10/15/2009

Appointments to Standing Commissions, Committees, Boards and Agencies.

Following each General Convention the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies are charged to make appointments to the various Standing Commissions, Committees, Boards and Agencies, known as CCAB's. People interested in serving let the Presiding Officers know by various means and at some point they work it all out and the list is posted. The list is now available on the General Convention web site HERE.

You ought to read through these. Lots of friends there, lots of unknowns. There has been quite a turn over. In particular the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance has been completely changed save for five bishops. A brief survey of several of the others indicates that there are some hold-overs but a majority are new.

This is all of course good news and bad. (How could it be otherwise?) The good news is that particularly in difficult or challenging times fresh ideas and eyes are a great advantage, giving the possibility of not repeating the same old same-old as something innovative. The bad news is that it is hard to keep a collective memory when the memory is lost.

The power of appointment is one of the few tools the Presiding Officers have to work some creative possibilities in the governance system of The Episcopal Church. I know a great deal of thought goes into these appointments. But because these appointments offer one of the few "goodies" in a system of governance that is mostly voluntary, being on one of these CCAB's is both an honor, offers the possibility of ministry on a different level than usual, and gives the appointee the chance to meet people from across the Church. So getting on or not getting on becomes something elating or disappointing. In addition, of course, if one is on a CCAB, enjoys the work, has done good and faithful service, it is disheartening to find that one is not reappointed.

As a result when this or that person is not appointed, or fails to be reappointed, all sorts of reasons begin to appear, some of them only narrowly rational. Conspiracy theories crop up and impugn the faithfulness of the Presiding Officers efforts. Just plain puzzlement arises. The first six months following a General Convention are a time of readjustment and hopefully revitalization. All of that can be shorted out by casting doubts on the appointment process itself.

But we are all professionals, yes? Wise as serpents and innocent as doves. We know perfectly well that in the hands of some the appointment power could be misused. We also know that, in spite of that and anything else, the power to appoint is secondary to God's working a will that is, let us say, on a grander scale. It may be that God is too busy with the big scene to care much about appointments to CCAB's, but you never know. Occasionally prophets appear there, just as they do anywhere.

Stay tuned.

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