the rest of the church has very little input or say in how she or he runs the office, manages the staff, follows the priorities set by General Convention, leads the governing structures of the church, or anything else. The Presiding Bishop has all the power.

That is not a healthy balance for any church. Not even Rome. And I do not believe it was the intention of the original founders of the Episcopal constitution, who set up a careful balance of lay, clergy, and episcopal power. Since that time, as a corporate bureaucracy has developed, more and more power has accrued to the office of an unaccountable Presiding Bishop.

To be clear: I’m fine with the Primate and Presiding Officer of the House of Bishops being mostly unaccountable to the rest of the church.  That’s appropriate, given our view of the episcopate.  What I’m not fine with is having that Primate also be the person who sets all the priorities and rules the staff, with no accountability to anyone for those decisions.  We have carefully set up a governance system that involves all orders of ministry.  Now TREC is proposing to undercut that system.

This restructuring process is our chance to change that unhealthy balance. And TREC has retreated in fear from any change; in fact it has capitulated to the forces that say:  choose one heroic leader to save us!  Give us a king!  With no explanation as to why it abandoned its earlier, more creative proposals.

Look, maybe we’ll keep things the same and the next PB elected will be perfect. She or he will guide the governing structures of the church in setting visionary priorities, creating goals and objectives, and holding staff and others accountable. That’s what TREC says a PB should do. And by the way, there is nothing preventing the PB from doing exactly that now. They don’t do it, but they could.

But do we really want to legislate the PB’s leadership style? And do we believe that an unaccountable PB would pay any attention, after a couple of years, to the leadership style we legislate?

We have no idea whom the House of Bishops is going to elect next summer.  He/she could be a panacea – a great leader who will take all the right actions and solve all our problems – or he/she could be a disaster. But since the probabilities are that over the next 100 years, the PBs elected will average out somewhere in the middle, I think we should create a structure that improves our odds of good leadership, empowering people to use the spiritual gifts God gives them.

And here is what I see: we should have the House of Bishops elect a PB who will be a great spokesperson for our church to the world, and a great connector to the Anglican Communion and other faith groups.  That’s enough of a job for any one person to take on, and it’s the job of a spiritual leader and a bishop. I don’t think anyone could argue with the House of Bishops electing this person, who would preside over that House and serve as Primate of our church.

We should have a second person, a CEO or General Secretary, accountable to both houses of Convention and to all the orders of ministry.  (Specifics of who selects the person and how they would be accountable to be determined – suffice it to say that all orders of ministry should be involved.)  This person’s job would be to manage the staff and help set vision, priorities, agenda, etc., according to priorities set by Convention and refined by a vision-setting process shared among PB, CEO (or whatever we call it), and the rest of Council.  It is entirely appropriate for the person who oversees staff and sets their priorities to be accountable to the governance structures of the church, which means accountable to all orders of ministry. Which the Presiding Bishop is not.

These are two different sets of gifts, and I think it is rather unusual to find both sets in one person.  That’s why we should have two different people exercising them. And by the way, that’s why many other provinces of the Anglican Communion, including the Church of England, operate in exactly this way.

Executive Council

I’m a member of Executive Council – I was elected at the 2012 General Convention, probably as a result of my blogging about the financial issues facing the church. I now serve on the Finances for Mission committee of Council and am the leader of the budget process that will recommend a budget to the 2015 Convention. Pray for me, and for us, for a healthy budget process!

OK, that said: I honestly can’t get too worked up about reducing the size of Council from 40 to 21. (Although did anyone on TREC actually count the number of people they were proposing? It actually adds up to 22, or 25 if you count the non-voting members. You just have to laugh when TREC can’t even competently count the heads in its own “reimagined” structure.)  Having 21, 22, 25, or 40 people exercising power as a body is helpful or not, depending on what powers are given to it.  It’s true that a board of 40 people acts more like a legislative body than, say, a vestry. If we want whole-group discussion, a smaller group might be helpful.

(I do think TREC needs to think a bit harder about how to make that body representative.  I’m not crazy about the provincial structure, but I think, for instance, their proposal would prevent anyone from ever getting elected from Province IX again.)

The fact is, however, that the real work on Council happens in committee. My own Finances for Mission committee is pretty busy, and is stretched pretty thin, with the seven members we have. Want to reduce the numbers on Council? Okay – let’s make sure we elect good ones, because they are going to be swamped.

What I am puzzled about, and what I actually can’t respond to because TREC is so maddeningly unclear (see Crusty Old Dean on this unclarity), is its statement that Council’s role should be clarified as a “governance” role, similar to a non-profit Board of Trustees. TREC’s last communiqué at least displayed a more complete understanding of what Council does:

Executive Council has two distinct functions: (a) the board of directors of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Church’s operating nonprofit corporation, and (b) an interim legislative body when General Convention is not in session.

Is TREC proposing that we do away with (b)? Then who would do interim legislative work – the PB, by fiat? I guess that would be in keeping with TREC’s exalted view of what the PB should be.

Or, as I’m guessing is the actual case, is TREC trying to clarify that Council has no direct supervisory authority over staff? That staff should be supervised through the CEO or COO’s office? If this is what they are trying to clarify, then they should come out and say it. None of the members of Council that I currently serve with would argue with that perspective. We know we don’t and shouldn’t supervise staff.  We do find that staff members are generally helpful and responsive, supplying us with information we need to do our jobs, and we appreciate it.

Here’s the point: Executive Council serves a very important function. Yes, we are the Board of Trustees, AND we include all orders of ministry. Previous Councils have been involved in conflict with staff, or with presiding officers, I hear. That’s not the case this triennium – we have low levels of conflict among Council members, between Council and staff, and between Council and the Presiding Bishop. If clarifying that we don’t supervise staff makes someone happy and prevents future conflict, go for it.

If TREC is trying to propose more reduction in Council’s governance role than that, then they’re going to have to explain what the heck they’re talking about. And also explain why they think the role of lay and clergy people should be reduced while the powers of the PB are correspondingly increased. They haven’t, yet. And I seriously doubt that such a sharp turn in the direction of arch-episcopal power would make it through the House of Deputies, and quite possibly not the House of Bishops, either.

Church-Wide Staff

TREC has proposed that church-wide program staff be eliminated, and replaced by contractors hired for specific time-limited projects. Administrative and support staff would remain as employees.

They have proposed this without giving any reason why it would be a good idea. Would it save money? Would it increase efficiency? Would it guarantee a better mission focus? Would it help us move toward a networked model? Should we set up a list-serv? Inquiring minds want to know. TREC doesn’t bother to explain.

Let’s just start by mentioning the justice issues of moving people from employee to contractor status. I won’t re-hash them. You can read the Crusty Old Dean on that – he says it better than I could.

Let’s also mention that the majority of staff at 815 are actually administrative and support staff. According to COO Sauls, we have approximately 22 “program staff” out of approximately 130 FTE total staff.  Firing the program staff won’t save us that much money, even if we don’t immediately hire them back as contractors.  Has TREC looked at the actual data for what we spend our money on?  I have previously pointed out that no, apparently they haven’t.  If they were, they wouldn’t be majoring in the minors.

I actually think that we DO need to take a very careful look at what we spend money on, staff-wise – because we spend a LOT of money on staff.  Tens of millions of dollars every triennium, a very large percentage of our budget, and way more than what we spend on our governance structures, which TREC has fixated on.  But TREC has not explained what it is trying to achieve with the contractor concept.  The problems it has identified are not solved by the solutions it proposes – they have not laid out any logical train of thought.

What I don’t understand is how this out-of-left-field proposal meshes with the church-wide priorities TREC has correctly identified: church planting, evangelism, Christian formation, community leadership, and so on. If those are our priorities, then how will church-wide contractors hired for short-term projects in these areas help us achieve them?  Wouldn’t we want rather to support long-term, sustained work that we could supervise?

This is not an argument – it’s a real question.  What are your reasons for proposing this, TREC?

I really want to understand what TREC is thinking, but they throw out a bombshell, plunging church-wide staff into anxiety, I’m sure, and then don’t explain why it would be a good idea or how it would help us achieve our goals. Color me frustrated.

General Convention

I will just point out that TREC’s seems fairly clueless in its proposal to reduce the number of legislative committees. Let’s make sure we are clear that legislative committees are not the same as standing commissions. I’m all in favor of getting rid of most standing commissions, as TREC has proposed.  (Yay, TREC! You got that one right! We can quibble with the ones you chose, but in general this is on target.) Task forces seem like a better approach.

Legislative committees are different though, because they are in existence only during Convention. They do not decrease efficiency – they increase it. They do not create work – they respond to work that others create. Reducing the number of legislative committees would just increase the work assigned to each, taking longer for resolutions to come to the floor, reducing the efficiency of Convention overall, and severely under-utilizing the talents of all the deputies who don’t get assigned to a committee.

Actually, TREC doesn’t need to be worrying about the number of legislative committees at all. The presiding officers have already revamped the committee structure to increase its efficiency.  Mischief managed!  That’s what presiding officers are there for. Let them do their jobs.

A couple of members of TREC have indicated to me that what they actually want is to increase the power of legislative committees to dismiss resolutions and whatnot. Great – let them say so, instead of proposing a senseless solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Reducing the length of Convention? Okay, let’s try it and see if it works. We tried it already and changed our minds about it, but hey, let’s try it again. It would certainly help working lay people who want to attend. And working clergy, for that matter – it’s hard to get away for that long when you’re trying to lead a church.

Make Convention a Missionary Convocation?  I can’t respond because I don’t know what they mean by this.  Again, they haven’t bothered to explain.

Reducing the amount of minor and unnecessary legislation that we have to sift through at Convention? That would be a good step, if we can find an equitable way to do it. But TREC hasn’t explained how they plan to go about this, so I can’t respond.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road

From what I’ve seen from TREC so far, I think a few of their smaller suggestions will be implemented. Their bigger suggestions will go down in flames. Deputies and bishops who don’t agree with TREC’s proposals will come up with their own, and a whole different set of restructuring resolutions will pass. But it won’t make much difference to the true issues before the church anyway.

Recall that the true issues before us involve our declining financial resources, and the declining membership and attendance that have caused them, and our need to do evangelism with new generations and new populations. TREC’s suggestions don’t address these problems at all. And it was probably always a pipe dream to sing a hymn and think that “restructuring” could actually “reawaken” the church. (Don’t get me started on “resuscitation” – Lazarus notwithstanding.) Restructuring the church is not going to get us out on the streets, serving our communities and telling the good news of Jesus. At best, restructuring might save us some money that will allow us to do more of those things in our local communities.

And there’s where the rubber will hit the road at the church-wide level.  Given that our church-wide structure is not ever actually going to be out there doing evangelism, the true restructuring will happen in how we decide to spend our money, and where we locate our church-wide headquarters (for lack of a better term), and what we ask the staff we place in it to do. We effectively restructure the church every time we create a budget, in far more immediate ways than TREC’s structural tinkering will do. Sure, let’s fiddle with the church-wide structure and try to get it right. But let’s work harder at putting our resources to work revitalizing this church and helping our local churches tell the good news of Jesus to a world that is starving for good news. Now that’s a mission worth supporting.

 

25 thoughts on “Just the Same, Only More So: TREC’s Letter to the Church, September 2014

  1. Brava, Susan. I concur nearly completely! My only quibble is that perhaps we can *combine* the CCABs and the legislative committees in some way, so that the hard work of the triennium is reflected and carried forward into Convention itself.

    • I just think they could be replaced by task forces, which allows us to bring groups of people together for the needs of the present moment rather than needs identified several triennia ago. We have several SC’s that don’t even really know any more why they exist or what they’re supposed to do.

      • I agree with your reasoning here. “The present moment rather than needs identified several triennia ago.” needs to be the focus of our churchwide structure. Open ended commissions could be eliminated, but in reality never are.

        I think the same logic holds for staff positions. Why continue to staff ministry positions created based on needs identified several triennia ago. Staff positions could be eliminated, but in reality never are.

        The use of the word “contractor” was a most unfortunate linguistic error, but the idea of hiring ministry staff with a set end date for their work seems very reasonable for the same reason that task forces are better than standing commissions.

      • Hi John, thanks for the comment. I think it’s true that standing commissions are almost never eliminated. We have, however, eliminated a number of staff positions over the last two triennia, based on financial pressures alone. I am concerned about the finance tail wagging the church dog in this kind of unfortunate restructuring based on budget cuts, and believe an overall review of staff purposes, and a ground-up redesign of the staff, would be a way better approach. Your point does make sense that contractor positions for some time-limited projects might be a part of a ground-up redesign. TREC didn’t talk in their letter about a ground-up redesign, though, and their logic isn’t clear. I think they need to explain their thoughts a lot better. I’m open to hearing them.

  2. A CEO hired by EC seems to me to be a much greater centralization of power to me.

    On the other hand, a PB elected by a majority of all orders in General Convention (done like the ELCA, no nominating process, just balloting), could be much more representational… Particularly if in addition to changing the election process, a system of annual mutual ministry reviews is put in place along with a clear process by which EC can express no confidence and call for the election of a new PB earlier than the term length.

  3. I hope those who might/will be attending GC at Salt Lake City might have some time in October at Convention to talk this out.

  4. I have to agree with much of what you have said, but my main concern is that GC organized a group of people to find a new way to do business, but the manner in which the committee was structured, organized and commissioned was exactly the same way we have been doing business for the last 80 years. So, it is not unusual to get recommendations that give us very little change. This group is not addressing what we ought to look like in the future in order to do mission, but rather are focusing on tweaking business models that simply reorganize what we have. I see very, very little about mission here. I see more about shoring, reorganizing, re-imaging and toying with the system and institution. Homeostasis? Of course. We set up a committee based on institutional preservation.

    My approach would have been to look at our history — when were we doing mission well, how was it being done, and what was the outcome of that mission. My reference point is the 19th century period of expansion. We were doing something right then. The question is: is that a good model for the 21st century? Maybe not, but unless we look, how will we ever know.

    The other problem with this exercise is that it is assuming that we are electing different types of people to leadership, when in reality, most of the people we elect are the safe, same people we have always had, (yes, I understand that GC has taken some heroic steps, but on the whole, we elect safe people). Look at who we send to seminary. It is like a cookie-cutter. I have known some very good and wonderful priests — we have many. But on the whole, the priesthood in the Episcopal Church is occupied by a very safe group of people who can be interchanged easily. Long gone is the missionary-style priest. (For example, many college chaplains do not understand their ministry as missionary minded — outreach — but, rather they see themselves as maintenance people.)To add to this, in order to save money, many dioceses are training people for sacerdotal ministry locally. Not a bad idea at some levels, but these people do not get the interaction of learning from others, because everyone is the same in their group. They do not get the experience of people from around the church, because they only experience the local. They do not get the length, breath, and depth of being in a learning community that exchanges ideas and theological understandings. They get information and are asked to integrate it without the discipline of daily prayer, personal interaction, community life and the challenging of ideas. We may be training for the priesthood as if it were a technical enterprise rather than an ontological change (which requires much more and is a longer process than simply learning the technical intricacies of priesthood). All of that said, unless we call up new types of leadership — lay and ordained — very little will change. We have the current leadership asking for a new type of leadership, but fighting to preserve the current leadership. Does that sound crazy to anyone else?

    • Really interesting points, and I agree that we have tended to ordain “safe” clergy rather than “missionary” clergy. I am seeing a number of very mission-oriented younger clergy now, and that encourages me greatly. I think the historical approach could truly hold great promise – there was a time when The Episcopal Church was expanding, planting new churches, moving into uncharted territory. It took guts and resources to do it, and those are the qualities we need to have now. I agree that that’s the kind of re-imagining we need to be doing.

  5. As predicted the “Institutional Scorpion” has lived out its nature. Promising outside the box change, it has returned only a redecorated box. No nimble there at all. Most disappointing is their utter failure to even notice, much less learn from the vitality of the grassroots. Just as American Mayors are leading in the renovation of the grassroots without the assistance or leadership of the Feds; so too our grassroots are inventing and testing new ways of being “church” and new ways or prsenting the message all with little help from 815.

  6. A very good post indeed. And one that begins to look at what we should do given our overall objectives. (See, for example, my own essay at http://goo.gl/OWqXxT.) Would that TREC had encouraged a church-wide discussion where more people could have made contributions like your own. Instead, we have a discussion on October 2 that is essentially for show, since, if participants trash TREC’s recommendations, there is too little time to change them.

    I strongly believe that the day-to-day running of the general church (by a CEO or whatever) should be done by a talented lay manager. Our Chief Pastor should be leading in another realm. Perhaps our Primate should be a layperson. That would drive the Anglican Communion crazy. Well, seriously, the PB, who represents us all, both in our church and beyond, should be chosen in some way that gives all orders a say in the selection.

  7. Towards the end of its letter, TREC lays out critical agenda items for TEC in the years ahead;
    ■ Building capacity and capability across the Church around evangelism, community leadership, and non-traditional parish formation
    ■ The sustainability of a fully stipendiary clergy model and the likely predominance of mixed models of employment and clergy leadership
    ■ Implications for seminary education, requirements, and debt burden
    ■ Opportunities for Pension Fund policy changes to improve clergy and lay leadership incentive alignment
    ■ Diocesan viability, the number of dioceses, and assessment requirements/expectations
    ■ Parish viability, the number and geographic distribution of parishes, and fostering new church plants

    These are the important issues that perhaps you (and I and others) had hoped TREC would address. It strikes me that what they may have happened is that having identified these issues, they decided addressing them directly was beyond their scope/capability. Instead they opted to propose changes in the (very unclear) “Churchwide structure” that they hope will create an infrastructure of leadership that could lead TEC in addressing these critical issues in the future. Like you and many others, I’m disappointed both in the centralizing tendencies of these recommendations (if networking is the future, why reinforce a CEO type corporate model??) and their failure to provide rationales for most of the changes they propose.

  8. I’m sitting in a meeting of one of the CCAB’s… and the question that keeps coming up is “why?” It isn’t “Why do we need to reorganize?”. It is “why do we have a church-wide structure?” Not that we shouldn’t, but rather we still haven’t defined what it’s purpose is. My sadness is that this report does not answer that question, propose an answer to that question, or even facilitate the discussion of that question.

  9. I am not a Biblical scholar, but my reading of the early church, what went before, and what came after its establishment, comes to mind in these comments. Christ did not leave or even propose a plan. Peter and Paul did not openly propose a plan, although they obviously operated under some group-wide assumptions. They were re-imagining the Jewish “church” and they busied themselves raising money, converting, church-planting, and motivating. They also seemed to spend quite a lot of time checking on and keeping in formation the early constituent congregations. It seems that the idea was to plant churches, keep their religious training going, keep their principles of belief on track, and spread the word. But the separation from the Jewish structure did occur and the early churches set up an episcopate. Why? From the very begining it was fraught with the danger of a new idolatry, and very soon it became top-heavy and powerful beyond its actual purview. My reading of Christ’s life was not to start a new world order, but to found a new soul order for each individual. The structure needed to continue with that New Covenant was different than what we now have. The only blue-print we have been bequeathed by Christ is the process, not the structure. If we are reimagining we should be focussing on the process, not the structure. Throw out the structure. Using the Bible, and the Episcopal constitution reimagine the process and start from the beginning again. I hope a new, healthy structure can grow out of the focus on the process.

  10. I first want to congratulate Susan for a very thorough analysis of the Trec Letter, thank you for your thoughtful response.
    I would like to focus my response on the Role of the Presiding Bishop, The COO, and the Role of Executive Council. I want to preface my response with some 40 years of executive management experience with Governmental Agencies and Non-profit management in both the public/ private sector and within the Episcopal Church . Without clarity of roles and responsibilities none of the recommendations can be effectively implemented.

    The Role of the Presiding Bishop/ COO.Executive Council
    There needs to be a clear separation of the duties and responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop, the Chief Operating Officer/Executive Director of DFMS and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.
    The Primate/ Presiding Bishop is the Chief Pastor, spokes person for “The Church”, setting Visionary priorities, leading the House of Bishops and these duties are more than a full time job if done correctly.As a member of the Executive Council- his/her voice will carry significant weight as the Council and staff do their work.

    The COO, Executive Director of DFMS needs to have a background as a professional manager of a Corporation. The COO Hires and fires the staff, makes recommendations to the Executive Council for adding positions and presents a budget to accomplish the work of the Corporation. The COO is directly accountable to the Executive Council and his or her performance is evaluated by the President and Vice President of the Executive Council (or personnel Committee), If the COO does not have satisfactory performance, his/her employment can be terminated by the Executive Council. ( A side bar- the COO should not be a Bishop or a Priest as Clergy do not see themselves as accountable to a body such as the Executive Council)

    The Executive Council is the Board of Directors of the Corporation.As the Board of Directors they are responsible for Planning, Finance, Human Resources, Organizational Operations, and Community Relations for the Corporation. The Executive Council establishes Committees/ Task Groups to carry out (with the expertise and help of Staff) the wishes and directives of General Convention. The COO assigns staff to the various committees/Task Groups as needed to accomplish their work. For Example- The Finance Committee is responsible with the assistance of the COO and the Financial staff for preparation of the Budget,- which is presented to the Executive Committee for review and approval.Once the Budget is approved- the COO must manage the corporation within the constraints of the approved Budget.

    Simply stated- the Executive Committee establishes the priorities- and determines what needs to be done- The COO determines how the work will be done and what resources will be needed to accomplish the tasks.

    I know this is somewhat simplified, however the model of large and small Non-profit Organizations is completely adaptable to the Structure of the Episcopal Church/ DFMS a Non-profit Corporation.
    We can have the Head of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop as Members of the Executive Council, with voice and vote, we can have the CCAB as the committees of the Executive Council, reporting to the Board, we can insure there is a balance of Lay, Clergy, Bishops on the Executive Council, making sure we have ethnic, geographic and Gender equity on the Board, the details can be worked out providing we do not sabotage our own process with the politics of Polity. We can model our structure against similar large successful religious or non religious non profit organizations- the Key is accountability, and an Executive Council/ Corporate Board of Directors with authority over the COO /Executive Director of DFMS. The CCAB’s appointed by the Executive Council, report to the Executive Council, and the COO assigns staff to the CCAB’s to assist them in accomplishing their assigned tasks. The size of the Executive Council is not as important as the composition of the Council.
    The Executive Council is elected by the General Convention and charged with managing the affairs of the Corporation in between general conventions,

  11. “[The PB] is elected by the House of Bishops, which is one hundred percent clergy and is not even close to representing the diversity of the church (it is overwhelmingly male, white, straight, and middle-aged or elderly, counting the retired bishops who vote, for instance).”

    This is racist, sexist, age-ist, and jobist language. It disempowers and marginalizes the people you’re using these terms to describe. If you disagree with someone, say so directly. But these sorts of appeals are divisive and, frankly, ugly.

    • Fred, I disagree that pointing out a lack of diversity discriminates against those involved. As I pointed out in the same post, we love and respect our bishops, and are glad to share ministry with them. But the House of Bishops is not diverse – through no fault of its members. Thanks for the comment.

  12. Pingback: The TREC Webcast: More Questions than Answers | A Good and Joyful Thing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s