An Overdue Wake-Up Call

Three years of anticipation, a natioTRECnally broadcast Q&A session from the National Cathedral, loads of surveys, more than a few raised eyebrows, a decent dose of angst and, voila, you have it – the report of the Task Force for Re-Imagining the Episcopal Church.

So how will the ripple effects of this report impact Salt Lake City this summer? Is it a radical overhaul of our dearly beloved church traditions? A modest tweaking of a heavy-footed bureaucracy? Something in between?

Well, what we really have is a thoroughly Anglican document, heavy on themes and, for the most part, light on details. And that actually sounds pretty good.

Based on this report, the forecast for General Convention calls for spirited discussion that will focus overdue attention on themes important not only to the General Church, but for dioceses and parishes as well.

Here’s a somewhat random sampling of some of the “seeds for conversation” from the TREC report:

*There’s much to like about TREC’s theme of getting Church-wide organizations away from “doing mission” and more involved with “enabling mission” by connecting communities and individuals for mutual support, learning and collaboration. The same trends are likely to be evident for diocesan staffs. Staff members will become, more and more, connectors, enablers and catalysts. Bottom line: We’re not doing nearly enough sharing at the national, diocesan and parish level.

*One of the spotlight stealers in Salt Lake promises to be the recommendation for a unicameral General Convention. This actually sounds more radical than it might play out. Even with one “house” at General Convention, there still would be plenty of opportunities to meet and vote as bishops and as deputies. Once again, the bottom line has to do with models that encourage collaboration and strive for sharing and efficiency.

*TREC’s vision is that General Convention will evolve to become a Church-wide mission convocation alongside a legislative body. That’s an exciting possibility. Our national gathering, and some of our diocesan gatherings have for too long been known for the controversy they brew rather than the mission they foster.

So buckle your seat belt. It should an interesting time in Salt Lake City!