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Bishop Stacy Sauls presents to the House of Bishops: Becoming A Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: An Adaptive Moment

September 23, 2011
The Public Affairs Office

The Governance of The Episcopal Church: This information is another in an ongoing series discussing the governance of The Episcopal Church.

Becoming A Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society: An Adaptive Moment, presented by Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church, to the House of Bishops on September 19, is available here: (Accompanying notes are included at the end.)

“The presentation represents thoughts and ideas that have been growing for a long time and in conversation with many other people throughout the church,” Sauls said, “but they are not intended as being presented as anything other than my own.”

In his presentation, Sauls asked for a broad discussion and examination of the Episcopal Church’s governance mechanisms, funding, and resource allocation. Addressing the concerns of dioceses and citing examples, he illustrated the need for reform through charts and graphs. 

Sauls presented options for discussion, including collaborative solutions and concrete funding suggestions.

He also presented model resolutions, asking that the bishops return to their dioceses and discuss the proposal with their elected deputies to General Convention 2012. (resolutions in English and Spanish copied below).

He concluded with a Faith Statement:  “The people of the Church want to engage in God’s mission.  The people of the Church want to participate in decisions about engaging God’s mission.  The people of the Church want to fund God’s mission.”

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations.  The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church:



A Model Resolution Dioceses to Submit a Resolution for Structural Reform
To the 77th General Convention

Resolved, the [Convention or Council/Executive Council] of the Diocese of ___________  [or the Synod of Province __] directs that the following resolution be filed with the Secretary of the General Convention for consideration by the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church:

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, there shall be a Special Commission on Missional Structure and Strategy, the composition of which shall be at the discretion of the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies and the members of which shall be appointed jointly thereby not later than thirty days following the adjournment of this 77th General Convention.  The Special Commission shall be charged with presenting a plan to the Church for reforming its structures, governance, administration, and staff to facilitate this Church’s faithful engagement in Christ’s mission to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:18) in a way that maximizes the resources available for that mission at all levels of this Church. 

Resolved, the Special Commission shall endeavor to issue its report and recommendations along with resolutions necessary to implement them, including proposed amendments to the Constitution and Canons of this Church, so that they might be considered by a special General Convention prior to the convening of the 78th General Convention in 2015, but in any event, not later than February 1, 2015. 

Resolved, the General Convention requests the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $100,000 for the implementation of this resolution. 


The administrative and governance structures of The Episcopal Church have grown over the years so that they now comprise approximately 47% of the churchwide budget and sometimes hinder rather than further this Church’s engagement in God’s mission.  Reform is urgently needed to facilitate this Church’s strategic engagement in mission and allow it to more fully live into its identity as the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society in a world that has changed dramatically over the years but that also presents extraordinary missional opportunity.   

Resolución Modelo para que las Diócesis presenten una resolución para la Reforma

Estructural de la 77a Convención General


Se resuelve, que la [Convención o Consejo/Consejo Ejecutivo] de la Diócesis de ________________ [o el Sínodo de la Provincia ___] dispone que la siguiente resolución sea presentada por la Secretaria de la Convención General para consideración por parte la 77a Convención General de la Iglesia Episcopal:

Se resuelve, que la Cámara de ________________ concurrente, habrá una Comisión Especial sobre Estructura y Estrategia Misionera, cuya composición quedará a discreción de la Obispa Primada y de la Presidente de la Cámara de Diputados y de los miembros que se designarán conjuntamente como resultado de la misma en un máximo de 30 días tras el levantamiento de la 77a Convención General.  La Comisión Especial se encargará de presentar un plan a la Iglesia para reformar sus estructuras, gobierno, administración y personal para facilitar el fiel compromiso de esta Iglesia con la misión de Cristo para proclamar las buenas nuevas a los pobres, liberar a los cautivos, para la recuperación de la vista de los ciegos, para liberar a los oprimidos, y el año aceptable del Señor (Lucas 4:18) de tal manera que se maximice los recursos disponibles para la misión en todos los niveles de esta Iglesia.

Se resuelve, que la Comisión Especial se esforzará en emitir su informe y recomendaciones junto con las resoluciones necesarias para implementarlas, incluyendo enmiendas propuestas a la Constitución y Cánones de esta Iglesia, de modo que puedan ser consideradas por una Convención General especial previo a la convocatoria de la 78a Convención General en el 2015, pero en cualquier caso, no más tarde del 1 de febrero de 2015.

Se resuelve, que la Convención General le solicite al Comité Permanente Conjunto  de Programa, Presupuesto, y Finanzas que considere una asignación de presupuesto de $100.000 para la implementación de esta resolución.


Las estructuras administrativas y de gobierno de la Iglesia Episcopal han crecido en el transcurso de los años de tal manera que en la actualidad comprende aproximadamente el 47% del presupuesto de toda la iglesia y algunas veces dificulta el compromiso estratégico de la Iglesia en la misión de Dios, en lugar de facilitarlo.  Se requiere de manera urgente, una reforma para facilitar el compromiso estratégico de la Iglesia en la misión, y permitirle una expresión mas plena de su identidad como la Sociedad Misionera Nacional y Extranjera en un mundo que ha cambiado dramáticamente en el transcurso de los años pero que también presenta una oportunidad misionera extraordinaria.

Becoming a Domestic and Foreign Society:
An Adaptive Moment

Presentation Notes

Slide 1—Introductory Remarks
• The presentation represents thoughts and ideas that have been growing for a long time and in conversation with many other people throughout the church, but they are not intended as being presented as anything other than my own.
• Jim Waggoner has been very important in developing these ideas.
• A number of other bishops and other leaders in the church.
• A lot of my thinking has been influenced by conversations in the Budgetary Funding Task Force, but my presentation in no way represents the work of that group or a proposal of that group or something endorsed by that group.

Slide 2—Picture
• There are a number of pictures in this presentation.  They are intended to represent mission in some way.
• This one is my favorite because it sums up the relational aspect of mission and its mutually transforming possibilities.

Slide 3—Why Reform?
• The reason is simple:  to facilitate what we saw in the previous slide.
• There are several things that combine to make this important to do at this time.

Slides 4-11—CCABs
• Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards
• My theory is that TEC has grown by accretion over the years as things have been added without an overall strategic plan.
• There are at least 75 of them.
• Not all of them are funded.
• There are others I am finding all the time. 

Slides 12-15—Church Center Departments and Offices
• There are at least 42 of them.
• Again, I’m not sure I’ve found all of them.
• To make matters more complicated, there are at least three reporting structures for the DFMS staff.
          o Presiding Bishop Directly
          o Secretary of the General Convention
          o Chief Operating Officer and indirectly to the Presiding Bishop
• To make matters even more complicated, there are three boards with some level of authority.
          o Executive Council (to which everything reports; only board with fiduciary responsibility)
          o Archives (no fiduciary responsibility)
                Project with separate committees
          o Transition Ministries (no fiduciary responsibility)

Slide 16—General Convention
• Each House has committees (total of about 46), which meet together in approximately 23 cognate committees.

Slide 16—And in Addition
• 9 Provinces with networks, coordinators, synods, etc.
• 110 dioceses
• 3 regional areas

Slide 17—Picture
• Giving us this result
• From EYE

Slide 18—How Resources are Allocated
• Three categories of expenses
          o Canonical (corresponding roughly to governance)
                General Convention
                Other, including CCABs
          o Corporate (corresponding roughly to administration)
          o Program (corresponding roughly to mission)
• Not as easy to figure out as it might at first seem
          o The version I am using is from an analysis done by Steve Smith, advisor to the President of the House of Deputies on finances and  budget matters
          o I have also asked for an analysis to be done by the Treasurer
          o I have done my own analysis
• Different ways to analyze this
• Some things don’t fit neatly into a category (e.g., Presiding Bishop)
• DFMS budget allocations by category
          o Canonical/Governance—Almost 21%
                General Convention—7.6%
                Other—13%
          o Corporate/Administration—26.3%
          o Program/Mission—53.2%

Slide 19—Income Problem at Diocesan Level
• Different ways to analyze this
• Diocesan income peaked in 2007 and has been in decline since.
• Diocesan income represents approximately 12% of congregational income.

Slide 20—Income Problem at Churchwide Level
• Projecting drop from 2011 to 2012.
• This is a model, not a forecast, of what might happen if current trends continue.  (Not saying that they will, and in fact, I do not believe they will.  This is a model only.)
• Interesting note, what comes to the DFMS is 1.6% of congregational income and about 13% of diocesan income.  I.e., what DFMS receives from the dioceses is just about the same percentage as what dioceses receive from the congregations.

Slide 21—Becoming Missionally Structured
• Current assumption:  canonical has the priority
• Something of a misunderstanding. 
          o Generally, the canon says “amount reasonably necessary” for work, which means there’s discretion as to amounts allocated as “necessary.”
          o Canons subject to amendment.
• What if we reversed the priority and funded mission first.
• Non-profit accountability standards
          o Better Business Bureau:  No more than 35% on overhead.
          o Preferred:  15-20%
• What if we reversed the priority and funded mission first?

Slide 22—Hypothetical Budget
• Entirely hypothetical; actual 2011 DFMS budget is around $35 million.
• Put mission in first
          o 2011 program/mission spending is about $19 million
• Put overhead in at a reasonable amount within non-profit standards.  Hypothetically 30%, which is still high but within the minimal guidelines.
• Would produce a budget of $27 million.

Slide 23—How to Fund $27 million
• Fixed Income
          o Investment income: $9.5 million
          o Rental income: $950,000
          o Total:  $10.5 million
• Leaves $16.5 million to be funded from dioceses
• I find this very interesting
          o It so happens that 1% of congregational income is about $16.5 million ($16,594,000)
          o This means that reasonable, missionally-oriented DFMS budget could be funded with 1% of congregational income
          o For dioceses trying to meet their full asking, in most cases this would be a dramatic decrease, thus making more money available for mission at the local level.
          o To make it work, however, would require that everyone participate, i.e., all dioceses.  There are ways to help that happen.  It is a jubilee opportunity.

Slide 24—Mission Creep/Overhead Creep
• Actual quotation

Slide 25—Principle 1:  Form Follows Function
• How might this be possible to do?
• What are some ways to reduce overhead?
• 4 Principles
• First:  reduce CCABs to these five functions
          o Mission within TEC
          o Mission beyond TEC
          o Promoting Justice and Peace
          o Anglican, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations
          o Governance
          o Supporting Mission through Administration and Finance

Slide 26—Principle 2:  Separate Mission Decisions from Fiduciary Decions
• Let people do what they’re best at
• Executive Council best at mission
• DFMS Board of Trustees is different (currently vested with Executive Council)

Slide 28—Principle 3:  Investment Follows Engagement
• The structure of TEC is a hierarchical pyramid with the General Convention at the top and ordinary members at the bottom.  Resources flow up; decisions flow down.
• This results in a lack of engagement on the part of the grass root level Episcopalian.
• Giving, and the interest in giving, diminishes along with distance from the decision-making.

Slide 30—A Flattened Pyramid Allows Greater Participation
• One way to do this would be to create a common organizational pattern at all levels of church decion-making.

Slide 32—Flattening the Pyramid
• A common organizational pattern would allow collaboration to consult across the church, rather than up and down the church, on missional needs.
• The intention is to facilitate investment through greater engagement.

Slide 34—Emphasize the Local
• Mission primarily occurs at the most local level possible.

Slide 35—General Convention
• General Convention is the least local level of the church hierarchy. 
• Every three years, General Convention costs:
          o $8.3 million to the DFMS budget in direct costs.
          o $353,000 in costs such as staff travel to attend General Convention.
• The total costs to dioceses is conservatively estimated to be $3.5 million (average of $35,000 per 100 dioceses)
• Cost to individuals—unknown.
• Total cost--$12.2 million; over $1 million per day of General Convention.

Slide 39—General Convention
• There might be ways to reduce this cost so that it is less than 7.6 % of the DFMS budget.  These are some ideas (not proposals, or even suggestions; just ideas).
• Change the frequency of meetings.
• Change the length of the meetings.
• Change the size of both houses.
• Change how business is presented (e.g., restrict to dioceses, provinces, and interim bodies) in order to reduce volume and make the business more manageable.
• Have General Convention committees engage their work during the course of the triennium so that they are prepared to begin immediately when General Convention convenes.
• General Convention leadership can be made more accessible by having it go on during the period between Conventions.

Slide 40—Advancing the Conversation
• This was unplanned, but that happens to be the deputation of the Diocese of Lexington.

Slide 41—A Model Resolution
• Resolutions may come to General Convention from dioceses and provinces.
• Dioceses could ask the General Convention to ask the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to take action so that a comprehensive plan with what would be necessary for implementation could be presented to the General Convention.
• The resolution calls for a special commission to do this work.
• It might be advisable to have this presented to a special meeting of General Convention before the next regularly scheduled Convention in 2015.
          o A special Convention can only consider matters proposed in the agenda.  Thus, Convention would be freed from other business that might interfere with consideration of this important matter. (Sometimes very important legislation receives inadequate consideration because it is not able to be considered on the floor until the end of Convention due to the press of other business.)
          o The 2015 Convention will elect a Presiding Bishop.  It might be best not to confuse this discernment with the consideration of structural proposals.  It also might be useful if the Presiding Bishop were elected knowing what the structural direction was going to be.
          o This would allow dioceses to elect their deputations with the issue of structural reform in mind.  (Deputies to a special Convention are those most recently elected, not those elected to the last regular Convention.)
• This proposal is intended to foster grass roots participation, conversation, and engagement so as to engage all the baptized to the extent possible; not just those with churchwide office. 
• Ways to take diocesan action on the model resolution.
          o Convention action would be preferable.
          o Even if a resolution deadline has passed, in many dioceses resolutions necessary to implement the Bishop’s Address are always in order.
          o It is possible to suspend rules for late resolutions.
          o Alternative bodies for action, depending on local canons, would be Executive Councils or Standing Committees.
          o There is no need for the model resolution be adopted exactly as is.  Everyone should feel free to use it or not, or to modify or amend, as they think best.

Slide 42—A Faith Statement
• These are things I believe about Episcopalians.
• A general word of caution about continuing this conversation.
          o The problem is a systemic one and not an individual one.
          o There will be reactivity to these proposals.  That is the nature of systemic issues.
          o This is not a problem with the leadership of the House of Deputies or with anyone individually.
          o Let me say something about the President of the House of Deputies.
                This is not a problem about Bonnie Anderson.
                Bonnie Anderson is a good and faithful person who loves Jesus and loves the Church and is devoted to serving the Church.
                To be perfectly honest, the level of conversation in the House is sometimes not helpful on this issue and, in fact, the people of the Church deserve a higher standard of leadership from their Bishops.
                When I need to ask Bonnie about something she has said or done, or when I need to consult with her on something, what I do is pick up the phone and call her.  I have never, not once, had Bonnie do anything other than have a collegial and helpful conversation with me.  I suggest you do the same.

Questions for Table Discussion
• A question left unanswered is what do we mean by “mission.”  How would you define “mission”?
• We have not begun to exhaust all the possible ideas to solve this problem.  What concrete ideas can you suggest?
• Would you be willing to see that your diocese has a chance to consider the model resolution?

Tagged in: House of Bishops

Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer