[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] The Episcopal Church Board for Transition Ministry has issued an invitation to the church to participate “to think out loud about how we bring ordained leaders to our churches.”
In a document located here, the Board of Transition Ministry explains its goals and objectives:
Our goal in writing this document is to invite the church to think out loud about how we bring ordained leaders to our churches. From our experience, study and prayer, we recognize these to be important issues in our time. We invite dialogue in the many and diverse ways we have available: conversations on social media, at church gatherings such as meetings of diocesan transition ministers, diocesan conventions, the House of Bishops, and other leaders in our church. We offer this not as a declaration, but as an invitation to dialogue.
These invitations to ponder about clergy transitions might seem like a very “churchy” endeavor. But we are reminded that the Church exists not for itself but for the glory of God and the transformation of the world. We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement that is out to change the world from the nightmare it is for so many, into the dream God has for it. God’s will is to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” We are to develop disciples that go out into the world and “turn it upside down” (Acts 17:6) – which our Presiding Bishop tells us “is actually right side up.” The Church exists to fulfill the mandate of Matthew 25.
Among the topics explored in the document are the aging church, dual-call couples, energy beyond the parish, diversifying our clergy, interim ministries, part-time clergy leadership, full-communion partners, diversity is reality and “calling” is not “hiring.”
“I have used this document as a ‘discussion starter’ in several venues already in our diocese – with my staff, the Commission on Ministry and Diocesan Council,” explained Bishop Douglas Fisher of Western Massachusetts. “Last week I had the opportunity to share it with Province One bishops, and that led to a very fruitful discussion about the recruiting of bi-vocational priests and their formation. Transition Ministry is in transition, and it is my hope that dialog about it in many different settings will lead to insight, creativity and exploration of God’s imagination for developing leadership for Jesus’ mission.”
The board encourages everyone to converse around these topics within parishes, dioceses, provinces and inter-denominationally. Direct feedback to the board may be sent to Judy Stark, chairwoman, at [email protected].
Members of the Board of Transition Ministry and their dioceses are:
Judy Stark, chair, Southwest Florida; Michael Spencer, vice chair, Eastern Michigan; the Rev. Canon Stuart Wright, secretary, Maryland; the Rev. Paula Clark, Washington; the Rev. Canon Elizabeth Easton, Nebraska; Bishop Douglas Fisher, Western Massachusetts; Bishop Anne Hodges-Copple, North Carolina; Canon Jill Mathis, Pennsylvania; Denise Obando, California; the Rev. Canon Jim Pritchett, Western North Carolina; Bishop Allen Shin, New York; Bishop Kirk Smith, Arizona; Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, ex-officio; President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, ex-officio.
For more information, contact the Rev. Meghan F. Froehlich, director of the Office of Transition Ministry, [email protected].