Skip to comments.Rev. Kevin Martin on Conflict Within the Episcopal Church [a proposed resolution]
Posted on 07/18/2005 2:16:40 PM PDT by sionnsar
Fr. Martin is a consultant and works with Vital Church Ministries out of Christ Church in Plano. Read it all.
He writes a good prescription for conflict resolution within the Episcopal Church.
Most consultants use a scale from 1 to 5 to describe conflict and it is clear that ECUSA has now entered into a level 4 conflict. This is sometimes described as fight or flight. For the organization to return equilibrium and more creative life, it is necessary for the leadership to reduce the level of conflict. It is especially important to know that denying the conflict only makes it worse. I would recommend that ECUSAs leadership now take several proactive steps to reduce this conflict, at least its level, immediately. Here are the steps that I would recommend.
1. I would openly acknowledge that the Church has made a controversial decision and that this decision has many left hurt and feeling disenfranchised. I would point out that the church is not just an organization that takes votes, but also the body of Christ that has to have mutual respect.
2. I would then say very publicly that the church is not going to force members to accept a controversial decision that is conscientiously unacceptable to them and is going to make provision for people to remain members in spite of the decision.
3. I would then allow any clergy person who wishes to no longer participate in the church a settlement based on years of service that would allow them to take early retirement if they withdraw from active ministry.
4. To demonstrate this generosity of spirit, for the next three years, I would also allow any congregation that by vote of the Vestry and 60percent of their congregation, who wish alternative Episcopal oversight, to affiliate with any active diocesan Bishop.
a. The parish would remain technically under the jurisdiction of its geographical diocese for such things as the selling of property, but
b. In all matters pertaining to spiritual life, the calling and discipline of clergy, etc, the congregation would operate under this new extended jurisdiction
c. The congregation would be expected to meet the requirements of the new diocese including assessment.
d. The arrangement would continue for a period of (1) ten years or (2) change of Bishops or (3) The congregation votes to revert to its former diocese
e. This alternate oversight decision would be available to all congregations, conservative or liberal over this 3 year period. (In other words, the door swings both ways.)
Do these things and it is predictable that in 10 years this issue will largely resolve itself.
I would note that these same ideas have been floated by me a long time ago, and by Fr. Ed Zelly, although with a different take on where the money goes and on procedural issues. There may have been others who have floated similar ideas; forgive me if I dont recall the posts.
You can find my old proposal here: http://descant.classicalanglican.net/index.php?p=5 (main differences with the Martin proposal - requires consent of the receiving Diocese at their convention; no time limit/may be permanent, but with 5 year reconciliation period after which Diocesan convention must vote to let the parish leave, buildings would go with the leaving parish at that point.)
You can find Fr. Ed Zellys proposal here: http://descant.classicalanglican.net/index.php?p=113 (main differences with Martin proposal - renewable 3 year terms; assessment to Diocese gets split three ways - 1/3 to a ministry within the Diocese; 1/3 to world mission; 1/3 to flying bishop to defer expenses of same.)
I think these options deserve our consideration at GC2006. More and more, I think that non-geographical polity may be the best way to go under these circumstances. It doesnt solve all the problems that are raised in the Windsor Report, but it would solve a heck of a lot of local problems that are bubbling to the surface.
Many of us have felt this where we will end up with two branches.
The old branch based on the bible, tradition and belief.
The new left branch based on whatever feels good with no judgement.
Have you seen this?
I got it from the CT disoces. It certainly puts a different spin on things.
Events may well have moved past the point where such solutions would have worked. Such proposals require that you feel that the other side is willing to deal with you honorably and in good faith, and that the receiving Bishop would be willing to stand up for you. Current evidence is lacking with regard to both of these.
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