When I started this blog, I did not plan to write about the Episcopal Church. I thought I would be writing about my attempts to farm and my experiments with faith formation at home.
But then the Episcopal Church’s Program, Budget and Finance Committee came out with the first draft budget for the 2013-2015 triennium, and I got sidetracked.
So far, I’ve:
- raised my questions and concerns about the proposed budget with my bishop, who serves on the committee that drafted it
- written one blog post about it and read a few more
- updated “The Conversation on the Church’s Budget” page more recently than its original author (check the comments, true on 3/23)
- called the author of my favorite blog post on the budget to talk strategy
- volunteered for a forma (National Association of Episcopal Christian Education Directors) subcommittee to address it
- posted to my Facebook and Twitter feed: “Could someone please tell me where the organized alternative to the proposed TEC budget is hiding? I just see disorganized resistance.”
- Prayed my bishop wouldn’t be upset with me for posting this question publicly
It was when I was telling my clergy group that I had been sucked in by the budget conversation that I realized… I had been SUCKED IN by the budget conversation.
A friend wrote to me on Facebook (I’m paraphrasing), saying, “Eventually you learn to just ignore whatever 815 puts out and focus on what you can control.”
But for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe it’s because I’m new here. But I think, actually, that it is because I am as disturbed by the response to the proposed budget as I was by the budget itself.
Here’s what we’ve got:
- The aforementioned “Conversation on the Church’s Budget” page. It isn’t being updated all that often.
- The “Grassroots TEC Revolution” Facebook group. It isn’t being updated all that often either.
- More creative thoughts on the budget process by Susan Brown Snook
- A petition begun by Province VIII Young Adult and Campus Ministers, focusing largely on funding for Young Adult and Campus Ministries
- The Program, Budget, and Finance Committee has posted a blog for feedback. As of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23rd, it has garnered a total of 34 comments. That’s not a lot.
- The Building the Continuum website, maintained by two members of the Standing Commission for Lifelong Christian Formation and Education, is publishing posts related to the DFMS programs at risk of de-funding.
This is it? Frankly, this is pathetic.
If this is the most we can do, no wonder we’re failing to thrive.
Meanwhile, the thousands of folks who care about the proclamation of the gospel by the Episcopal Church are missing a huge opportunity. By proposing this budget, the Program, Budget and Finance Committee opened the door to conversations that we desperately need to have with one another.
Conversations around these questions:
- What matters most? What eternal purpose do we serve?
- Given our cultural and historical context, what’s our current objective, and what critical outcomes do we need to achieve in the next three to five years?
- What are we willing to risk losing? What do we need to be sure we are carefully stewarding? Why?
These are the conversations that would enable a faith community to be a vibrant, thriving, exciting place… because these are the conversations that enable us to seek God’s will for us.
I’m not seeing these questions or their answers anywhere in the blogosphere. Maybe we’ve been too burned by all the conflict we’ve struggled through in recent years.
I don’t think enough people read this blog that I can start those conversations.
But I’m willing to be a fool for Christ, so I’ll try.
This is the first post in a series… to be continued.
Good to meet you! I’m Nurya…
Welcome!Here, a mother and priest chronicles her attempts at practicing resurrection. This sometimes involves small children and organizations known as "church." Other times it just means telling the truth. Occasionally chickens are mentioned. Click "About" for more...
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