What do you want the Episcopal Church to look like in 2019?
An eight-question survey posted online June 24 asks Episcopalians—lay and ordained—to envision the church in 10 years’ time and to prioritize the strategies toward that vision.
Do you favor a multicultural church? Is evangelism "less important," "important," or "very important" to you? Should advocacy and social justice define the church? Or should the church be a combination of mission and worship?
"We are looking at where we are as a church today and addressing hopes and desires," said the Rev. Christopher Johnson, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee formed by Executive Council at its January 2009 meeting in Stockton, California.
The committee’s mandate is to develop a strategic plan for the Episcopal Church Center and the Executive Council that would address mission and ministry, growth, finance, challenges and opportunities, issues and concerns, and to map a way to address those themes. Executive Council expects the committee to present a draft strategic plan by December 31, 2009.
"The survey results will provide us with feedback on the values and priorities of stakeholders … information that will allow us to be mindful in developing a strategic plan," Johnson added. "Of course one of the things that motivates us is, like most mainline Protestant denominations, we've experienced a loss of membership; we'd like to reverse that and initiate growth."
The survey may be completed anonymously. It is composed mostly of option buttons, but also includes text boxes that allow the participant to expand an answer. It can be completed in five to 10 minutes. July 28 is the deadline to complete the survey; the communications office plans to publish the aggregated survey results in fall 2009.
For a version that may be downloaded, printed and returned by mail, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey will also be available at the Episcopal Church Center booth at General Convention scheduled for July 8-17 in Anaheim, California.
The survey results could help shape how the church raises and budgets its money in the future.
"Program, Budget and Finance begins with program, what shapes the program that's the mission, it's the program that causes the action and it is funded by the budget," said Albert T. Mollegen, a council and committee member, in an interview.
In addition to the survey results, the Anglican Five Marks of Mission will serve as a guide to shaping the strategic plan, Mollegen said.
Committee member Bryan Krislock said that to his knowledge, this survey is the first time the church has surveyed all its members on how it should carry out its mission, but that the strategic plan follows the "20/20" initiative adopted by the General Convention of 2000, which called for the church to double its size by 2020.
Talk of strategic planning first began during a February 2008 Executive Council meeting in Quito, Ecuador.
The committee met at the church center in New York May 27-29 to outline goals, identify issues to be addressed in the strategic plan and to detail steps in their process. Adair Lummis, associate program officer for congregational research and learning programs at the church center, is assisting the committee with its work.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson appointed the committee members and also will serve on the committee.
Members of the Strategic Planning Committee are:
- Bishop David Alvarez, Diocese of Puerto Rico and committee convener
- Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies
- The Rev. Canon Timothy Anderson, Diocese of Nebraska and Executive Council member, chairman
- The Rev. Paige Blair, Diocese of San Diego
- J. Richard Briscoe, Diocese of West Tennessee, vice-chairman
- Jack Finlaw, Diocese of Colorado
- The Rev. Canon Anthony Guillen, program officer for Latino/Hispanic Ministries
- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
- The Rev. Christopher Johnson, office of domestic justice and Jubilee ministry
- Bryan Krislock, Diocese of Spokane and Executive Council member
- Sarah Lawton, Diocese of California
- Albert T. Mollegen, Diocese of Connecticut and Executive Council member
- The Rev. Suzanne Watson, secretary
The Executive Council carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a). The council is composed of 38 members, 20 of whom (four bishops, four priests or deacons and 12 lay people) are elected by General Convention and 18 (one clergy and one lay) by provincial synods, plus the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.