Executive Council reinventing itself

Mark Harris says Executive Council is evolving in unplanned and unanticipated ways. He says these changes are healthy, but like most change won’t come without pain.

It’s often noted that the fissures in the Anglican Communion would not be what they are were it not for this age of communication in which we live. And that these fissures have resulted in less diversity as schisms occur.

What has received less attention is that within homogeneous groups communication can lead to changing norms of corporate participation and claims to authority.

The news Monday that the special meeting of Executive Council scheduled for December 7 was called by the rarely used method of petition by members (see Canon I.4 (4)(a)) told its own back story.

Harris, who is a member of council, amplifies:

The news that there will be a telephonic meeting of Executive Council on December 7th, called by members of Council to address the concerns of members about the anti-gay, anti-freedom of speech, homophobic legislation being considered in Uganda is good news. Difficult, but good.

The news is difficult … because it points to a wide range of issues that, should they be explored, concern a systemic reevaluation of who governs in TEC and why.

…The fact that members, rather than the Presiding Bishop, would call a special meeting is significant. That they would do so concerning matters that in the past would have been either brought up in regular session of Executive Council or spoken to by the Presiding Bishop is also worth noting. …

Where before we might have expected the corporate board rules to prevail here there are too many “networking” linkages to make those rules of behavior work. Now new ways of communication, new lines of trustworthy or trust building linkages will develop, new sources of power and authority will develop. The Executive Council is no longer understood by its members as being modeled as a corporate board. The message of inclusion, on a board level, has begun to effect the workings of Executive Council itself.

Read it all.

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