Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention and the Episcopal Church celebrate and strategically support emerging communities through the good work initiated by GC2015 – D005 and A012 to develop a church-wide network for planting congregations, training and recruiting planters and mission developers; and establishing new congregations or mission enterprise zones each triennium that are especially committed to mission and evangelism that engages under-represented groups, including youth and young adults, people of color, poor and working-class people, people with a high-school diploma or less, and/or people with little or no church background or involvement; and be it further
Resolved, That the Church honors the holy experiments emerging throughout the Church – experiments that build partnerships, expand the language of ministry, create new ways to engage the people of God, harvest and share learnings, and lend courage to those leading new ministries and lower the cost of failure through a network supporting mission development; and be it further
Resolved, That the budget for sustaining this congregational network will be $6,800,000.00 for 2019-2021 to be allocated as follows:
$200,000 to identify and support existing programs to produce training in planting congregations for clergy and lay leaders
$600,000 to provide resources for planters of congregations
$1,000,000 for the development and implementation of a program to train bilingual/bi-cultural lay and ordained leaders for various cultural contexts
$500,000 to support a staff person to oversee the planting network
$3,000,000 for grants to support up to 30 congregations with the size and grant depending on the context and need of the congregation; and be it further
$1,500,000 for the establishing of a land bank for purchasing land for new churches. Monies borrowed for land purchase will be repaid by the borrowers; and be it further
Resolved, That the Convention urges The Episcopal Church Development Office to prioritize raising $6 million per triennium to plant new congregations, so that a network of interested donors will be developed; and be it further
Resolved, That Dioceses receiving money for planting new congregations under this program will contribute matching local funding to support the costs of any new plants, with the exception of cases of significant diocesan financial limitations; and be it further
Resolved, That the bishop or a diocesan advocate representing any diocese receiving funds shall take part in a cohort of church planting dioceses to share best practices and methods of supporting mission developers, as we all are learning how to nurture new ministries that challenge our assumptions about how to share the gospel with new cultures and generations, and that dioceses not receiving grant funds are also invited to participate in the diocesan cohort; and be it further
Resolved, the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies continue the advisory group of not more than twelve (12) people, consisting of those with experience in planting congregations, diocesan oversight of such work, working with evangelism and mission, to carry out provisions of this resolution, including making recommendations to Executive Council about grants to be awarded, helping to identify potential planters, and continuing to develop a network of coaches, and working with staff on training church planters, and be it further
Resolved, That the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance consider a budget allocation of $6,800,000 for the implementation of this resolution.
As we have not in recent years had a culture of church planting or infrastructure in The Episcopal Church to plant new congregations, we believe it is necessary to be intentional about creating the environment to encourage new mission development and evangelism efforts across the church. The 78th General Convention established the Advisory Group for Church Planting and allocated $5,000,000.00 for establishing new churches and mission enterprise zones. That Advisory Group has recommended grants to Executive Council for the funding of sixty-five (65) new works, continuing existing works and has begun developing resources for assessing and training church planters.
During this triennium, the Advisory Group has held three (3) training events for church planters and mission developers and has begun establishing a network of coaches. This group also has hosted community of practice gatherings both in person and online, offering training and support for planters, mission developers, and coaches.
The Advisory Group for Church Planting is committed to continuing engagement in this work and for seeking out and networking with others across the church who will join in supporting these endeavors for the furthering of mission development in the Episcopal Church.
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