Executive Council: Opening remarks from the PB and PHoD

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, Presiding of the House of Deputies, have given opening remarks at the meeting of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, in session until Monday near Baltimore.

In her remarks, Bishop Jefferts Schori discussed the ways in which she is asked to “enter into” the work of advancing the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission. She concluded by saying:

I’d invite you to reflect on how and where your engagement in God’s mission reflects the Five Marks, and where you are working in partnership with the communities in which you live and move and have your being. Our work here is meant to support and encourage the church’s engagement in God’s mission in ways beyond our imagining. The Five Marks are a good tool for reflection and accountability.

President Jennings’ remarks focused on the need for institutions in the midst of great changes to become comfortable with feelings of tension and ambivalence. She said:

We have right here among us some great examples of how to live in this tension of ambivalence and get the work done. FFM (the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission) is picking up the pieces from last triennium’s budget process, which was a pretty spectacular example of the institutional church behaving in polarized and polarizing ways. Through their new budget visioning process, FFM is charting a better course for us all. My thanks to Susan Snook and Mark Hollingsworth for leading the work, and to all who are participating.

We’re also trying new ways of carrying out the work of General Convention by establishing coordinating committees for resolutions that cross our old boundaries of departments and commissions. At our last meeting (February 2013), we created a coordinating committee for Resolution B019, “Israeli-Palestinian Peace and Support for the Diocese of Jerusalem.” That committee has been appointed and, in one case, reappointed when Deputy Chip Stokes went off and got himself elected bishop of New Jersey.

The committee will begin work later this summer. Given that faithful people have different and strong beliefs about the plight of the Palestinian people and how the church is called to respond, I expect that this work will give us many opportunities to practice finding the sacredness of living the tension.

At this meeting, we’ll consider another such resolution from GAM (Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Governance and Administration for Mission)with endorsement from A&N (Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Advocacy and Networking) and LMM (Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Local Ministry and Mission). The proposed resolution will create a coordinating committee for resolution A135, titled “Focus Mission Funding on Alleviating Poverty and Injustice.” I’m particularly excited about this work because I believe it will help the church learn more about how community organizing and asset based community development can call us away from the comfortable models of charity we have too often built to protect ourselves and toward the heart of Christ’s mission with those who are poor.

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