A Deputy Looks Ahead

By Douglas LeBlanc

Ted Mollegen, a veteran deputy to General Convention, has released a 66-page presentation that urges the Episcopal Church to develop a grand strategy for its future health.

Mollegen has participated in 11 meetings of General Convention, whether as a deputy or an alternate deputy from the Diocese of Connecticut. His strategy urges efforts to reverse numerical decline, attract more money for development, and improve the church’s mission.

“The restructuring planned for [General Convention] 2015 won’t turn around TEC’s negative growth trend — unless it incorporates the church growth/redevelopment principles of this document,” Mollegen writes. “Cost-cutting is clearly necessary for TEC, but it basically consists of treating only the results of decline, not the root causes. TEC needs to find and counter the root causes of decline, while concurrently taking action to get positive growth going again.”

He is comparably blunt about the need for parishes to offer basic Christian education:

“A good approach is to use church growth principles to get people into the congregation and then teach them an appreciation for true Anglicanism. This is much more than teaching people who theologically are still Baptists how to use Prayer Books. You haven’t completed the job until you’ve taught them what the bible really is, and how to react to it with intellectual integrity. Teach them about the [B]ible, not just what’s in it. Otherwise they are likely to interpret it as though it were a 20th-Century history book and/or God’s behavior manual.”

Mollegen is critical of churches that have broken away from the Episcopal Church, but he also endorses peaceful solutions to property disputes, and looks toward the day when some individuals who left may return.

Mollegen distributed the document through the House of Bishops and Deputies email list. His full report appears here with his permission. It is available as a PowerPoint file through his website.

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