Thursday, April 06, 2006

ABCUSA Officials Gather to Answer the Question: "What Does it Mean to be a Denomination in This Day?"

What is happening in the national corridors of power as the PSW continues the countdown for a meeting on withdrawal from the ABCUSA later this month? Last night the General Executive Council (GEC) of the ABCUSA began its annual spring meetings which are scheduled to run until Sunday.

At the November gathering, several members raised concerns about the future of denominationalism in general and the ABC in particular. Some of the participants requested a “mediation event” where all of the diverse and disparate issues could be put onto the table.

The actual wording read: “Building upon its action in the spring of 2005, the GEC has observed a confluence of events that are symptomatic of a need for a comprehensive reevaluation of the very character of what it means to be a denomination in this day and that we accordingly resolve to put in place a process to review the Covenant of Relationships to include a review of our values, structure, decision-making processes that would form the basis of a new relationship together.”

Last evening, the GEC reportedly took an initial step at following up on the requested mediation. Out of an agenda for the sessions running from April 5 – 9, GEC members began working on the problem under the facilitation of Ms. Trish Jones. Due to a prior engagement by Ms. Jones who is leaving this afternoon, only a few hours will be devoted to this potentially life-and-death issue facing the ABC.

All of this follows on the heels of a specially called meeting last month near Chicago at the often used Techny Towers conference center. Originally established as a seminary for the Society of the Divine Word (Societas Verbi Divini, SVD), Techny Towers now serves as an ecumenical center for religious, social, educational, service and other nonprofit organizations.

Roy is said to have called the execs together to reconnect with them, promote the Seek It! vision statement, push the key ministry areas that have been defined in order to flesh out the Vision Statement, and discuss "how do we move forward from here?" Considerable time was given in break out groups discussing that last question, "How do we move forward?" Reports filtering out of the meetings spoke of leader “fatigue” and “more of the same.”

Knowledgeable sources report that the PSW has apparently dropped off the “radar screen” of the national leadership. Some believe that Valley Forge has already washed its hands of the PSW due to the absence of significant high level discussions regarding the possible PSW departure.

Meanwhile, some progressive and conservative executives continue working to find a way to restructure the ABC before an implosion takes place. While rumors circulate about proposals being advanced by various regions and sub-groups within the GEC hailing from both left and right, no idea has gained general acceptance or support. And, as long as national leadership continues looking at the ABC through a perverse magnifying glass that declares us to be the most "rapidly growing mainline denomination" with a compelling vision for ministry, little change can be expected. One can only hope that the shock of the PSW action, once it has taken place, will provide a much needed wake-up call for the rest of the slumbering regions.

[His Barking Dog reports, analyzes, and opines on issues in the ABC from an independent standpoint. I'm as likely to speak for PSW as Benny Hinn is to become pope]

No comments: