In 2012, a group of General Convention Convention deputies, bishops, and others, gathered to reflect on the time in which the Episcopal Church finds itself and to advocate for an unsentimental, forward-looking approach to restructuring the church for mission in the 21st century. This group proclaimed that the Episcopal Church now finds itself in an “Acts 8 Moment”, a moment filled with both potential for renewal and urgency. Since 2012, it has continued to foster a broader conversation about the mission and future of the Church at www.acts8moment.org and the blogs of its organizers.
On Ascension Day, this group published a Memorial, a letter to the Church, and a package of resolutions that share the same spirit of the TREC proposals, but go far beyond TREC’s proposed resolutions. One can find both the Memorial to the Church and the proposed resolutions at www.episcopalresurrection.org.
The Memorial to the Church reiterates the description of the moment in which the Church finds itself, as set forward by the Acts 8 Moment. The Episcopal Church, along with other Christian denominations, has found that it can no longer depend on its traditional ways of being church in a changing world. And so, its disciples must now go out, into “new and unexpected neighborhoods” to proclaim the Good News of Christ in new ways. The Memorial offers a message filled with hopefulness and urgency, that is well-grounded in our traditional sources for strength and guidance. As the next gathering of the General Convention approaches, the Memorial’s call to commitment to the disciplines at the core of our Christian life must be heeded so that we can faithfully and humbly undertake the work that the Spirit desires to do through us.
A more detailed analysis of each proposed resolution will be forthcoming here. However, one immediately notices that this set of proposed resolutions has far greater funding implications than those set forward by TREC. This is entirely reasonable, as the kind of decisive action required of the Church at this time, will require a significant investment in the future of the Church. The Memorial’s call to to “fund evangelism initiatives extravagantly” finds its outworkings in bold resolutions that call for large investments in church planting and church revitalization efforts. In addition to the significant spending implications, the proposed resolutions are also notably different from those of TREC in their specificity – which we applaud! Although one can debate the finer points of these resolutions, they have clearly emerged from a studied knowledge of the Episcopal Church’s institutional life, as guided by its Constitution and Canons.
We give thanks to the authors of the Memorial and its accompanying resolutions for their contribution to the dialogue about the future of the Episcopal Church.