Help for World Mission

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The Rev. Titus Presler, a veteran of world mission, writes about General Convention reviving the Standing Commission on World Mission, but without any funding:

[T]he resolution was adopted by both the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, so Resolution A208 is an official action of convention. But: the $90,000 requested to fund the commission — travel and meeting expenses — was not included in the budget adopted by convention. The net result is that as of right now there will be no Standing Commission on World Mission.

How can this happen? you might ask. One could say that convention agreed that an SCWM would be helpful and useful, but in all the horse-trading that goes on among various priorities, not everything can be funded. Moreover, the Program, Budget & Finance Committee explained that in its budgetary deliberations it rejected numerous requests to reestablish various standing commissions both because funds are limited and because it felt it should honor the streamlining decisions of the 2015 General Convention. That is a reasonable argument, and I respect it. The continuing membership decline of the Episcopal Church has financial consequences, one of which is we can no longer afford the generously funded structures to which we had become accustomed.

So what now? There may still be an effort to secure funding for the SCWM that was approved in principle. Equally important, the Global Episcopal Mission Network — the church’s voluntary and freestanding network of mission-activist dioceses, congregations, mission organizations, seminaries and individuals — is well positioned to provide much of the overview and envisioning that an SCWM would be tasked to do.

GEMN’s membership is substantial and growing. Its annual conference is a major networking event for global mission, with speakers and workshop leaders who are recognized churchwide. Its website ( provides a wealth of resources, and its Mission Formation Program is well respected. GEMN submitted a number of resolutions to this General Convention, and that advocacy role will grow. GEMN hosted the Global Mission Reception at this convention, reviving the World Mission Reception that the Church Center used to host in the 1980s and 1990s, and about 150 people attended this inaugural event. As president of GEMN and a former SCWM chair, I believe it is possible for GEMN to offer much that SCWM used to provide. We don’t have a canonical role, but the current and future energy of the church is increasingly found in networks such as GEMN. So I am hopeful.

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