To restructure the church, restructure yourself

The Rev Alex Dyer has some thoughts about the kinds of thinking that the Episcopal Church needs to cultivate as it contemplates restructuring. Writing for Episcopal News Service, he says:

We need to let go of our self-aggrandizing goals and seek to build a truly new church that responds to the needs of the world, with word and action. To most of my non-church attending friends, the Episcopal Church, like most churches, appears to care about the world most when it suits our own needs or makes us look good. Our ineffectiveness has not gone unnoticed by those outside the church. The Episcopal Church I know is a different church where great work is being done, and I think we are capable of much more.

A huge part of change is engaging in a process of self-sacrifice and owning our own accountability in the system. If you are concerned with, for example, ministry to Spanish-speaking people or university chaplaincies (or whatever), then stop looking just to your diocese or the Episcopal Church Center to solve the problem. We need to start claiming our own authority to solve problems for our own ministry contexts. Claiming our own local authority balanced with our recognition of our mutual interdependence will help us forge a new path that others will want to join.

Speaking of our own authority, let’s not sit around idly and wait for a restructuring committee to give us all the answers we need. This transformation needs to start at the parish level or diocesan level while the restructuring committee does the work that it needs to do on the largest levels of our church.

What else needs restructuring besides our administration and governance? What about parish life? Seminary education? The role of a diocese? What else?

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