(RNS) A list of the Episcopal Church’s 75 commissions, committees, agencies and boards spilled over eight PowerPoint slides during a recent presentation by its new chief operating officer, Bishop Stacy Sauls.
By his count, there are also nearly 50 departments and offices in the church’s New York headquarters, and 46 committees in its legislative body, the General Convention.
Sauls, who was hired by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in May, said that he has since learned there are even more offices “that I had never heard of before.”
“It has become just byzantine,” he said. “The governance structures have grown by accretion, without any strategic plan.” Nearly half of the denomination’s budget is spent on overhead, according to Sauls.
Meanwhile, Episcopal membership continues to drop, dipping below 2 million in the U.S. for the first time in decades. Donations, too, are down. It is time for change, starting at the top, Sauls said.
“We’ve been operating in a system where certain expertise resides at the churchwide level and pronouncements get sent down the pipeline,” he said. “That model is last century. It’s a radically different time now.”
Mainline Protestants’ national offices branch into every field from liturgy to gender equality to disaster relief. But as they seek to halt decades-long declines, a number of denominations are trimming their branches and tending to their roots: local congregations. ...
Good article. The General Assembly Mission Council of the PCUSA has been moving away from programmatic initiatives to focusing on inspiring, equipping, and connecting the church for ministry. The new Form of Governement lifts up the local congregation as the primary locus of ministry and the GAMC has been championing that idea for the last few years. The trajectory for the GAMC is good. I'm not as positive about the speed of change.