Statement from the Episcopal Life Board of Governors
As some of you know, I serve on the Board of Governors of Episcopal Life. And you may also know that there is a proposal from the Church Center staff to change the nature of the printed version of Episcopal Life. The Board has today issued the following statement, and I thought I should post it here.
The Board of Governors of Episcopal Life Media strongly opposes the proposal of the Episcopal Church Director of Communications to change the nature, scope and content of Episcopal Life and calls for the withdrawal of that proposal.
Our opposition comes from concerns about both content and process:
- The board, which was created in 1990 by Executive Council specifically to have oversight and guidance of Episcopal Life, was not consulted at all in this process. We have yet to see the actual proposed budget, even though our Executive Council mandate charges us with reviewing the financial structure of Episcopal Life.
- Episcopal Life serves as a ministry resource to the 32 dioceses and parishes that make up the print partnership, without which many dioceses would not be able to produce, print and circulate their own newspaper. We note also that the costs of Episcopal Life’s production and mailing are paid by these partners, and that the number of printing partners has been increasing in recent years.
- Ending the longstanding printing partnerships at this time will deprive church members of the news vehicles on which they have relied, giving print partners an inadequate five-months notice.
- These are times in which members of the church want, expect and need more, not less, news about their church. This plan will hamstring diocesan and parish communicators, including those not in the printing partnerships, by depriving them of information needed to help keep people informed about what is happening in their church.
The Episcopal Church leadership proclaims a desire for grassroots involvement, transparency and greater collaboration. This proposal flies in the face of that.
The Board of Governors is committed to engaging in strategic planning on matters of communications in the Episcopal Church, but any changes to the existing mechanisms should take place only after a sustained period of engagement that includes all stakeholders, including the Board of Governors, the Episcopal Life printing partners, Episcopal Communicators, the Standing Commission on Church Communications and the communications staff at the Church Center.
We call for a withdrawal of this proposal. We also call for a renewed commitment to continue the Episcopal Life printing partnerships at this time. We also call for an agreement that the Office of Communications will abide by the mandate of Executive Council and will not make any proposal regarding Episcopal Life unless it comes through consultation with and agreement by the Board of Governors.