Episcopal Life Convention Daily
Monday, 10 July 2000  

This is a web version of the ECUSA General Convention Daily. Anglicans Online has produced this web version, from the official PDF edition, for your reading convenience. Other days' issues are here.

Bishops pass major evangelism initiative

The first of several resolutions intended to launch a substantive and quantifiable evangelism effort by the Episcopal Church over the next 20 years was passed overwhelmingly on Saturday by the House of Bishops. "I was thrilled when I got the message," said Ted Mollegen, Jr. (deputy, Connecticut), a member of the Standing CommissiononDomesticMissionandEvangelism, and one of the primary authors of the original resolution.

"20/20: A Clear Vision" (A033), calls on Convention to "joyfully embrace as its priority" a commitment to "being a healthy, dynamic, inviting church, reflective of the diversity of our society, deeply rooted in faith and the gospel, so that we live out our baptismal promise to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ."

The cognate committees on Evangelism, chaired by the Rt. Rev. Gethin B. Hughes (San Diego) and the Rev. John A. M. Guernsey (Virginia), amended the original language of A033 to quantify the commitment that is called for: to double our baptized membership by the year 2020. The resolution now goes to the deputies early this week.

Also early this week, the Bishops will consider A034 as amended by the legislative committeeswhich sets forth the methodology by which the "20/20" vision is to be planned and funded, including accountability. Rather than the funds being derived from diocesan support and investment income, as originally proposed the amended resolution asks that an amount of $11 to $13 million be generated from The Alleluia Fund (resolution A036), the General Church budget, unrestricted investment return and matching funds. The directive in A034 to use unrestricted investment return as a funding source came from Steve Duggan, treasurer, who suggested that funding 20/20 is an investment in our future. The resolution also asks for $75,000 from the general budget to fund a task force that will prepare a plan to implement, review and evaluate the vision and to find "substantive and creative means of financing this evangelistic vision as an investment in the future of Christ's Church."

At least one young priest, the Rev. Mike Kinman (Missouri), a member of the legislative committee, has some concerns about the emphasis on institutional numbers as a goal. "Let me make it clear that I---and probably all Gen X clergy---share a deep desire for a mission-oriented church. The spirit behind this, I totally support." But he expressed concern about the presumption that all we have to do is invite people into the church as it is now, rather than addressing the "incredible challenge" of how we need to change.

Mollegen sees the resolutions quite differently. "I see this as a unifying vision that moves us forward into action. The time is right for that. People are tired of dealing with divisive issues. I also hope the accountability that's built in (A034) will set an example for future conventions on how all funds are used."

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