It appears the Strategic Planning Committee has identified five stategic goals for the future of the Episcopal Church.
Here is the list of the five areas listed as "very important" by the majority of respondents to a recent survey:
1. Reaching youth and young adults
2. Evangelism/proclaiming the good news of Christ
3. Worship, music and liturgy
5. Strengthening congregations
What I find ironic is that the programs represented by 2 and 3 were cut from the budget of the Episcopal Church Center by General Convention last Summer.
Am I bitter because the elimination of 2 resulted in the termination of my position? Perhaps. But I was already fully aware that I needed to move on. That environment was not a good match for me. And, to be honest, I didn't do a good job of networking with the movers and shakers. So, to some degree, I understand why I might have been cut from the budget.
But what continues to astound me is that it wasn't just my position that got the axe; they eliminated the entire Evangelism program, resulting in about four evangelism resolutions to now be unfunded.
If I had been consulted, instead of being informed 30 minutes before the elimination of the program was announced to the House of Deputies, I would have suggested that Evangelism be folded back into Church Planting, as it had been in 2007. That would have lessened the public relations fiasco such a cut might cause, if nothing else. But, that's not what happened. So it goes.
This situation can be redeemed, however. Evangelism must now be championed at the diocesan and congregational level. Since most effective evangelism must take into account the cultural setting, this could be a good thing.
However, I am still concerned, especially in light of the revealing of these five areas of importance, that there is no one responsible for tracking the responses to the evangelism resolutions, no funds designated for their implementation, and no one to make a report to the next General Convention regarding the progress made in those areas.
If the areas of importance identified by the Strategic Planning Committee are indeed a reflection of what most Episcopalians desire to be our focus in the coming years, I would hope that in the future the Program, Budget and Finance Committee will consider those priorities before eliminating more programs at the Episcopal Church Center.