The 2020 Plan for Ministry was published on September 30, and it is available to read online or download and print. Follow the link below to see the complete document. Read on for the full text of Bishop’s Marty’s introduction to the plan.
Introduction to the 2020 Plan for Ministry
Dear Friends in Christ,
Well, here it is: the 2020 Plan for Ministry!
I’ve written on several occasions in the past that our Plan for Ministry isn’t merely a budget and not just a spending plan. It’s a missional and theological document. It’s a plan for how we will pursue our mission and accomplish the goals of our diocese.
And what are our goals? Well, for the past two conventions we’ve emphasized that each of us is “Called In and Sent Out”, meaning that each of us is called in to be a Disciple and sent out to be an Apostle. And we’ve challenged ourselves to be “One Ministry in West Missouri”, meaning to recognize our intrinsic and essential unity in God, our solidarity as The Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, and our need for and reliance on each other as co-laborers in the harvest field we call West Missouri.
This is quite new for those of us whose primary identity as Episcopalian Christians has been centered in one, particular parish. To think of ourselves as one, or as partners, or as in ministry together may be a new idea for some. To think of a parish—my parish—as but one mission point among 48 that need and rely on each other might be a real, perceptual adjustment.
My travels and conversations around the diocese—where I have been privileged to take council with individual clergy and lay leaders of parishes and congregations, as well as the leaders of the deaneries, councils, and commissions of the Diocese of West Missouri—bring me to believe that we are slowly but steadily growing into this new way of thinking, this new way of comprehending ourselves. I have been blessed to see constituent members of the diocese, both individuals and groups, reaching out to build community and create partnerships with other Episcopal parishes; with ecumenical partners; with community, social service ministries; and with likeminded people who share common affinities.
Our next step, I believe, is to make a similar, conceptual adjustment about our place in the larger church and to come to understand ourselves as part of something even bigger than the diocese. We are the presence of the Episcopal Church in the western half of the State of Missouri.
We are “The Episcopal Church in West Missouri”. Our 48 parishes represent the work, mission, vision, and faith of The Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement in 37 municipalities, large and small, rural, suburban, and urban. Anyplace we are present, the Episcopal Church is present. Wherever we find ourselves, the Loving, Liberating, Life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord is shared. In any locale, we stand for relationships characterized by The Way of Love.
We are a different kind of Church than that which many of our neighbors have known, and we boldly embrace what makes us distinct. We offer and work toward reconciliation between people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, origins, and economic and cultural backgrounds. We strive to welcome all, no matter how different from us they may seem. We build bridges of understanding between disparate peoples. We strive to mend a broken world. We seek to build God’s Beloved Community in and beyond the borders of our parishes, our dioceses, and our Church. We do so because we believe Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One of God, calls us to follow this path — because, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it’s what we understand God calling us to do. Thanks be to God.
This is what I long for us to be – The Episcopal Church in West Missouri.