|St. Matthew's, Fairbanks, Alaska|
In the words of the 2012 Blue Book Report: "Some of the recommendations of the preliminary report of the Advisory Council were not well received by the UTO Committee and so the Committee began to pursue other options."
Ann Fontaine has the bylaws up at her blog What the Tide Brings In. She notes:
While the proposal does offer some helpful ideas about policies and procedures, some things of concern that I see:
Overall it moves total control to the Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church with a small advisory role for the "Board," where is the participation by UTO in the granting process? in communications? in any oversight of monies given to UTO?It removes references to the main goal of heightening awareness of gratitude in our lives, it no longer has any relationship to the Episcopal Church Women (primary supporters of this ministry),It removes the UTO role in development of materials and training local UTO coordinators, though the report to General Convention encouraged a continuing autonomy for UTO with interdependence - this removes all autonomy.
a public debate".
I think it is at least fair to say that they know about accountability.
1. How does the Memorandum of Understanding between DFMS and EWC/UTO embody the "creative tension" between the "increasing regulatory" function of DFMS and the "visionary, autonomous grassroots" function of UTO/ECW and be both/and: "autonomous but interdependent"? (INC-055 Ad-Hoc Committee on the Study of the United Thank Offering, GC 2012. If you haven't read it, please do.)
I am still chilled by the knowledge that the conversations concerning the historic, autonomous, missionary leadership of women (UTO/ECW) becoming more a part of the "increasingly regulatory" body of DFMS had to be had with a group of 4 representatives from DFMS (3 of whom were men) under a signed agreement of confidentiality. And yet, the words "accountability" and "transparency" are being bandied about as somehow meaningful.
I understand. That may be "business as usual," but when you are talking about the historic autonomy of women (which came about because women were excluded from leadership in existing church structures), and removing direct decision making and control over the money they raise, well, it just doesn't bode well - especially in the church.
Speculation can also work for the good, becoming a force for revelation and transparency of evidence. As speculation fuels controversy, more pressure is put on "the powers that be" for transparency.
Transparency is clearly what is called for. Now. As in right now. Now, now.
The longer we wait for information, the more likely the courage of these four women will be dismissed as 'reactionary' and 'hysterical' and "typical" of women who 'can't abide / are threatened by change'.
The sooner we all see the proposed Memorandum of Understanding and compare that with the goals of the 2012 Ad Hoc Committee, the faster the speculation will subside.
Or, rise, depending on the information we receive.
Until then, I hope we will continue to discuss this issue - which is decidedly NOT about "old, crabby women who are resistant to change" (as one person, dismissing the situation as unimportant, said to me).
Yes, it is about women and power and the institution. Sexism and misogyny are still alive in the church, even though a woman is PB, just as racism is still alive in this country, even though there is a Black man in the White House.
This is also about the "creative tension" between the "grassroots" - necessarily autonomous - efforts for mission and the "Increasingly regulatory function" of the institutional church.
There are many lessons to be learned that can be very helpful to those of us who are experiencing the same tensions in ministry at local and diocesan levels.
Indeed, the tensions between autonomy and interdependence and independence are central to being Episcopalian and Anglican.
My hope is for information. Sooner, rather than later.
Until then - and I may be in the minority and widely unpopular for saying this, but - let the conversation and speculation continue.
Because, you know what "they" say about women who feel scorned.