Posted by: Titus Presler | November 17, 2009

New Standing Commission on World Mission Commission begins meeting

The Standing Commission on World Mission (SCWM), one of 14 standing commissions of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, begins meeting today in Chicago as part of the Nov. 17-20 kick-off gathering of all such commissions, committees and boards (CCABs) of the church to begin their work for the new triennium, 2010-12.

Like many standing commissions, SCWM has 12 regular members – 6 lay, 3 priests or deacons, and 3 bishops – who are appointed by the President of the House of Deputies and the Presiding Bishop.  Each member serves 6 years, with appointments arranged so that half the members in any triennium are beginning their terms and the other half are completing their terms.

The lay members for the 2010-12 triennium are, with their dioceses and last year of projected service:

– Ms. JoAnn Armstead, Nevada, 2012

– Mr. Bert Jones, Newark, 2015

– Ms. Sandra McPhee, Chicago, 2015

– Mrs. Angela Daniel, Upper South Carolina, 2015

– Ms. Rose Fichera-Eagen, Connecticut, 2012

– Ms. Tania Jaramillo, Central Ecuador, 2015

Clergy members are:

– The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, California, 2015

– The Rev. Joseph Jerome, Long Island, 2012

– The Rev. Heather Payton, Colorado, 2012

Member bishops are:

– The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, North Carolina, 2012

– The Rt. Rev. Edward Konieczny, Oklahoma, 2015

– The Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, Lexington, 2012

The liaison from Executive Council, customary for most standing commissions, is the Rev. Floyd Gamarra, serving his second three years on Executive Council, from the Diocese of Los Angeles.   Staffing the commission is the Rev. David Copley, Director of Mission Personnel at the Episcopal Church Center.

Commission’s responsibilities

The church’s canons describe the commission’s responsibility as follows: “It shall be the duty of the Commission to review and evaluate policies, priorities, and strategies for global mission, and to make recommendations regarding global mission to General Convention” (Canon 1.2.n.11).  The commission neither directs nor legislates, but reviews, consults and recommends, and may prepare legislation for General Convention to consider.  (The current mandate represents a streamlining of its earlier canonical mandate: “It shall be the duty of the Commission, as to all mission outside the United States, to review and evaluate existing policies, priorities and strategies, and to  promote partnership for global mission among the various groups within the church, to plan and propose policy on overseas mission, and to make recommendations pertaining to the Executive Council and the General Convention.”)

As is customary, the current commission has one member from Province IX.  There is at least one African American member.  All but one of the lay members are women, but all but one of the priests and bishops are men, so the gender balance is 50/50.  Regional balance is good, though the upper midwest and northwest are not represented.

A number of the members are known to me, but I don’t know the missional involvements of all those I know.  Of those I know, my impression is that Sandi McPhee may be the person on the commission with the most intense, longstanding and widest knowledge of the Episcopal Church’s mission work.  She has been involved in the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission since its early days as ECGM (the C standing for Council), which began in 1990, and currently serves on its steering committee.  She has long experience as director of the US Committee for KEEP, the Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project, a program in Japan that now has substantial work in Philippines.  She has just finished a 6-year term on Executive Council, serving on its International Concerns Committee, and she has served on the Covenant Committee for the Diocese of Liberia.  So her experience includes both the DFMS side and the voluntary society side of the church’s mission work, including one of the two major mission networks, and she knows something of both Asia and Africa.

Heather Payton has also served on the Liberia Covenant Committee, and she was very involved in the planning and implementation of Everyone Everywhere, the churchwide world mission conference held in June 2008.

This posting will be updated when the officers of the commission are announced, usually as a result of an internal discussion of the commission.  Past chairs have included: the Hon. Martha Alexander, 2007-09; Ms. Helena Mbele-Mbong, 2004-06; the Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler, 2001-03; the Rt. Rev. William Skilton, 1998-2000; the Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, 1995-07.  I had the privilege of serving the commission for 9 years: 1998-2003 as a member, the first three as secretary, and then being liaison from Executive Council for an additional three years, 2004-06.

Click here for the list of commissions, from which you can select the PDF of SCWM’s membership, with phone numbers and e-addresses.  I’m sure the members will be happy to hear interests and concerns from those in the church at large.

Update on SCWM Officers: The Rev. Heather Payton was elected to chair the commission.  Ms. Sandra McPhee was elected vice chair, and Mr. Bert Jones was elected secretary.

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