Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention adopt a standard of requiring recipients of mission enterprise zone and new church start grants to disclose how the demographics (ethnicity/age/income range) of those in positions of authority in the new ministry, including staff and any advisory board or vestry members, compare to the demographics of the surrounding population, and be it further
Resolved, That the Parochial Report be modified to collect demographic data (ethnicity/age/income range) on vestry members together with the demographics of the surrounding three (3) mile radius of the church.
Our work as the Advisory Group on Church Planting has revealed that instrumental to starting and maintaining healthy communities of faith and/or worshipping communities requires that the dynamics of power, privilege, and authority be consistently evaluated and reevaluated to ensure that church leadership reflects the communities they are a part of or are hoping to engage, and to expand existing concepts of leadership. Doing so allows the new ministry to grow out of healthy DNA.
Our work with church plants and mission enterprise zones is an invitation to the church to a new way of thinking, because best practices for new ministries inform how we go about existing ministries. To that end, the Advisory Group hopes to bear witness to the reality that it is best practice for all churches to be aware of how those in positions of authority reflect the existing community around the church. We believe that asking congregations to supply this information each year using the demographic report found at The Episcopal Church Researching Your Congregation and Community web page together with information on staff and vestry will raise the issue in a helpful way for all of the congregations of The Episcopal Church.
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