To annoyingly quote myself, at the last national Anglimergent US gathering in California:

"The community...voiced the majority opinion that we don't want to pursue fundraising for an Anglimergent TEC budget organized through the website or through the group that has been meeting at these 'Y'all comes'. This group doesn't want the encumbrances that come along with money from the national church or elsewhere, doesn't have the mechanisms to deal with money in any case, and doesn't feel that a budget is appropriate for this type of conversational, open, networked organization.

However, there was interest in the formation of a discussion/working group to consider questions of 'budget' more carefully. There were strong opinions that contextual mission and fresh expressions of church need to receive wider financial support and resources from TEC (though this didn't seem to be a unanimous opinion). The idea that some form of independent Domestic Mission grant board should be formed, and that some members present at our conversation should be on the board, found some support - so long as that body was a distinct entity from Anglimergent. Karen Ward, Eric Erickson and Tim Mathis volunteered to start a discussion/working group around these issues (and I would invite any/all to join our discussion on this site, which should appear shortly!)."

At this stage in life, I don't have a lot of answers for this one, but/so I do want to throw this on the table for the online community. Any thoughts on how this community might help missioners access needed funds? Or other thoughts around finances and Anglimergence?

Tags: Money

Views: 26

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I can't really speak to the specific issue of missioners and needed funds. Also, though I'm an Episcopalian and proud to be one, my primary ministry context is not within the TEC structures, so take me with the appropriate grain of salt for that reason. And finally, I'm certain my advice is not applicable to all contexts, through I suspect that it's at least somewhat applicable to more contexts than we would tend to think.

Here's my advice: figure out ways to do mission, transform, and thrive without money. Or with a bare minimum of money. A friend of mine - a longtime pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (now retired) once told me, "Money almost always implies control", and another friend responded "What did he mean, 'almost'??"

In my particular context, we run a church (a small one, granted - less than 40 active adults; maybe around 50 "members" including kids - we don't have formal membership) on less than $3000 per month. We are small, but we do all the things that most churches do - but these things are not done disproportionately by "clergy" (which we don't have) or staff - most everybody participates in designing and leading worship on an irregular rotating basis (including "content" or preaching - different people do that each week, if we even have something that would e recognizable as remotely sermonic). Everybody does pastoral care for everybody else, in the Pete Rollins model (though certainly those more gifted do more of it). And we don't have any "programs" - if we discern a need, and there are people in our body with gifts/passions to meet that need, those people start doing it. If those gifts/passions don't exist, then we generally conclude that God isn't calling us to do that. If we discern that the need is through, we stop doing it. This happens all the time.

Our budget includes a little over 10% giving to folks in need (wish it were much more - I'm hoping it will become more soon as giving is up a bit - but we do more giving in terms of presence/time/action than money), one underpaid half-time staff member (not me), $900/month rent at the coffee house / concert venue where we worship, a church cell phone, and a few other occasional expenses. That budget is covered by offerings from our community (sometimes barely, other times with overflow), and we've never had any outside financial support.

I say all this because my point is this: money almost implies control. And a manifestation of church that is aiming for free experimentation and emergence - which is inevitably hampered by outside control - would do well to carefully examine every single assumption of what is "obviously needed" to do church effectively - whatever kind of church we're trying to do. We (my church, in particular) don't "obviously need" a building. We don't need any fully-financially-supported leaders, because we don't need anyone in the a classic "pastor" or "CEO" position of doing a lot more than anyone else in the community. We don't need anyone to do all the fund-raising or "stewardship campaigns" because we don't do any. We don't need anyone with the prescribed role of doing all or most of the preaching, or the pastoral care, or the program administration, or even the leadership decision-making: we have a co-equal leadership team of three which in responsible for discerning (with the whole community) the ways forward for our church. (And by the way, I strongly believe that a rock-solid commitment to plural leadership - no CEO model, no one person at the top - is absolutely key to avoiding this kind of organization becoming some kind of ego trip.) We don't need any funded programs - if there are needs, if we are gifted to meet them, we adapt.

Again, I'm not saying ours is the model - I don't believe in "the model" - for every "emerging" ministry, or even most of them. All I am saying is: question *every* assumption. Question it relentlessly. *Especially* assumptions about money, and the need for it. Because money almost always implies control, and control is the antithesis of emergence.
Thanks for this Mike - I'm going to avoid commentary right now, other than to say that I'm hoping to start working w/a few folks next year on a sort of 'church within a church' project, and hope to follow the kind of model you're outlining and see what happens. I'm avoiding commentary b/c I want to leave the floor open to others - thoughts, anyone?
Before we go too far down this path, I would highly recommend reading the following article from Margaret Wheatley: http://www.margaretwheatley.com/articles/emergence.html

She offers a fresh perspective on "Emergence" and offers hope for Angli-Mergence in suprising ways!


Tom
646-203-6266
This is great Tom, and you're the second person who has recommended this to me (the other was your 815 (if I can still call it that) colleague Jason Sierra - great guy, by the way). A key quote, I think:

"Our philosophy is to “Act locally, connect regionally, learn globally.” We focus on discovering pioneering efforts and naming them as such. We then connect these efforts to other similar work globally. We nourish this network in many ways, but most essentially through creating opportunities for learning and sharing of experiences and shifting into communities of practice. We also illuminate the work of these pioneering efforts so that many more people will learn from them. We are attempting to work intentionally with emergence so that small, local efforts can become a global force for change."

I'm wondering if there might be possibilities here for TEC resources to function in this way. Actually, I'm pretty sure there are possibilities for TEC resources to function in this way. And to do so without 'killing the movement', so to speak.
Tim,

The Wheatley article is stellar in its elegant description of the possibilities available to us. Please know that I am committed to illuminating the fruit of our pioneering efforts via any means available. I have also rediscovered that pioneering work is being offered in a variety of traditional church settings, as well. For that reason, it feels essential to embrace what the CoE refers to as a "mixed economy Church" where we celebrate the work of the Spirit via "inherited churches" as well as via fresh expressions of church. It seems to me that, while I cherish each of the house churches to which I have belonged, I also appreciate the way that leaders in some of our traditional churches are modeling what it means to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, I do not believe that one form of church necessarily trumps the other or calls the other to change -- it's the content and shape of the conversation that needs to change. That renewed commitment to courageous and open conversation can happen anywhere from Trinity, Wall Street to the homeless ministries in our TEC.

As a way of clarifying the resourcing most needed right now, I'm wondering how many in this Anglimergent community plan to be at GenCon 2009. Is there a possibility that we might come together over a few days and agree on "next steps" (with or without big funding) to discovering, naming, connecting, nourishing and illuminating? So many of these steps are already offered here on/in this Ning community -- maybe we need to do more of the last step. Count me in -- that is a specific piece of my own calling in serving our church!

Thanks again for this GREAT conversation!

Tom
Thanks for the kind words and extended response Tom. I don't know exact numbers, but there will be a significant contingent from the community at General Convention. I'm not going to be able to make it, and I can't speak for folks who will be, but I'm guessing the group would be particularly interested in thinking about a national church role for the 'discovering/illuminating' piece you've mentioned. Becoming a more visible and recognized part of the 'mixed economy' of TEC seems like a sensible next step to me.

You can join the online group who are "creating a prayerful space at the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, CA as a service to the conventioneers in order to share with the broader church what emerging worship is and looks like instead of talking about it" here .
Tom, this is an *awesome* article. Thanks for posting it - I'm already busy sharing it with friends!

It's an excellent description of emergence. The "naming, connecting, nourishing, and illuminating" of emergent efforts described by Wheatley doesn't match up very closely with my observations of past or current behavior (nor my guesses as to likely near future behavior) of any large-scale institutional entity of the Anglican Communion, including most of TEC. But I sincerely hope I'm wrong about that.

My cynical self sees more hope in a Brian McLaren quote from the recent Emergent/Catholic conference in Albuquerque - which, like, six of my friends immediately tweeted, but which I'll probably misquote. It was something along the lines of "You can accomplish amazing things if you don't ask permission."

But maybe after enough has been accomplished without permission, the permission-givers will begin to name, connect, nourish, and illuminate. :-)
Not to be all Jesus-freaky about it, but....we already have permission. He breathed on us and gave us the power, suggesting that we feed the hungry, heal the sick, forgive sins and raise the dead.

Beginning with this charge, and striving for a kind of kenotic generosity toward the institutions we live among, why not just go ahead and do the work in Jesus' name....and offer it freely to anyone in the Episcopal Church (or elsewhere) who's interested, so they can do it too?

But let's not wait to see if raising the dead fits a funding category. Let's not wait to see if we can get GC support and a budget and an administrator to sign off on forgiving sins. Let's not wait for the politically useful moment to reach out to the wrong people and invite all the sinners to Table.

As we say in worship: Christ is here, right now, making peace-- share it with your neighbors!
The peace of the Lord be with us all.
Hear, hear. :-) OK, Sara, I'm with you.

It's the kenotic generosity toward institutions that I struggle with, but I'm trying, honestly - though it might not always be apparent. I was certainly grateful for the generosity of my "institutional" TEC church in sharing Jesus with me when I zoomed out from work for the noontime Holy Wednesday service today. And I'll be grateful for that generosity again tomorrow, and Friday, and (probably) Saturday, when I join them to walk through the days of Holy Week for which my little "emerging" church doesn't gather. I'm grateful for all the diverse manifestations of God's church.

But I also worry that for most of us, there's a fine line between generosity toward the institutions and waiting for them. But while I'm busy bitching about that, I should probably better be wondering: what am *I* waiting for?

Thanks, Sara.
To open up a different angle on this one, a basic question I'm interested in is whether/how existing TEC resources can be used and allocated to reinforce effective mission. I'm admittedly a bit past the 'should' questions - the reality of the situation is that most of our Dioceses and our national church are sitting on quite a bit of people/financial/real estate resources, we've cultivated (from my perspective) an extremely appealing form of Christian faith and 1) our numbers are still falling, 2) TEC isn't well known in the community and 3) our members aren't generally motivated to place faith at the center of their lives in the way that evangelicals and other committed religious believers historically have. Crudely stated, we have a lot of resources that are not being used optimally for mission, evangelism, or faith formation (three sides of the same, well, weird looking three-sided coin), and we generally don't have any coherent/cohesive idea what to do about that. I want to see that change at the local, diocesan and national levels. Fighting this battle isn't everyone's calling, but it should be someone's. What we have with Anglimergent is the sort of grassroots swell that can direct attention towards the missional cause at all levels of the Church structure.

I think there is something really important to be learned from what's happening in Olympia: http://www.emergingmission.org/. Last year, our bishop (Greg Rickel) commissioned a 'Commission for Emerging Mission':

1. To support, encourage and resource emerging church and mission in congregations, helping parish leaders acquire new skills and competencies for engaging new and contextual form of mission in their parish neighborhoods.
- 2. To support, encourage and resource 'under 35s' for participation in God's mission via their vocations as baptized Christians in the world. (Baptismal Covenant).
- 3. To identify, recruit, form, prepare, credential and support a cohort of under 35 aged emerging, missional leaders for Holy Orders within our diocese.

He put Karen Ward in charge of forming it (she's admittedly a uniquely valuable resource not shared in any other Diocese) and gave us $20k (an amount that a lot of dioceses could come up with if they so choose). We're currently using about half of the funds to pay two 'community catalysts' (one of which is me) to address the commission's goals in a 'ground up' fashion, rather than from the top down. We're 'open source' in that anyone can be a 'commissioner' and we're willing to support anyone who wants to start up a project (so far projects have been developed in 5 parishes and several are developing at diocesan or regional levels). We're partnering on events with community organizations (an AIDS organization, the local chapter of Integrity, a ministry to the homeless, parishes, Diocesan Commissions, etc.) - using mostly our people resources and a sort of 'microloan' model (if people need money, we'll give as much as is feasible out of the budget) - to mobilize young adults and other mission minded folk, to increase Episcopal visibility in Western Washington, and to generally show our Diocese that the thing they possess - Anglican faith - has a real value and appeal for the wider community. The 'community catalysts' are essentially networking hubs - they meet people, have coffee, connect folks with similar visions and encourage and support good ideas relating to mission. I'm working on developing a sense of communal identity around this move and cultivating a networked community across the Diocese called 'Conspiracy Western Washington'. (see here: http://conspiracyww.org/) My fellow catalyst has just started, is very part time, and is working to connect Episcopalians with the Seattle GLBTQ community. (His position could be a model for the micro-employment of other part-time catalysts.) Karen is overseeing everything and is working on developing a Pioneer Missioner Pilot Project to train missioners and other future ministers contextually in Western Washington. She's also working to establish a Diocesan Mission Training institute and establish a branch of CDSP in Seattle for an Anglican Studies program for missioners. Not bad for $20k and 8 months of work (Karen's ability to get things done will never cease to amaze me). We'll need (and ask for) more money in the future in order to help our partners keep building, but we will have earned it by demonstrated missional effectiveness with the money we've already been given stewardship over.

The points of stickiness for emergents are always 1) the 'under 35' thing and 2) the 'Karen as boss' thing. In reference to number 1), this Commission has been developed to address a very specific need, and the model could be applied in different ways - ethnic ministry, youth ministry, etc. as needed. In reference to 2), I know most emergents hate hierarchy instinctually, but in reality the problem w/heirarchy comes when leadership is disconnected from or not accountable to the community they're leading. Admittedly, the Diocese is almost too big to attempt this sort of thing - regional Commissions localized in cities or counties would probably be ideal (most of our work has ended up being Seattle-centric b/c that's where staff is based). However, as with our Bishops, but unlike many national structures, we're close enough that some meaningful connection can be maintained with a lot of practitioners across a wide geographic region. We intentionally hold meetings and events in different parishes around the Diocese to foster connections as broadly as possible. And, I should say, while Karen is the leader and hub of the commission, there is no 'boss' - anyone can participate in the planning process, develop projects, and access resources.

I'm hoping the national church pays attention to what is happening here, and follows a similar track - resourcing already connected and practicing people at a local level where there is energy and relationship, fostering indigenous training for ministry, and allowing the locals to determine the direction their mission takes. A national grant board and micro-loan program would fit this bill, I think, as would a national program to develop seminary access (and models for contextual formation) for local practitioners (Please, someone, get our seminaries into online education market! This is 2009!). Support and education for Dioceses about what is working in other places to 'cross pollinate', as well as facilitating learning from the much-advanced Church of England.
Thanks Tim,
I take seriously over-seeing (on behalf of our Bishop) our Commission. In all groups and networks (including open source ones) a few transparent and accountable leadership positions are always there to help tend the overall 'focus and flow' of the work we have been given to do and towards our Commission goals.

Also I see my role as keeping binoculars on and a finger to the wind on the lookout for Spirit's activity in Seattle, in our parishes, and among our Commissioners and other partners, and provide support to the various Spirit currents so they can swirl together and gather steam from synergy, for our common work for the Reign of God.

E
Tim,

It sounds like your Diocese is exemplary -- that your Bishop is offering the rest of TEC an example of the ways that "inherited church" can support and resource Anglimergence on a local level. The National Church operates at its best when it supports diocesan and local parish initiatives, through Diocesan leadership. I tell the story of Bishop Rickel's initiatives and creativity, everywhere I go. Your commissions and the work that your pioneers are doing deserve celebration! Are you planning to tell your story at GenCon? I know that RosaLee Hardin offered her space and booth -- do you need help with any of that?

With hope,

Tom

RSS

Badge

Loading…

© 2014   Created by Karen Ward.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service