RE-IMAGINING TASK FORCE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BACKGROUND

The Re-Imagining Task Force was appointed by the Bishop after the 138th Diocesan Convention (2012) to begin looking at the structural and systemic changes required to enhance relationships within the diocese. The Task Force presented a report to the 139th Diocesan Convention (2013), which granted this Task Force an additional year of work.

Using Ministry Priorities, Hallmarks of Health, consolidated budgets and Executive Staff reorganization as a launching point, Bishop Breidenthal asked the Task Force to give birth to a ‘new diocese’ founded on relationships and effective communications.

The Task Force identified the following areas for possible structural revision: Deaneries, Commissions, Diocesan Council, Silos (trustees, Diocesan Foundation, Budget and Finance committees), overstretched staff and basic units of the church.

This report highlights work done during the past year and a half through numerous meetings and teleconferences.

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Task Force is to re-imagine a diocese of enthusiastic Christians who are empowered to spread the good news of Jesus, and who will lead, encourage and support each other in mission to bring the Kingdom of God on earth.

STATUS UPDATE

By working in sub-groups the Task Force identified several areas of concern and developed potential solutions. An engagement process was undertaken in three congregations, which led us to believe that we needed to develop a broader, more relational approach. The Task Force ultimately used the ‘Art of Hosting’ facilitation process in order to develop resolutions for prime consideration at the 140th Diocesan Convention (2014), per Bishop Breidenthal’s request. These resolutions were crafted around the following areas of concern:

General – encourage and celebrate risk-taking and failure in living into our Christian identity; provide a safe place for all viewpoints in order to empower each member of the diocese; assist each community to thrive in its own environment; have all Executive Staff optimize opportunities for connections and dialogue through a variety of interactions around the diocese.

Committees, Commissions and Task Forces – determine the necessity and effectiveness of existing groups and evaluate them in order to create better means for members of the diocese to exercise discipleship and leadership.

Deaneries – consider alternative methods of relationships based on common ministries or mutual missions rather than solely on geography; connect parishes of various sizes; encourage ‘clergy swaps’ and mutual missions and ministries.

Cross-‘Silo’ Visibility – eliminate systemic silos at parochial and diocesan levels including financial and budgetary processes; increase visibility of parish and diocesan activities that encourage cooperation, collaboration and coordination; provide cross training and cross-pollination between all members of the diocese; determine if the current headquarters model is the best organizational structure for our diocese; consider a model in which staff is resident and present in each area of the diocese, serving to collaborate in the ongoing work that is occurring around the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Basic Units of the Church – build and nurture intentional communities as well as healthy congregations, clergy and staff; encourage and facilitate the relationships among all units of the diocese, while creating best practices for a paradigm shift that fosters non-traditional communities in addition to congregations.

Communications – facilitate the sharing of stories of people and ministries; share best practices; use technology to invite, engage and connect with people beyond the reach of our traditional Church. Diocesan Convention – re-examine the format of the diocesan convention: does it best serve the needs of the diocese? Should it be more relational?

On July 3, 2014, the Bishop and Diocesan Council directed the Task Force to submit a report to the Diocesan Convention rather than to propose resolutions to it. Their letter stated that “It would be very beneficial if the report details how we might pass the charge from the original Re-Imagining Task Force to other groups and what skill-sets are necessary to ensure that we continue to think with vision and strategy.” The Task Force enthusiastically presents its work to the 140th Diocesan Convention (2014). This convention will expand the engagement process that the 139th Diocesan Convention (2013) encouraged the Task Force to undertake. (Resolution #R13-05)

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Task Force recommends engaging with an outside, objective consulting company whose expertise is organizational development and transformation to guide and monitor the next steps in this reimagining process. We also believe that if re-imagining is going to continue, as it must, there needs to be a person or persons within the diocesan staff who is/are dedicated to the re-imagining work to ensure that the diocese allocate adequate resources and support. The Task Force earnestly believes that honest, deep conversations need to take place within the diocese at all levels. These conversations must be given significant attention and consideration as we re-imagine who we are as the Diocese of Southern Ohio, systemically and structurally.

Task Force members will present this report at pre-convention hearings and at the diocesan convention. The complete details of the work done will be available on the diocesan website.

Respectfully submitted,

The Rev. Christopher Richardson, Chair
The Rev. Deniray Mueller, Administrator
Deborah Mariner Allsop
The Rev. Gayle Hansen Browne
Ty Buckman
Frances Carr
Carlos de Jesus
David Dreisbach, staff liaison
The Rev. Ron Dower
The Rev. Meribah Mansfield
L. Susan Pace
Rick Ruud
The Rev. Jim Strader
David Thomson
The Rev. Terri Thornton

Click here to see the Reimagining Task Force full report 10-7-14