EPISCOPAL MUTUAL MINISTRY REVIEW for DIOCESE OF OREGON
May 31, 2017
An Episcopal Mutual Ministry Review (EMMR) was held on May 31, 2017 in Salem, Oregon. The EMMR was organized and approved by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Oregon in conjunction with Bishop Michael Hanley.
Participants included the Right Rev. Michael Hanley, the Rev. Tom English and Michael Stone from Board of Trustees, Ginger Hess, Toni Phipps and Charles McGee II from Diocesan Council, the Rev. Simon Justice and Sharon Rodgers from Standing Committee and the Rev. Patti Hale and Pat Wohlwend who were at large participants. Dan Martin facilitated the process.
During the EMMR the participants reflected on the past year in terms of how Bishop Michael and the various organizations of the diocese have lived out their ministries together. They looked at what can be gleaned from what has happened this last year and discussed creative ways to engage in the various ministries in the future. This is the fourth EMMR for Bishop Michael and the leadership groups.
Each participant was asked to answer seven questions from the perspective of their group or position. The questions covered areas of the mission and vision of the diocese, highlights of the various ministries over the past year, communications, interpersonal relationships and operating effectiveness of the various groups, important goals for the next year and a look at what God is calling the diocese to in three to five years.
This document is meant to summarize some of the topics that were discussed. By its very nature, it cannot cover everything discussed.
Mission and Vision of Diocese:
One of the major themes that arose is a need to revisit the mission and vision of the diocese since they, along with the mission plan of the Diocese were formulated several years ago. This would involve the Bishop and the various governing bodies of the Diocese going through a visioning process. A primary challenge is how to lead this process together, since the Bishop does not define all the needs within the Diocese.
The restructuring of the finance department was accomplished with +Michael, Neysa+, the Trustees and Standing Committee all involved. It is operating very well. Also, there were smooth transitions in staffing from Barbara Ross and JT Quanbeck to Carol Sedlacek and Heidi Pitts respectively. Diocesan staff is functioning effectively.
There is ongoing work to compassionately assist struggling congregations. Convocation meetings offer opportunities for sharing among parishes.
The Episcopal Bishop of Oregon Foundation is now operational and offering grants.
There is the ongoing challenge of congregations feeling a part of the Diocese. This can be especially true in congregations located some distance from the Diocesan office.
Highlights of the year:
A few of the highlights for the year include the completion of work on socially responsible investments. The participants also affirmed celebrations and actions at Convention that included blessings of a new Parish and support for Standing Rock. The overall stability of the Diocese was noted. The support of +Michael and Trustee’s for Good Sam and the new OSU campus ministry. The trust +Michael has for the Standing Committee is greatly appreciated and it helped them support him in difficult times. +Michael is doing Diocesan staff reviews and position descriptions are in place and there is a positive attitude in Diocesan staff.
There were a number of concerns identified by the participants. a. congregations that are struggling and behind on DPA and other church funding obligations, b. The need to come to clarity about what to do about the Close and its property. The discussions are underway for this and ongoing costs of operating the Close have been defined, c. accountability, particularly attendance at Council, d. how to effectively communicate the value of the Diocese and the shared mission with congregations, e. how to effectively to help with issues of poverty, hunger and the homeless, f. the rise of ‘congregationalism’ within parishes and not seeing the connections between them and the Diocese.
It was felt that communications in the Standing Committee with +Michael were excellent as well as with the Trustees. Communication between Standing Committee and Commission on Ministry is improving. +Michael’s invitational leadership is appreciated. It was suggested to have an in-depth orientation for new Diocesan Council members regarding its task and role. The exchange of communications with Diocesan staff and +Michael is good. The ability to meet electronically is helpful. Communications with the Bishop and Diocesan Council is helpful and good especially regarding updates of what’s going on in the Diocese. Communications between the Diocesan finance department and Council Program & Budget improved significantly.
Interpersonal relations within organizations:
There is openness and mutual respect within the various organizations and members feel free to express their opinions. Safe space is created in Diocesan Council. From +Michael’s point of view there is a need to be careful and give people time to process before voting…careful to not manipulate.
Important Tasks for the coming year:
Weave various visions together and get in sync with mission and budget will follow. Regarding the Diocesan budget, it is important to know what are discretionary funds and what are necessitated due to any funds required to be spent by canonical requirements. Additionally, it is important to review all the ministries of the Diocese prior to the next budget cycle. Really figuring out what support congregations need at the ground level – support, advice, mentoring, training etc. Continued transparency in the budget process and the administration of the budget. Continued work with congregations behind on DPA and proactive communications in Diocese regarding how DPA supports ongoing ministries in the Diocese. Continued work with those congregations that may be at a crossroad. To continue to seek creative ways to encourage a feeling of ‘we are all part of the Diocese’. Explore paring down Diocesan expenses to focus those resources on congregations. Reflect on changes in culture and identity within the church. +Michael is in the process of discerning his goals for the next 5 years.
What God is calling us to do in the next 3-5 years:
Discern the best uses of Diocesan resources, particularly whether to sell the close and move Diocesan offices. Discerning ways to help struggling congregations in creative and sustainable ways. To continue as a voice for the homeless, the hungry and the poor and continue providing resources to help. To continue to stand for social justice in many and different ways. Focus on a stronger presence in the Latino community. Focus on youth especially teaching them about engaging in outreach. How to use the campus ministry house asset in Corvallis. To change Diocesan culture from one fearing scarcity to one of abundance and vitality. Trust and listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction for us.
July 18, 2017