Sunday, September 28, 2014

The disappearance of Hannah Graham: Keeping our doors open for prayer

Our community, and especially our students, have had a difficult time recently with the disappearance
of Hannah Graham, a second-year University of Virginia student. Many of us attended a very moving candle light vigil on the grounds soon after she disappeared. Since then, an arrest has been made but she still has not been found.

This morning I preached about how we've kept our doors open for prayer in this time of uncertainty and anguish. Here is my sermon:

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         In recent days, with the very disturbing disappearance of University student Hannah Graham, I have been reminded once again why the Church exists.
         We exist to pray.
         A few days after her disappearance became known, we opened our doors – and I mean physically opened the doors and turned on the lights – for people to come in and pray, 24 hours a day.
         And they have been coming every day, at all hours, especially our university students.
         Those who come to pray may not know about our doctrine or creeds, and they might not know anything about our way of worship or that this is an Episcopal Church, or care anything else about this church.
         But they know this is a sacred place where it is safe to come, to be silent, to pray. Many people, especially students, have been here in these pews praying at noon and at midnight, and at 3am.
         I am very grateful to our staff members who have also been here at very odd hours so that we can keep the doors open.
         We are scaling back the hours, and will close the doors at 10 pm. But know this:
         We are here to pray.
We are here to pray in times of joy and times of sorrow. We are here to pray in times of comfort and times of uncertainty and danger.
We exist on this corner especially to pray when it is hardest to pray.
         Many of you have asked me in the last week what we can do about the disappearance of Hannah Graham, or about the many troubling conflicts in our world.
Pray, and take the risk of keeping these doors open to our community for prayer.
Prayer is a very powerful thing.
Praying together here sharpness our awareness of God’s holy presence within us and around us, and can strengthen us especially when we need it most.
Yes, God is everywhere. Yes, you can pray in your workplace or your home or at the grocery store.
         But there is something about praying here, in this holy place, on this corner – in our church building – that is extraordinary and sacred, and cannot be replicated anywhere else on this planet.
         We exist as a church to so that anyone can come here to pray.
William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the darkest moments of World War II, once put it: “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.”
The last few days, I believe I know what he meant by that. I’ve felt keenly that keeping our doors open for all people is exactly why we were put here on this earth.
Praying is the most important thing we do.
         Don’t get me wrong. Everything we do here is important.
Our Sunday School for children, our teenage youth group, our Generation Wise group for our older people – all of these groups are hugely important and vibrant.
         But without prayer, we would be just another educational institution.
         And don’t get me wrong: our Canterbury University student program, our Wednesday Community Night, and our and Education for Ministry seminars provide fellowship, insights and fellowship.
         But without prayer, we would be just another social event.
         And don’t get me wrong: Our Salvation Army cook teams, our Stephen Ministers, our volunteer efforts with PACEM and the Haven for homeless people, and our advocacy for the poor through IMPACT – all of these are crucially important ministries in our community.
         But without prayer, we would be just another charity in a sea of charities.
And don’t get me wrong about one more thing:
The pulpit is a powerful tool for teaching, exhorting, proclaiming the Gospel, and doing what I’m doing now – preaching.
The pulpit is where we highlight the moral and ethical principles upon which we should build our lives, and sometimes we might even inspire you from here.
But the pulpit is not the center of the Church, and preaching is not the most important thing we do in our worship, as dear to my heart as that is.
The most important thing we do is pray, and the center of the Church is right there – the Lord’s Table – and that is no accident. This is where we gather all of our prayers and the longings of our hearts in the central act of our worship, our Holy Eucharist.

The word “Eucharist” is Greek for “thanksgiving,” as indeed our Eucharist is a prayer offered in thanks for everything God has given us.
         In our prayer of Holy Eucharist, we remember God’s gift of creation, we remember our place in creation, and we remember that God came to us as a human being, as Jesus Christ.
We remember his last supper on the night before he died, we remember he suffered and died on the Cross as one of us, and we remember how he rose again to fill the universe with love, grace and healing and be with us still.
Finally, at the Lord’s Table, we are bold to say the prayer he taught us to pray.
We ask the Father – Abba, in his Aramaic language – to give us the bread that will sustain us, the strength to forgive others – and to forgive ourselves – and to shroud us from trials that might break us, and evil that might overwhelm us.
Our prayers are more than just words. Prayer is about listening – listening deeply to God stirring within us as individuals and as a community.
It is why we call it “Common” prayer – not because our prayers are common, but because we pray in common together.
Our prayers surround us and embrace us. Our prayers come in our music, and in the silence; our prayers are what we see with visual symbols like the Cross, and what we taste and smell in the bread and wine of our Holy Eucharist.
We bring our whole selves – our body, mind and soul – to our prayers. We pray with our whole being, not just our intellect.
Even our financial gifts are a prayer. When we present our gifts in church, we don’t call it a “collection.”
Maybe other churches call donations that, but we don’t – and for very good reason.
We call our financial gifts an “offering,” because our giving is a prayerful offering of thanks. We appropriately present our offering at the Lord’s Table in our Holy Eucharist. We bless our offering of money, with our offering of bread and wine, as symbols of the fruit of our labor.
         All that is good and right in our lives – the fruits of our very beings – are offered at this Table, surrounded by our prayers.
In a way, I believe that is what Jesus is getting at in the parable this morning in the Gospel lesson from Matthew.
Jesus tells this pithy little story and asks: Who did the will of his father? The one who said he would work in the vineyard but didn’t? Or the one who said no, but changed his mind, and did the work?
Jesus is telling us that our fruits – our actions – tell us more about our prayers than our words. That is true for us as individuals, and true for us as community of faith.
What we do here matters. Our work is to keep this church open for prayer for all who enter here.
This parish church has stood on this corner as a beacon of hope for more than a century; a beacon in times of war, and times of peace; times of calm and times of anguish.
Just as with the generations before us, our prayers will renew our hope to meet the challenges that are ours to face, and our prayers will carry us beyond these doors to do the work that is ours to do.
May this parish church always stand on this corner as a beacon of hope, and may our doors always be open for prayer for all who enter, now and in the days ahead. AMEN

Bringing out the treasure of the new and the old

This Sunday morning's Daily Office readings (always different than the Eucharistic readings) includes this gem I hadn't quite noticed before, from Mathew 13:44-52:
"Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of Heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
That seems like a mandate for preaching, and a warning.

My prayer for myself (and those who preach today):

O God, grant me openness to the new, the creative, the wonder of your creation ever being created; show me a path into the depths of ancient wisdom of those who have come before me; guard me from my own foolishness and folly, from words that hurt, and guide me words that inspire, comfort and challenge us to build your kingdom. Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Presiding Bishop Katharine not standing for another term

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has held office for eight years and her term expires next year. She has been presiding bishop in one of the most contentious and tumultuous times our church has ever witnessed, and she has borne the burdens with grace, patience and great courage in the face of a great deal of nastiness, anxiety and hatred directed toward her and women priests and bishops in general.

She is also a special friend of St. Paul's Memorial Church, and was with us in 2010 for three days as we celebrated our centennial. She is a special friend of Lori and myself -- we've known her since from our Sacramento days and before her ordination or mine.

Here is Katharine's statement this morning about her decision to not run for another term. I must admit to sadness for our church, but also gladness for her and her family that this burden will be lifted.

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From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

[September 23, 2014] The following message is from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:
To all the people of God in The Episcopal Church:
It is a great joy and privilege to serve as your Presiding Bishop.  I have been blessed to be able to meet and build relationships with people around the globe – in every diocese in this Church, most of the provinces of the Anglican Communion, our full communion partners (ELCA, Moravian Church, Old Catholics of the Union of Utrecht), as well as civic leaders and leaders of other denominations and faith traditions.  That relational work is fundamental to the reconciliation we seek in Christ.  As bridges are built, more and more people can begin to cross the divides between us, and God’s dream begins to take flesh in a more just and peaceful world. 
Together, we have navigated a season of extraordinary change in recent years.  Our Christian values have been challenged and we are becoming clearer and more confident about the faith we share.  Today we are far more cognizant of the diversity of this multinational and multicultural Church, and the great blessing of the diverse peoples and cultures we represent.  Our life as a Church is enriched by the many gifts God has given us in people and contexts around the world.  Together we are striving to live out the Five Marks of Mission, we are exploring new and creative ways of engaging the societies around us with the good news of God in Christ, and we are increasingly willing to spend ourselves and the resources God has given us for the healing of the world.  We are more attuned to voices crying in the wilderness, those living at the margins of human communities, and those without a voice, including this fragile earth, our island home.  Together, we are moving into God’s future with courage, boldness, and the humility of knowing there is always more to learn.  For all that hope-filled movement, I give thanks in abundance. 
I have spent many months in discernment about how I am being called to serve God’s people and God’s creation in this season.  I have resisted the assumption by some that presiding bishops can only be elected to serve one term, knowing the depth of relational work and learning that is involved in this ministry.  There is a tradeoff between the learning curve and the ability to lead more effectively as a result of developed relationships both within and beyond this Church.  At the same time, I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term.  I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years.
I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry.  I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms.  I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God’s vision of a healed and restored Creation.
I will continue in discernment about the ministry I may be called to in the coming years, but my present focus is and will remain on being the vigorous and faithful leader I believe I am called to be.  God has called us all to be instruments of shalom, and we have miles to go before we live in that world of justice and peace.  We are marching upward to Zion, the beautiful city of God.  Siyahamba!
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reimagining the Episcopal Church: Where are we?

Most people in our congregations are probably unaware that a task force has been hard at work "reimagining" the structures of the Episcopal Church. Most of that work has focused on our national and international governance, but by all reports, the task force is taking a broader and deeper look at everything in our denomination.

The task force issued a status report today (shared below) and will have a major briefing on Oct. 2 with its specific recommendations. As part of the deputation of the Diocese of Virginia, I've been invited to join Bishop Johnston and others in his office to watch a webcasts on that day. Here is the status report from today; it is long but there is quite a lot here:

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Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church 
issues letter to The Episcopal Church 
[September 4, 2014] The Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has issued A Word To The Episcopal Church.
TREC Letter to the Church: September, 2014
Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  (John 11:43–44)
As the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church (TREC) has progressed in our work, we have come to see the raising and unbinding of Lazarus as a helpful way of understanding this moment in the life of The Episcopal Church. We believe Jesus is calling our church to new life and vitality, but the church is held back by its bindings—old ways of working that no longer serve us well.
We write this as we begin the final months of our work, to give you an update about our thinking and emerging recommendations for your prayerful consideration and feedback. We will publish our final report and specific legislative proposals in December 2014.
In the 18 months since we first met as a Task Force, we have been in conversation with many of you—in person and virtually—about your hopes, dreams, ideas, and concerns for the church and about our collective mission to serve Christ. We have appreciated your feedback, your encouragement, and your criticism of our work so far. We look to continue our dialogue with you in the months to come and encourage you to respond to this letter, to participate in our virtual town hall meeting that we will webcast from Washington National Cathedral on October 2, and to engage in dialogue with us as we join provincial meetings and other forums. We thank you for your input to date and for your prayers for our work together.
The Need for Change
The Episcopal Church’s structures and governance processes reflect assumptions from previous eras that do not always fit with today’s contexts. They have not adapted to the rapidly changing cultural, political, and social environments in which we live.  The churchwide structures and governance processes are too disconnected from local needs and too often play a “gating” or regulatory role to local innovation. They are often too slow and confusing to deal decisively with tough and urgent tradeoffs or to pursue bold directions that must be set at the churchwide level. Our study and observations would suggest, for example, that:
■  General Convention has historically been most effective in deliberatively discerning and evolving the church’s position on large-scale issues (e.g., prayer book revision, reform of clergy formation and discipline canons, women’s ordination, same sex blessings). This should continue to be the primary role of General Convention.
■  However, General Convention is not organized to drive clear prioritization of resourcing; address technical issues; set a clear agenda for churchwide staff; launch bold programs of innovation or reform; or ensure accountability for effective and efficient execution by the churchwide staff. At the churchwide level, we lack the ability to focus on the priorities that are most urgent at the local level, where much if not most of our primary mission and ministry take place.
■  Neither the Executive Council nor the Presiding Bishop’s office are fully effective in complementing the General Convention by making tough tradeoffs, setting bold direction, or driving accountability of churchwide staff to local needs. The roles of the Executive Council and the Presiding Bishop’s office are often ambiguous and unclear, and neither are structured, selected, or sized appropriately for their tasks in governance and execution. As a result, churchwide staff report significant confusion as to who sets direction. Power struggles emerge, with all factions claiming alignment with General Convention resolutions, and conflicts are resolved through churn and delay, rather than through clear analysis and accountable authority. We have not demonstrated the capacity at the churchwide level to develop the kind of strategic focus that allows us to address some of our highest and most pressing priorities.
■  Churchwide staff functions have evolved their roles and mindsets to be increasingly responsive and supportive of local mission, but their purpose and scope are not clear and broadly understood across the church. Highly skilled people and well-developed programs are underutilized because local groups do not know they exist.  In other situations, dioceses report frustration that churchwide programs are not responsive or adequate to meet their local needs. There are not sufficient systems of transparency around how churchwide resources are used or held accountable for their effectiveness and resource stewardship.
A New Paradigm

We live in an age of networks, yet our churchwide structure has not fully adapted to this organizational paradigm. The evolution from a bureaucratic/regulatory agency paradigm to a network will profoundly change the role, culture, decision making processes, and leadership paradigms of and within The Episcopal Church’s churchwide structures. This would not be unlike other significant evolutions that have occurred historically around our church’s governance and structures.
We have previously written about the historical evolution of churchwide structural paradigms and described four clear roles that we recommend for the 21st century:
■  Catalyst: The Episcopal churchwide organization should inspire and provoke all members of the church to live fully into its mission of “restoring all people to unity with God and one another in Christ” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855).
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include inspiring and calling the whole church to baptismal ministry and helping every member interpret the world through the eyes of the gospel, including exercising a prophetic voice on social justice issues and representing the voices of marginalized people.
■  Connector: The churchwide organization should establish and maintain relationships among its member communities and constituents in order to cultivate Episcopal identity, to magnify the mission impact of local communities by connecting them to each other, and to facilitate the sharing of ideas and learning across the Episcopal and broader Anglican networks.
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include representing The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion; forging ecumenical relationships and alliances; exercising canonical authority to foster and preserve the church’s catholicity (unity in diversity with the wider Christian Church); maintaining the church’s institutional history through the Church Archives; and fostering communication across the church around new ideas, learning, and opportunities for collaboration.
■  Capability Builder: The Episcopal churchwide organization should support leadership development centered around the critical skills necessary for individual and communitywide Christian formation in 21st century contexts. The Episcopal churchwide organization should also ensure that the church is a learning organization—rapidly learning from successes and failures across the church and rapidly sharing these lessons across the church’s network. Key capabilities needed in today’s missionary context include skills in ministry, community organization, reviving congregations, planting congregations, multicultural leadership, evangelism, Christian formation, reaching new generations, and reaching new populations. The expertise in these areas lies primarily at the grassroots level, but the churchwide structure can foster mutual learning, especially on a peer-to-peer basis.
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include cultivating and fostering the sharing of expertise for targeted training and professional development.
■  Convenor: The Episcopal churchwide organization should assemble the church in traditional and non-traditional ways as a missionary convocation. The Episcopal churchwide organization should also convene the church with the broader Anglican Communion, with ecumenical church partners, and with other potential partners and collaborators in proclaiming Christ’s gospel and living the Five Marks of Mission.[1]
–    Specific examples of what the churchwide structure must and should do to fulfill this role would include convening a General Missionary Convocation both in person and virtually, potentially concurrent with General Convention.
Implications for Existing Churchwide Structures
To begin to change the church’s operating paradigm in the ways that we believe will be necessary, we have identified several “critical path” priorities and have worked to more fully develop them. We have concluded these areas are in the most need of our attention if we are to make the church work more effectively in our 21st century context.  These changes will not fully transition the churchwide structures and governance to the network-based model that we describe above. The work of reimagining our church and restructuring the church’s institution will need to be an ongoing process of adaptation as our context continues to shift and change. Taken together, however, we believe addressing these areas constitute a critical first step and will enable further change. We must streamline and focus  the scope of our churchwide agenda, to become a more distributive, networked, and nimble church that is focused on local faith formation and local mission and that enables and accelerates local innovation and adaptation; while at the same time enhancing, not diminishing our prophetic voice to the world around us.
■  At the churchwide level, we must select and fully empower clear and effective leadership to define agendas, set direction, develop expertise around complex issues and their implications, make tough choices, and pursue bold and disruptive ideas where appropriate. There are implications for the General Convention, for the Executive Council, the central executive function of the church, and for General Convention’s Commissions, Councils, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs).
■  Once the direction is set for the work necessary at the churchwide level, we must empower a lean churchwide staff to build capacity across our church and act as network catalysts and network builders. This staff must be directed and supervised by professionals with deep and relevant expertise and experience in the areas that are the focus of their respective projects. The scope of mission-related staff work should be specific and time-bound (see “Developing Recommendations” below).  
■  We must create accountability in our churchwide structure so that we are able to measure whether that structure is following the direction that has been set, ensuring a high quality of work, and driving efficiency. For churchwide staff, this means that objectives must be set at the start of any project or endeavor with basic, guiding metrics that are tracked and reported.
We believe that addressing these priorities will enable the church to continue to evolve and streamline its governance and structures in areas that we have not addressed.  We also believe that addressing these priorities will enable the church to be more effective in addressing its most complex and urgent issues where deep study and bold action is required (e.g., sustainability of stipendiary clergy; implications for clergy education and pension structures).
Developing Recommendations
The recommendations that we will submit to the church and to the 2015 General Convention will likely take several different forms:
1.  A complementary set of resolutions that suggest amendments to the Canons and Constitution in order to implement what the Task Force considers “critical path” changes to churchwide structures, governance, and administration. We will strongly recommend that these resolutions be implemented as a total package.
2.  Draft resolutions for further streamlining of churchwide structures and governance that our work tells us represent the wishes of a large segment of church members and that we believe should be debated and resolved in the 2015 General Convention.
3.  A recommended agenda of serious and deep issues on which our church must take urgent action in order to be as bold, adaptive, and resilient as it needs to be over the coming decades, plus an illustration of how this agenda would be effectively and efficiently informed and progressed if our legislative recommendations were adopted.
4.  More specifically, the “critical path” proposals we are considering putting forward in the form of General Convention resolutions calling for amendments to the Canons and Constitution currently include:
■  Improvements to the effectiveness of the General Convention, e.g.:
–    Limits to the overall length of the General Convention and efforts to focus and prioritize its legislative agenda.
–    Reduction in the number of legislative committees for General Convention
–    Express permission for legislative committees to let resolutions die in committee
–    The evolution of General Convention to become a General Missionary Convocation of the Church, with networking and sharing around mission and ministries its primary focus, and hopefully reducing the scope and size of legislation and both legislative bodies, while still increasing overall participation and relevance to mission at the local level.
■  Clarifications around the role of the central executive structures of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS)
–    Presiding Bishop retained as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Church, Chair of the Executive Council, and President of DFMS, with managerial responsibility for all DFMS staff
–    President of the House of Deputies (PHoD) retained as Vice President of the Church, Vice Chair of the Executive Council, and Vice President of DFMS
–    Presiding Bishop responsible for nominating three people to serve in the following offices, with concurrence by the PHoD:  Chief Operating Officer (COO), Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Legal Officer. These positions would serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Bishop.  Approval for the Presiding Bishop to fire any of these officers would not be required from the PHoD or the Executive Council.
■  Changes to the role, size, and selection of the Executive Council
–    The role of the Executive Council clarified as a “governance” role, similar to a non-profit Board of Trustees
–    Size of the Executive Council reduced from 40 to 21 members (retaining proportionality among the orders) to improve its effectiveness as a Board
–    Executive Council membership to include the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies as ex officio voting members, and the COO, Treasurer/CFO and Secretary as non-voting members, plus 20 members elected “at large” rather than as representatives of each province
■  Reduction in the number of CCABs and their scope
–    Elimination of all Standing Commissions except the Joint Standing Committees on Nominations and Program, and Budget & Finance
–    Charging the presiding officers to appoint such task forces as might be necessary to carry out the work of a General Convention on a triennium by triennium basis.
■  A transition in the mission or program-related staff of DFMS to a primarily contractor-only model
–    Contractors to be hired based on a specific project scope, length, and set of objectives
–    Project effectiveness to be monitored by the Presiding Bishop’s office and reviewed annually by Executive Council against a set of pre-agreed metrics
     – Staff in “support functions” like Human Resources, Finance, IT, Legal, Communications, or Archives would not be impacted
In our final report, we will illustrate how these recommended changes would help The Episcopal Church to more effectively and efficiently address critical and urgent agenda items, with the flexibility to innovate and experiment more rapidly and to adopt bold courses of action where necessary.
In the course of our work as a Task Force, we have identified and are continuing to develop a set of agenda items that we believe must be addressed by The Church in coming years. These agenda items include:
■  Building capacity and capability across the Church around evangelism, community leadership, and non-traditional parish formation
■  The sustainability of a fully stipendiary clergy model and the likely predominance of mixed models of employment and clergy leadership
■  Implications for seminary education, requirements, and debt burden
     - Opportunities for Pension Fund policy changes to improve clergy and lay leadership incentive alignment
■  Diocesan viability, the number of dioceses, and assessment requirements/expectations
■  Parish viability, the number and geographic distribution of parishes, and fostering new church plants
We believe that addressing these types of issues will require strong, inspired and accountable leadership, informed input, and, in some cases, quick action. With the changes we have recommended in churchwide structures, governance, and administration, we see these issues being addressed as follows:
■  The General Convention would call for these issues to be part of the DFMS agenda, to be directed by the Presiding Bishop’s office and accountable to the Executive Council and to subsequent General Conventions
■  The Presiding Bishop’s office (most likely through the COO) would identify the expertise and type of resources required to effectively study these issues and to develop recommendations. The Presiding Bishop’s office, in consultation with the Executive Council, would charter time-bound projects with specific objectives and metrics, and it would hire qualified contractors and establish advisory boards as necessary. The Presiding Bishop’s office would direct these projects and the people hired to accomplish them.
■  The Executive Council would review and provide appropriate oversight of DFMS’s total portfolio of projects relative to pre-established metrics on an annual basis.
It is important to state clearly and emphatically that the work of innovation and adaptation is already underway at all levels of the church. It is clear that with or without the General Convention, with or without any recommendations from TREC, the re-imagining of our Church is already and will continue to take place. The Holy Spirit has breathed new life into the Church at countless times and in countless ways in the past, and the same Spirit will continue to do so in the future. Our hope is that our recommendations will ultimately help focus and direct the extraordinary spiritual, human, and material resources God has entrusted to us toward a clear set of priorities that will help us be most faithful and effective in continuing to participate in God’s mission in the world. 
A Prayer for Our Continued Work
Holy Spirit, who broods over the world, fill the hearts and minds of your servants on the Taskforce for Reimagining The Episcopal Church with wisdom, clarity, and courage.  Work in them as they examine and recommend reforms for the structure, governance, and administration of this branch of the one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Help them propose reforms to more effectively proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, to challenge the world to seek and serve Christ in all persons—loving our neighbors as ourselves—and to be a blazing light for the kind of justice and peace that leads to all people respecting the dignity of every other human being. Be with The Episcopal Church that we may be open to the challenges that this Taskforce will bring to us, and help the whole church to discern your will for our future. In the name of Jesus Christ our Mediator, on whose life this Church was founded.  AMEN
[1] To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers. To respond to human need by loving service. To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
For more info, questions or comments, contact TREC members at
TREC plans churchwide meeting on October 2 info here