OPEN THREAD: What Bylaws Would You Include For A TEC Parish Needing Strengthening?
Okay. So lots of great differentiating ideas over at this thread. And some furtive emails from various folks around the country asking for specific advice regarding specific ideas.
One of them was from a woman in a traditional—and very much horrified—parish down in the SW corner who is tasked with re-writing her church’s bylaws. Keep in mind that she read this passage from the Smoking Landscapes article and was struck by the “protective” actions that we need to take in order for some salvage operations to be effective:
2) The most positive thing we can do is attempt to preserve something from the wreckage of the current structures of TEC. That something may be our family—no trivial thing at all. It may be a particular Episcopal para-church ministry in which we are engaged—a diocesan Cursillo community, or a DOK, or some other smaller organization that is good and true and can be strengthened and salvaged. It may be a camp and conference center. Perhaps a seminary. Or a small-town parish. Or even a cathedral. Maybe, if God has blessed you, it will be an entire diocese.
Those salvage operations will be the only things left standing in the current TEC, and will be foundation-stones of whatever good there is that will follow.
In order for that to happen, you will need to do all in your power to protect that small treasure, that artifact of what was healthy and wholesome in The Episcopal Church. It will mean doing all the little things that are a part of being faithful: vestry elections, search committees, foundation boards, strengthened bylaws that can hinder the efforts of revisionist activists, strategic board appointments and recruiting, clearer canons and constitutions, creative 501(c)3s, well-developed discipleship programs, careful networking and relationship building, and on and on and on it goes.
So here’s my question. What do you think should be included in those bylaws? [Reasonable responses only, please.]
One idea I have is that traditional parishes should go ahead and get into their bylaws that their facilities will not be used to offer same sex blessings or any other type of ceremony that honors same sex relationships, nor will they allow any stipendiary clergy to offer such ceremonies, and it can only be changed by a 2/3 vote of the vestry and a majority vote of the entire communicants of the parish.
But I’m confident that there are other possibilities out there.
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