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Episcopalians cite five goals for the future in Strategic Planning survey results

November 5, 2009

The results of the Strategic Planning survey indicate youth and young adults, evangelism and elements of congregational life are top on Episcopalian"s suggestions for the future.

The results of the Strategic Planning survey were shared with Executive Council at the group"s recent meeting in Memphis, TN.

Complete results from the Strategic Planning survey along with other resources are available here:

There were a total of 6,697 responses the Strategic Planning survey, which was circulated last summer. Of those, 5,222 were lay people. A breakdown of the 1475 ordained responded were: 42 bishops, 1,249 priests, 184 deacons. About 70% of the respondents were over 50 years old; no more than 15% were under 40.

Cited as the five most important goal areas (out of 10) were: Reaching youth and young adults; Evangelism/proclaiming the Good news of Christ; Worship, music and liturgy; Leadership; and Strengthening congregations.

In addition, the majority clearly indicated that a "great effort" should be devoted to two particular areas: Focusing on God"s Mission as the centerpiece of our church; and Expanding efforts to reach younger generations.

The results also showed great emphasis on communications, mission outreach and inclusion of different voices, including "the ‘multicultural" perspectives and persons…those of different ages, nontraditional lifestyles (particularly gays and lesbians), and also to those who hold contrasting theological positions."

Last summer"s survey, available in four languages (English, Spanish, French and Mandarin), addressed a wide range of topics: evangelism; multicultural issues, worship, music, and liturgy; youth and young adults; mission; leadership; congregational development; church administration; stewardship; advocacy and social justice.

A sampling of comments

The comments were revealing, frank and informative.

"Remember that the Episcopal Church historically has been tolerant of a broad range of opinion within the faith, conservative and liberal, and any strategic plan should ensure that all remain welcome."

"Do not exclude the voices of any, regardless of ‘conservative" or ‘liberal" view, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. It is the great variety of the church that makes us strong, and yet makes it difficult to clearly express a unified identity and mission to the rest of the world."

"The Gospel mission of mission, caring for the poor, the hungry, the vulnerable – especially the children and youth and achieving the MDG"s – should be the primary message and effort of the church."

"Find ways to articulate the uniqueness of the Episcopal Church as one Christian denomination that is truly welcoming to all and truly motivated to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being."

"The use of more technology, marketing etc. should be high on our list."

"Our future is with the young people, people who don"t have the baggage of the last 30 years of inter-Anglican fights, and who are postmodern enough to understand post-liberal and post-conservative."

"The Church needs to see campus ministry and young adult ministry as the most important evangelism and mission area there is. It is where our culture is the most dynamic, most committee, most culturally diverse."

"Where I live the majority population is Hispanic. If the Episcopal Church is to survive, we need to reach out to the Hispanic community. Coming together will involve flexibility on the part of all."

"Please reach out to Native American and Black clergy. No one has systematically addressed the closing of many parishes in the 60"s and 70"s of Black Episcopal churches in an effort to integrate us!"

Strategic Planning Committee

The Strategic Planning Committee was established by Executive Council in January 2009 to develop a strategic plan for the Episcopal Church Center and the Executive Council which addresses mission and ministry, growth, finance, challenges and opportunities, issues and concerns, and to map a way to address all these topics.

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee are:

Bishop David Alvarez, Diocese of Puerto Rico and convener of the Strategic Planning Committee
Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies
The Rev Canon Timothy Anderson, Diocese of Nebraska and Executive Council member, chairperson
The Rev. Paige Blair, Diocese of San Diego
J. Richard Briscoe, Diocese of West Tennessee, vice-chairperson
Jack Finlaw, Diocese of Colorado
The Rev. Canon Anthony Guillen, Latino/Hispanic Ministries Program Officer
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Rev. Christopher Johnson, Jubilee Officer
Bryan Krislock, Diocese of Spokane and Executive Council member
Sarah Lawton, Diocese of California
Albert T. Mollegen, Diocese of Connecticut and former Executive Council member
The Rev. Suzanne Watson, Diocese of El Camino Real and committee secretary.

The findings from the survey will contribute to the development of a Strategic Plan for the Episcopal Church Center and Executive Council as well as a larger overall communication strategy for The Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 110 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer