Tangled Up in Blue: World Mission and Pastoral Development
We’re nearing the home stretch, friends. Today’s unlikely pairing of reports brings us resolutions from the Standing Commission on World Mission and the House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development.
Some of the reports from standing commissions are not terribly compelling to read, as they are focused on meeting logistics and so on, though I hope deputies and bishops will have read them all. This is not a criticism, just an observation about the genre of these reports, which is probably as it should be. The report from world mission, however, is especially worth reading, as the reader can learn much about the state of our relationships with some of our partners.
And now on to world mission resolutions.
A112: Encourage Support for YASC and EVIM. Full text. Likely vote: YES, if amended.
Here’s a simple resolution to “encourage dioceses, seminaries, and parishes to recruit and support both Young Adult Service Core members (YASCers) and Episcopal Volunteers in Mission members (EVIMs).” This resolution would get a NO vote if it stayed unamended, because as is, it only encourages, which falls under the rubric of affirmy and commendy. YASC and EVIM are terrific programs, and if you don’t know about them have a look at the Googles or I’m sure the DFMS booth at General Convention will have info. These are some of the best programs in our church. I’d like to see amendment which might provide additional budgetary resources for YASC or EVIM, because our church does precious little work like this. Or perhaps we could add a call for ways to share the work that YASC and EVIM people do with the wider church.
A113: Continue Development of Global Mission Mapping Project. Full text. Likely vote: NO, unless amended.
This is another brief resolution which encourages “the Office of the Presiding Bishop and the Executive committee to continue the development of the Global Mission Mapping Project.” I wish this resolution or its explanation said what the Global Mission Mapping Project is, because it sounds intriguing. A quick Google search reveals no mentions of this project, whatever it is, anywhere on the internets except for this report to General Convention. I’m not sure why General Convention must vote to continue something that is already under way, especially without knowing what the thing is that we are asked to endorse. If it’s a budget issue, I wish the resolution said that. So if this is amended to suggest why it’s important to take this action, or what the Global Mission Mapping Project is, I will gladly vote for something that furthers global mission.
A114: Honor Covenant and Bilateral Agreements. Full text. Likely vote: YES.
Our church has various agreements with other churches, including Anglican churches is Liberia, Central America, Brazil, Philippines, and Mexico. Some of these agreements include financial commitments from the Episcopal Church to support their ministry and path to sustainability. This resolution doesn’t just commend something, but rather sets policy that we will honor the promises we made. It’s unfortunate that we have to take this action, but our approved budget the last couple of triennia did not fund our commitment. If we have made agreements, we need to do what we said. That seems clear. Note: If you turn to this report directly, you might not know the acronym IARCA, which is unpacked on page 28 of the Blue Book as Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America.
Here are the House of Bishops Committee on Pastoral Development resolutions.
A115: Amend Title III.12.9: Reconciliation of Disagreements Affecting the Pastoral Relation Between a Bishop and Diocese. Full text. Likely vote: YES.
It’s quaint that the bishops here feel no need to provide an explanation for this resolution, so I’ll do my best. In 2012, General Convention created a process by which a bishop and a diocese might seek reconciliation or a dissolution of their relationship in the event of conflict (2012-B012). However, there was no provision in the event that two bishops within the same diocese (diocesan bishop, bishop coadjutor, or bishop suffragan) have conflict, so this proposed addition to the canons creates a process for that. Seems straightforward enough, and it’s not hard to imagine we might need something like this at some point.
A116: Budget for Committee Expenses. Full text. Likely vote: YES, but I do wish there was an explanation.
This resolution funds the work of a committee (at $40,800) that seems vital in the life of our church as our bishops and their leadership must be increasingly stressful. The amount is in line with the previous triennium, we learn elsewhere in the Blue Book report, as there is no explanation for this resolution either.
Note: this next resolution number is out of order in the Blue Book.
A151: Budget for College for Bishops. Full text. Likely vote: YES, if information is available about this cost.
This resolution requests $367,500 for the College of Bishops. I suppose the College for Bishops is necessary to their common life, though I know little about it. Again, there is no explanation for this resolution. If the legslative committee recommends concurrence based on the information they receive, I will vote yes for this, based on their due diligence. Nearly $400,000 is a big budget request to make without providing a rationale.