The Episcopal Church has announced an innovative missionary program to strengthen the collaborative connection between dioceses and staff. The Diocesan Partnership Program was by the Church's Chief Operating Officer, the Rt Revd Stacy Sauls, who said: "Our Episcopal Church yearns for connection: our people want to be connected, our leaders are looking for opportunities to be connected."
As chief operating officer, Bishop Sauls co-ordinates the work of the Church’s mission programme, communication, finance and administration duties; and assists the Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori in her role as Chief Executive Officer.
The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (DFMS) will offer resources to dioceses and congregations to help make connections. "The purpose and goals are twofold: to make resources available at the local level; and to build networks and partnerships to connect people across geography," Bishop Sauls said. "This is an exciting venture with enormous potential to invigorate the life of the Church."
The DFMS will work to connect the Church across a vast geographical area in 16 countries through Virtual Regional Offices. The Virtual Regional Offices, consisting of representatives of DFMS staff from formation, diversity, congregational and diocesan ministries, global partnerships, government relations, Episcopal migration ministries,development, and communications.
“The Diocesan Partnership Representatives will connect the dioceses and provinces within their regions with mission efforts at the most local level in partnership with the local bishop, clergy, and lay leaders,” Bishop Sauls said. "They will be ambassadors, consultants, links and colleagues in mission with those on the ground, bringing a global perspective to local action, visible reminders that all of us are connected, that each has need of all the others in the service of Christ’s reconciling mission in the world.
“We are embarking on a concerted effort in supporting the children, women, and men of The Episcopal Church in engaging God’s mission – to reconcile all of us to each other and to God in the love of Jesus Christ. It is a vision worthy of a Missionary Society for the 21st century.
"The effort before us is to connect the many parts of our Church and most especially to build partnerships and connections between its many parts by using the resources available to come together at the church-wide level as The Missionary Society.”
Bishop Sauls said that he was confident that the initiatives, which begin in September, "will strengthen the mission and ministry of The Episcopal church at all levels and in all places.”