The entire report—offered by the Bishop’s Commission on Mission Strategy and the Diocesan Council—is fascinating. See, for instance, “Naming Our Current Realities.”
An excerpt from the “Introduction to the Plan” is below:
“The Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota is at a critical juncture in its life. Almost every measurable trend is downward. Courageous and visionary efforts to address this reality over the past several decades have not succeeded in any measurable way. Apart from a significant change in the way the diocese conceives of its life and engages in its ministry, the BCMS holds out little hope that these patterns will be reversed in the future. That is why this process has focused on rethinking, reframing and reclaiming the identity and purpose of the diocese. Recommendations regarding these matters constitute the first part of this report. The plan outlined on the following pages is designed to build on and help implement the identity and purpose that have been named. It assumes that the following critical realities need to be understood, accepted and addressed.
No Simple Solutions – The crisis within the diocese is systemic. It stems from both a complex set of relationship dynamics and a history dating back several decades. Any effort to plan our way out of this crisis merely by setting more goals and strategies is doomed to fail and will only compound the problems we face. Systemic change takes time. We will surely make mistakes in this process of transformation. We will need to continually evaluate our efforts and progress. We need to be patient and gracious with one another as we move forward.
Continued Short to Near Term Decline Likely – We must face the prospect that the diocese will continue to shrink in size of membership and congregations in the next five to seven years. The complex character of the systemic crisis before us is simply too deep to be resolved quickly. Some congregations and ministries will not survive in the interim period, and the required changes will be too great for others to make and they will continue on the path of decline.”