Knowing that you’ll likely be reading this on Good Friday morning has given me pause. In the shadow of the cross, is anything I have to say significant? But, just as I was thinking that maybe waiting a week would be appropriate, I realized that Good Friday is the perfect day to remember the needs of all the people, the needs that drew Jesus to the cross as a model of how we are called to become Christ for the world. See, even I can lose sight of the real meaning of resolutions from time to time. So, to remind myself, the resolutions and other issues about which I write, are the means by which we can live out the 5 Marks of Mission – God’s mission. Are there other ways? Of course. Members of the Household are working for God’s mission every day without any legislation to motivate them but every now and then we need reminders – and we need to see the big picture of what working together can do. Therefore, on this very Good Friday, I will share the recent work of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church.
The Executive Council meet from March 19 – 21 in Salt Lake City to wrap up their work of the last triennium. Bishop Katharine affirmed that much of the work done at this meeting was transitional in nature, to get ready for Convention and a new Council. “The work of Executive Council has been full this triennium and I think they have good reason to be proud of what they have accomplished,” she acknowledged.
Of particular note was the reported $2.4 million annual surplus from the yearly income exceeding the operating expenses. The Council adopted a resolution celebrating the financial stewardship of the society’s staff and management. The resolution acknowledges in particular the “consistent, visionary leadership” of Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy F. Sauls and Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer N. Kurt Barnes in reducing expenses and generating income. It’s important to note that this surplus does not in any way reflect a downturn in mission focus, according to Sauls. “We are committed to being held accountable for measureable mission deliverables,” Sauls said, pointing to the recently released Report to the Church 2015, an online magazine published in January that illustrates the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society’s work to support local communities in The Episcopal Church working toward each of the Five Marks of Mission.
You can read the entire article about the surplus here – http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/03/24/domestic-and-foreign-missionary-society-reports-2-4-million-annual-surplus/
The Executive Council also considered a response to the report from the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) which we have posted in previous blogs but they were unable to reach a consensus during the meeting. The Episcopal News Service article reported that Council did issue a statement which says that ‘the council is ‘committed to thoughtful and bold change in the structure and governance of the Episcopal Church,’ and it added that ‘the scope of work for TREC may not have been to present a bold new mission for the wider Episcopal Church, but we wonder with the church what this renewal might look like. Is the mission of The Episcopal Church to bring the world to the church or to bring The Episcopal Church to the world and what does that look like in the 21st century?’ the council asked.
The Episcopal News Service article which provides more detail on the meeting of Executive Council can be found here – http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/03/21/executive-council-wraps-up-2013-2015-triennial-work/
In addition, at the meeting the following resolution was passed regarding children’s participation at the General Convention Children’s Program –
GAM 027 – Vaccination Policy for General Convention Children’s Program 2015
The following is a true copy of a Resolution adopted by the Executive Council at its meeting from March 19-21, 2015 at which a quorum was present and voting.
Resolved, That the Executive Council, meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah from March 19-21, 2015, adopts the following policies with respect to the General Convention Children’s Program:
All children and staff participating in the Program must be vaccinated in accordance with the following schedule as deemed by physician appropriate by age:
Haemophilus Influenza Type b
A child may be exempted from this vaccination requirement by presenting a certificate from a licensed physician to the Staff stating that due to the physical condition of the student one or more specified immunizations would endanger the student’s life or health; and be it further
Resolved, That the staff of the General Convention Children’s Program, working with the General Convention Office, verify the immunization records of all children and staff for the safety of all involved in the program; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention Children’s Program will comply with at least all applicable minimum requirements of Utah State Law with respect to such requirements.
I know that the details of this meeting may read like a corporate report, and that it is, but it reflects the desire to see our Church live faithful lives of godly stewardship. The more we are informed about the work done by Executive Council, the better we are able to support them in their work for the Household.
But, back to recognizing the special week are observing, let us close with the collect for Good Friday. Let us pray –
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your
family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be
betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer
death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A blessed Good Friday and a joyous celebration of the Resurrection to you all!
~ Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee, Diocesan Council