Crusty Old Dean recently finished reading the Task for for Reimagining the Episcopal Church's (TREC) Letter to the Church, which can be found here. Anyone stumbling across this blog for the first time (as COD has repeatedly said, Don't you people have panda cam to watch? Why are you wasting your time reading this blog?) should know that Crusty has spilled a lot of ink (though no ink actually gets spilled anymore) writing about restructuring and reimagining the church. Back in the fall of 2011, when TREC stood for the Texas Real
In case you don't believe me.
|What does a restructured church look like?|
|Imagine a church where...|
Here COD breaks ways with TREC: "We will have to work through a grieving process as we individually and collectively lose structures that have been critical parts of our lives and even of our identities." There's a reason COD’s motto is let the dead bury their own dead. We have become addicted to structure and process, even in some cases making an idol out of it, and Crusty will not
|Leave the dragon skin behind, TEC.|
TREC then provides a sneak peek at some of the principles behind the changes they will be proposing (the "they" below refers to "changes"):
TREC begins to wind things down by giving some teaser hints of areas where their proposals will be focused. They offer five areas where they are developing recommendations:
Crusty spent much of the spring of 2012 arguing this. We need to rethink and clarify relations between Presiding officers, Executive Council, and churchwide staff. We have a structure thoroughly overhauled in 1919 and tweaked repeatedly through accumulated changes. We need a thorough rethinking of what kind of structure, roles, and accountability we need for this time and place. COD does continue to be concerned that the TREC train and the Nomination process for the next PB are moving along parallel tracks. How can TREC propose any kind of changes to governance when we could quite easily lock in no changes by electing someone to a 9-year term as PB under the current canons? COD has called for electing an interim PB in 2015 to resign in 2018 so a new PB could come in under and revised Constitutional or Canonical changes. See some of COD's thoughts here. I mean come on, there's no funding for a TREC gathering in the fall of 2014 but we added another $100,000 to the search process for the Presiding Bishop?
COD honestly does not know what this means -- I mean, he knows what the words mean, but how will TREC be doing this? Do they know that there's lot of people in the church doing this right now?
COD has been preaching this for years: let's not let this culture of scarcity infect us like some sort of zombie plague. We have resources of institutions, people, property, and finances. Heck, if we closed 815 tomorrow, there are almost $250 million in endowed funds held in trust (granted much of it probably restricted) and a building on 2nd Ave and 43rd St in Manhattan. That's something to work with. Likewise how can we make effective use of the resources we have to shape the changes we need to make? This is going to be incredibly complicated, and we must realize that some congregations, dioceses, seminaries, and even denominations will choose to die rather than change.
TREC then announces its plan for a gathering in Fall of 2014 to present its proposals:
Sure, but you could do both, have a virtual and an in-person meeting.
This handicapping of TREC's work by refusing to fund a gathering in Fall of 2014 is something COD continually finds troubling. We spend three years and over $225,000 to nominate a Presiding Bishop but are unable to fund a gathering for restructuring of the church. This reinforces one of Crusty's central concerns: that there are those who derive power, prestige, privilege, and authority from the current structures of the church, and who will be unwilling to give that up.
COD remains hopeful for TREC's work: the church does need to be engaged and present in this process. There are smart, faithful, committed people of goodwill on TREC and Crusty continues to pray for them. It is not TREC that worries COD. It's our ability in the midst of our scarcity and anxiety to take the steps needed, to which God is calling us in this time and place.