D060 Establish a Covenant with the Diocese of Cuba

Original version

Resolved, the House of __________ concurring, That the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church does agree and covenant with La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba Diócesis Anglicana, and does commit itself to this covenant for the planning of admitting it into union with the General Convention of The Episcopal Church as a Diocese, as follows:

Preamble: At the meeting of its Synod in February 2015, La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba Diócesis Anglicana (IEC) authorized, and in the subsequent Synod ratified, a formal Declaration "to start a process that would make the Cuban Diocese an integral part of the Episcopal Church [TEC]". The parties to this Covenant acknowledge that additional work is needed to prepare both TEC and IEC for IEC to be admitted as a Diocese in union with General Convention. The parties therefore covenant as follows:

1. That IEC confirms its intention to become a full member Diocese of TEC in union with the General Convention.

2. That there will be established a Joint Committee of Consultation to be made up of members of IEC to be designated by IEC and members of TEC to be designated by TEC. The Committee's tasks will be to plan, consult, cooperate, and offer advice as to the actions to be taken both before the General Convention of TEC can admit IEC as a Diocese and after such admission becomes effective.

3. That immediately upon this Covenant coming into force, clergy and employees of congregations in IEC shall become eligible to participate going forward in the International Clergy Pension Plan or a related plan to be developed by the Church Pension Fund in consultation with TEC and IEC. The General Convention will request a budget allocation to continue current pension payments to existing retirees. TEC and IEC will cooperate in developing a plan to fund retroactive unpaid pension premiums to the extent feasible.

4. That IEC may seek and TEC will encourage the development of Companion Diocese relationships between IEC and Dioceses of TEC.

5. That TEC will provide block-grant funding to IEC to support its mission, in an amount no less than $300,000 per triennium while this Covenant is in force.

6. That all Bishops of IEC shall be invited to be collegial members of the House of Bishops of TEC.

7. That this Covenant will become effective upon approval by both the Synod of IEC and the General Convention of TEC. It will be stated in both the English and Spanish languages, but in the case of any difference in interpretation the English version shall control.

8. That this Covenant shall be subject to review not less than once every three years to enable changes and modifications as may become necessary, and will continue in force until agreement by both parties to terminate.

And be it further

Resolved, That in accordance with the terms of item 8 of the Covenant, the Executive Council be authorized to act on behalf of TEC; and be it further

Resolved, That the review in item 8 of the Covenant shall include any reports and recommendations by the members of the Joint Committee of Consultation referred to in item 2 of the Covenant; and be it further

Resolved, That the members of the Joint Committee of Consultation representing TEC be appointed pursuant to the provisions of TEC Resolution 2012-A111; and be it further

Resolved, That because of the importance of the work of the Church in Cuba, Program, Budget and Finance be requested to consider budget allocations for the triennium 2019-2021 for the block grant for the Church in Cuba of $350,000 to cover the increased cost of clergy salaries and other missionary expenses and to cover the pension cost of retired clergy and clergy expected to retire during the triennium; and be it further

Resolved, That Program, Budget and Finance be requested to consider a budget allocation for the triennium 2019-2021 of $50,000 for continuing costs of consultation between the Executive Council and the Diocese of Cuba.

Explanation

From its founding by missionaries of The Episcopal Church (TEC) at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Cuban outreach of TEC functioned as a Missionary District. Because of the breakdown in travel, communications, and funding following the Cuban Revolution, the House of Bishops of TEC in 1966 terminated the church's status and constituted it as an Extra-Provincial Diocese of the Anglican Communion, operating under a Metropolitan Council made up of the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the West Indies, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Presiding Bishop of TEC. As La Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba Diócesis Anglicana (IEC) it has continued is mission in the Anglican tradition since then. At the meeting of its Synod in February 2015, IEC authorized, and in the subsequent Synod ratified, a formal Declaration "to start a process that would make the Cuban Diocese an integral part of the Episcopal Church". TEC Resolution 2015-B003 acknowledged this decision and authorized a task force to facilitate collaboration between the two entities.

The task force has proposed Resolution A052, which asks for continued dialogue but does not call for a covenant structure for the next triennium, as has facilitated other dioceses in the past. It requests a budget allocation of $50,000 to cover a continuation of a body that would " discuss arising issues and share and respond to new information as the relationship develops", but it does not offer a process that can develop concrete steps that will be needed to bring IEC into union with TEC. Also, the task force makes no provision for continuing the block grant to Cuba, which will need to be increased (a) because of the reduction in support for IEC from the Anglican Church of Canada and (b) to cover current pension payments that up to now were provided from the Presiding Bishop's Discretionary Fund.

The current proposal contains provisions for establishing a Covenant structure and for funding that is needed to continue this process.


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