Greetings! The Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church – TREC – recently concluded a set of meetings, and President Jennings asked us to give a brief report on TREC’s progress from our perspective as members of the House of Deputies. First, for the newly elected Deputies we want to explain, briefly, what TREC is and where it came from.
TREC was established by the 2012 General Convention by unanimous votes of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops. The full text of the resolution is online. Its roots are in the restless, spirit-filled yearning of the Church for systems and structures of governance and administration that are effective, efficient and enable the Church and its members, at all levels, to “more faithfully:
• Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• Teach, baptize and nurture new believers
• Respond to human need by loving service
• Seek to transform unjust structures of society
• Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
TREC has released an Engagement Kit and a series of study papers to promote and provoke thought, comment, agreement and disagreement. You can find this Kit and the papers on our website. This process of engaging the Church has shone a bright light on what most, if not all present at the 2012 General Convention knew in their hearts: the unanimity of the General Convention votes for the Resolution (‘Let’s reform our governance structures!’) has not, yet, led to unanimity or even consensus about what governance, structural and administrative reforms are needed or desired. Our study papers have drawn praise (‘yes, that’s what I want for reform!’) and criticism (‘no, that’s exactly what the Church doesn’t need for reform!’). But we believe that the TREC project is leading the Church into prayerful, honest conversations that will provide for a productive General Convention next year.
At the same time, we believe that the TREC project should not distract or delay the Church, at all levels, from passionately pursuing the Five Marks of Mission. These mission goals must not be deferred while we reimagine and reconfigure parts of our structures, governance and administration. TREC is clear that some, and perhaps much of the transformation we seek in the Church is not about structure at all. We are called to make disciples and share Christ’s good news with a hungry world. That work can happen and is happening in many places in our Church today. Let us be bold and strong in these endeavors, and gather in Salt Lake City to celebrate the powerful stories of Christ-inspired ministry and mission happening now.
Because of requests received, TREC has kept the Engagement Kit open and we encourage you to continue to use this tool and send us your feedback through it. Visit our website to respond individually or to download the Kit in pdf or power point formats. In the weeks ahead, TREC will be revising its study papers to reflect the Church’s responses and the discussions at TREC’s March meetings. We will be interviewing Church Center staff and elected and appointed church leaders to get their input on what needs to change and why. TREC also will be studying the structure and role of dioceses and provinces to see if and how those structures are inhibiting creative mission and ministry resources. Finally, TREC will host a virtual church wide gathering this summer. More information on that gathering will be coming soon. (I have emailed Joe to make sure this language is accurate. Will email you when I hear from him.) As with all of TREC’s work, these efforts will be smarter and more successful with your active input.
Please visit reimaginetec.org and TREC’s Facebook page for more information, study papers, and give us your thoughts about where the Spirit is leading us to improve the structures, governance and administration of our church.
We ask for your prayers as we continue this work:
Holy Spirit, who broods over the world, fill the hearts and minds of your servants on Task Force for Reimagining The Episcopal Church with wisdom, clarity and courage. Work in them as they examine and recommend reforms for the structure, governance and administration of this branch of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Help them propose reforms to more effectively proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, to challenge the world to seek and serve Christ in all persons—loving our neighbors as ourselves and to be a blazing light for the kind of justice and peace that leads to all people respecting the dignity of every human being.
Be with The Episcopal Church that we all may be open to the challenges that this task force will bring to us—and help the whole church to discern your will for our future. In the name of Jesus Christ our Mediator, on whose life this Church was founded. AMEN
For more info, questions or comments, contact TREC members at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rev. Jennifer L. Adams, Diocese of Western Michigan
Canon Judith G. Conley, Diocese of Arizona
Thomas A. Little, Esq. Diocese of Vermont