The Diocesan Reimagining Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis offers its final report to the 177th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, to be held in Muncie, Indiana, October 23-25, 2014.
A time of revolutionary change in the church is here. We, as the Diocese of Indianapolis, the Episcopal Church in Central and Southern Indiana, can affirmatively choose to be part of it, or not. But the change that is happening today, whether rapid technological advances, social norms that no longer expect church attendance, or the harm done the Christian message by its most public proponents, happens with or without our participation.
The church has dealt with revolutionary change since its earliest days. Faithfulness in this time was marked not by playing defense, but by looking for new ways to spread the Gospel. (Acts 8:1-8) In this final report of the Diocesan Reimagining Task Force to the 177th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, we present some potential pathways to future growth in faithfulness and in numbers. In particular, we focus on the following subjects:
- Our responsibility to do our part in fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission.
- The leadership model called for today, noting that the networked leadership model that enables many creative Christian endeavors exists in tension with our hierarchical polity.
- Improving community, communications, transparency and accountability throughout the diocese.
- Our shared budget, seeking ways to use our financial strength to better enable engagement with our mission field.
- Removing barriers to the creation of non-parish Episcopal communities, including alternative Episcopal communities which are not dependent on clergy leadership nor have a permanent building.
- The effectiveness of our deaneries and options for their more productive use.
- Sustainability models for smaller Episcopal communities.
The purpose of this report is to articulate a positive vision for the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. Our vision is to invigorate existing congregations; to create new congregations – planting traditional congregations where it makes sense, and experimenting with other congregational models; to encourage cooperation and information sharing among members and congregations; and to care for those in need. Rather than present a specific path to achieve this vision, the purpose of this report is to inform the choices – some easy, many hard – that are ahead of us.
The Diocesan Reimagining Task Force has no power to execute any of the recommendations made in this report. To the extent we have presented a vision the diocesan household perceives as appealing and faithful, it will be up to leaders at every level of this diocese to choose among the options presented (or offer options we have not considered), adjust them where needed, and step affirmatively into our shared future.
Read the full report here (pdf): DRTF Report with Appendices