My name is Gay Jennings. I am a clerical deputy from the Diocese of Ohio and this will be my eighth General Convention as a deputy. I am the chair of the House of Deputies Legislative Committee on Structure. I am just completing a 6-year term on Executive Council and I served as the Chair of Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission.So who knew Structure would be the hot ticket at General Convention?
What is the structure of our Church?The “structure” or “governance” or “polity” of an organization establishes how the people in that community have chosen to order their life together: the rules, bodies, governing documents (canons, bylaws, rules of order), distribution of authority, and means of decision-making that are used to carry out the organization’s mission in the world.The Episcopal Church is a hierarchical Church meaning that there are several levels in the Church and generally speaking, the” higher” levels have authority to make many decisions regarding matters at the “lower” levels of the Church. Specifically , the General Convention is the ultimate authority in the Episcopal Church in terms of governance. General Convention sets the structure and rules for the Church.As seen in this slide, the structure of the Episcopal Church operates on 4 primary levels: churchwide, provincial, diocesan, congregational.
The Episcopal Church is democratic in its governance and that is reflected throughout our structure.General Convention is a bicameral legislative body in which all orders of ministry are indispensable.General Convention: HOB (bishops) and HOD (laity and clergy).Provincial Synods: Bishops from each diocese in the Province and Lay and Clergy from every diocese in the Province.Diocesan Conventions: Bishop(s) of the Diocese, Clergy canonically resident in the Diocese, and Lay representatives from every congregation.In Congregations, the Vestry, the governing body, consists of the Rector and lay members elected by the congregation.
The Episcopal Church is a unitary form of governance meaning that the General Convention is the ultimate authority. Through the Constitution & Canons, which can only be adopted or change by General Convention, General Convention decides how and by whom decisions are made.For example, the Canons set out a detailed process for the recruitment, discernment, selection and formation of clergy, but the implementation of that process is delegated to each Diocese through its Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, and Bishop.
Our structure is complex which is reasonable given the vast geographic area of the Episcopal Church. Democratically-based structures involving many voices are necessarily more complex.
The Catechism defines the mission of the Church as the restoration of all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
The Church pursues its mission (or God’s mission) as it prays, worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace and love.
There seems to have arisen in some quarters a false dichotomy between mission and governance/structure.Mission = GoodStructure = BadIt’s not an either/or. It is always a both/and.
I believe the passionate conversations about structure are about our identity as a Church, our vision during an incredibly rapid time of change, and how to be about God’s mission in a transitional time.Many of us have opinions about what a renewed structure would look like.I encourage bishops and deputies to pray and think about a renewed structure. What should stay the same? What must change?
The conversation about structural change and reform has been going on for some time.Executive Council’s Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission determined that at least 8 entities were discussing structural change and reform during this triennium.Because the canonical mandate of the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church includes studying and making recommendations concerning the structure of the General Convention and of the Episcopal Church, GAM proposed, and the Executive Council adopted a resolution directing the Standing commission on the structure of the Church to coordinate a consultation about structural change in the governance of the church. The invitees for this face-to-face meeting were specified in the resolution and includedmembers of bodies that are charged with, or were known to be, working on resolutions for the 77th General Convention that address structural change.
This is the list of the participants at the Gam-009 Consultation in May of 2011.
In its Blue Book Report, the Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church listed underlying assumptions and values that influenced the commission’s report to the 77th General Convention arising out of the GAM-009 Consultation.
As a result of the GAM-009 Consultation, SCSC (Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church) is proposing eleven resolutions on structural reform.A100 calls for SCSC to coordinate church reform and structuring during the next triennium. Some believe that SCSC is not equipped to carry out its canonical mandate. It is important to remembers that the membership configuration of SCSC is3 bishops, 3 clergy, 6 laity,and half the members will be new appointees. They also have the ability to identify and call in consultants. So for instance, SCSC could ask the presiding officers to appoint consultants to work with them or they could ask Executive Council, or appoint consultants themselves. SCSC has the knowledge of the current structure and have themselves made suggestions for restructuring.
There are a number of additional resolutions coming before General Convention submitted by bishops, deputies, dioceses or provinces. This slide lists some of the topics of resolutions to come before General Convention.
There are a number of additional resolutions coming before General Convention submitted by bishops, deputies, dioceses or provinces. This slide lists more topics of resolutions to come before General Convention.
Another significant question to come before General Convention is what should be done with our corporate headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York.There appears to be renewed energy to consider relocation. I am aware of a couple of resolutions that will be filed regarding the corporate headquarters.
As with many structure question, there are financial ramifications in keeping things the same, and there are financial ramifications in changing things.Will the budget drive the structure?Or will a renewed structure drive the budget?
A conceptual framework to approach the structure resolutions comes from the work of Ron Heifetz, co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University. He speaks of technical fixes and adaptive challenges.Technical Fix – A technical fix is something we know how to fix. We have the capacity and the knowledge to do so, and we can do it now.Adaptive Challenge – An adaptive challenge is much larger than a technical fix, and signifies that we do not have the answers or ability yet to adapt to the challenge(s) before us. Meeting adaptive challenges requires greater expertise than we currently have, and calls for research, exploration, discernment, and wide consultation.There are videos on the PHOD website that help in understanding this conceptual framework.
Structure Presentation to Provincial Synods by Deputy Gay Jennings
STRUCTURE 77th GENERAL CONVENTION INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA
WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OFTHE EPISCOPAL CHURCH? The Episcopal Church is structured to operate at 4 primary levels: 1) Churchwide – General Conventions and the CCABS that function for and across the entire Church 2) Regionally – Provinces and their Synods, Councils, Committees, and Networks 3) Smaller Regions – Dioceses and all their structures 4) Congregations – Vestries, and committees and groups
ALL • General ConventionVOICES • Provincial SynodsAT • DiocesanEVERY Conventions/CouncilsLEVEL • Diocesan Standing Committees • Vestries/Bishop’s Committees
UNITARY Through The Constitution &FORM Canons, General ConventionOF decides:GOVERNANCE • What decisions will be made at each level of the Church • What bodies or offices make which decisions • How decisions will be made in each body • Or, delegation of some decisions to other levels of the Church
CO Because the Church functions across a vastM geographic area (theP U.S. & 16 countries)L and because nearly allE decisions are made involving all voices inX democraticI processes, theT Episcopal Church’sY structure is complex.
WHAT The mission of theIS THE Church is to restore allMISSION people to unity withOF THE God and each other inCHURCH? Christ.(BCP)
HOW The Church pursues itsDOES mission as it prays andTHE worships, proclaimsCHURCH the Gospel, andPURSUE promotes justice,ITS peace, and love.MISSION?(BCP)
STRUCTURE & MISSIONStructure – The way people in communitychoose to order their life together includinggoverning documents, the distribution ofauthority, and decision-making.Structure enables the Church to carryout God’s mission in the world.
EXECUTIVE During this triennium,COUNCIL& the Executive Council andJOINT STANDING other General ConventionCOMMITTEE ONGOVERNANCE & committees andADMINISTRATION commissions have devotedFOR MISSION(GAM) time to governance and mission and identifying possible new or revised structures that will further Gods mission in this time of rapid change.
GAM-009 CONSULTATIONMAY 30-31, 2011 • Standing Commission on the Structure of the Church • Presiding Bishop • President of the House of Deputies • Chairs & Vice Chairs of the Joint Standing Committees of Executive Council • Budgetary Funding Task Force • Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance • Standing Commission on Constitution & Canons • House of Deputies Committee on State of the Church • Joint Standing Committee on Planning & Arrangements • Executive Council Committee on Strategic Planning
STANDING • TEC governance structure is a representative, unitaryCOMMISSION ON government with GeneralTHE STRUCTURE ConventionOF THE • TEC structure is multi-CHURCH: layered, complex, & needs regular assessmentASSUMPTIONS • Structure should embody our& VALUES values • Creative tension between institutional stability & fluidity for mission • All voices heard • Innovation needed at every level • Structural flexibility • Commitment to increasing diversity in the Church’s governance
ELEVEN • Endorse the Principle ofRESOLUTIONS SubsidiarityFROM SCSC • Schedule & Fund the GeneralRESULTING Convention for 10 DaysFROM THE • Establish Financial Assistance FundGAM-009 for DeputiesCONSULTATION • Reduce the Frequency of HOB Interim Meetings • Reduce Barriers to Participation in Church Leadership & Governance • SCSC Coordinate Church Reform & Structuring
STRUCTURAL • Lower the Diocesan “Asking” toREFORM leave more money in dioceses for missionAT THE77TH • Change the diocesan “asking” to an assessment with consequencesGENERAL for non-payment or underpaymentCONVENTION • Frequency and duration of General Convention • Reform the process by which the General Convention budget is created • Reduce the number of CCABS (14) and streamline what they do
STRUCTURAL • Diocesan effectivenessREFORM • Combine/reunify diocesesAT THE77TH • Special Commission toGENERAL meet during the 2013-CONVENTION 2015 Triennium • Special Convention to address findings of a Special Commission
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS at 815 SECOND AVENUESTRUCTURALREFORMAT THE77TH GENERALCONVENTION
WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH THECORPORATE HEADQUARTERS? DEBT SERVICE $8,700,000 FACILITIES MANAGEMENT $6,443,156 OFFSET BY RENTAL INCOME ($4,050,000) NET COST $11,093,156
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light:look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderfuland sacred mystery; by the effectual working of yourprovidence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation;let the whole world see and know that things which werebeing cast down are being raised up, and things whichhad grown old are being made new, and that all thingsare being brought to their perfection by him throughwhom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ ourLord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of theHoly Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Book of Common Prayer