The Diocesan Convention resolution that created the restructuring task force specified that we were to have our first meeting before Easter. We were late – but in retrospect that’s a good thing.
We met for the first time at Waycross Camp and Conference Center on Friday and Saturday of Easter Week. It seemed fitting that we were starting to envision the future of the Episcopal Church in central and southern Indiana while still fresh from the experience of the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection.
As a group we represent 17 parishes from every corner of the diocese. All six deaneries have a member. In group discussions some of us described our parishes as “on fire” in the best possible way, while others were concerned for their long-term viability. Our ages range from 23 to “late middle age.” The vast majority of us are spiritual immigrants who came to the Episcopal Church by choice, not birth.
The title of the resolution indicates restructuring, but we kept asking ourselves over the weekend, “Restructuring for what?” The language of the resolution itself is much broader than that, though, and directs us toward reimagining. We are to “discern a shared vision for the mission and ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, and the relationship among the diocese and its constituent missions, parishes, and other bodies that reflects the love of Jesus Christ,” and only then “develop recommendations … to achieve that vision together, with God’s help.”
Our initial meeting was mostly to get to know each other, to share our motivations, hopes and fears, and to develop a few concrete next steps to help us move forward. Accordingly, we have taken the following actions:
We have named ourselves the Diocesan Reimagining Task Force.
We have appointed a group of three co-conveners to help keep us on track. These are: Lara Dreyer (St. Mark’s, Plainfield), Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale (All Saints, Indianapolis), and Scott Wilson (Holy Family, Fishers). Jaimie Murdock will serve as our secretary.
We have committed to transparent and open communications. We will be active on our website (reimagineindydio.org), e-mail, Facebook, and other social media platforms as appropriate, and will furnish information to the diocese and to parishes that can be distributed via print as well. In return, we hope that you, the Diocesan household will provide input to us.
In coming days and weeks we will be establishing some near-term priorities for projects we will take on as we start our process of discernment. We will announce those projects as quickly as we are able. Watch this space.
We would like to express our gratitude for the support of Bishop Cate and the Executive Council; for the generosity in time and spirit of the Rev. Don Jones, who served as our chaplain this weekend, and for the remarkable talents of Debbie Asberry, who served as our facilitator as we got organized. We ask all of you for your prayers.
We proceed confident that our risen Lord stands alongside our whole diocese in our service to God and the communities around us, “…for surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Yours in Christ,
The Diocesan Reimagining Task Force
The Rev. Bill Barfield, St. Augustine’s Danville
Larry Baumgardner, St. John’s Crawfordsville
Will Boggs, St. Francis in the Fields Zionsville
The Rev. Steven Carlsen, Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis
Randy Conner, St. Paul’s Evansville
Lara Dreyer, St. Mark’s Plainfield
Alissa Goudswaard, St. John’s Lafayette
Katherine Holtzleiter, Trinity Anderson
The Rev. Enid Morrison, St. Matthew’s Indianapolis
Jaimie Murdock, Canterbury House Episcopal Campus Ministry Bloomington
The Rev. Rebecca Nickel, St. Timothy’s Indianapolis
Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale, All Saints Indianapolis
William Strauss, St. Paul’s New Albany
The Rev. Karen Sullivan, St. Philip’s Indianapolis
The Rev. Mary Taflinger, Trinity Lawrenceburg
The Rev. Marc Vance, St. Paul’s Columbus
Scott Wilson, Holy Family Fishers