The Living Church published a disturbing piece on the frequent use of closed door sessions at the recent Executive Council meeting. Read it HERE.
I was particularly struck by the following:
"When committees met in the afternoon, six more topics were deemed
inappropriate for discussion in open session. Four of them arose in the
World Missions Committee, although only three were identified prior to
closing the doors.
“I do think that Cuba, the Mexico Covenant discussion, and the
Province IX sustainability plan, including the recent Province IX
council meeting and the appointment of the task force — I do think those
are more sensitive,” said World Missions Committee Chair Karen
Longenecker of the Diocese of Rio Grande. “I do think it’s a good idea
to go into executive session.”
session remained closed for three hours as the committee addressed
those topics as well as one that wasn’t announced. Executive Council’s
bylaws require topics of discussion to be disclosed prior to entering
The reporter for TLC listed what the Chair gave as the topics to be covered. It is hard to tell if there were three, one with inclusions, or four. But in either event the reporter believes there was another topic raised. One wonders just what that was.
The fact that matters are "sensitive" is not sufficient reason for the discussion in committees to be in executive session. Some subjects may very well be controversial, alarming, confusing or otherwise difficult, but that is no reason for them to be discussed behind closed doors. In fact just the opposite.
Very few of us not on Council have any sense of what happens there except insofar as reports come from members of Council itself or from observers. It is important to some of us that we have a sense of what it is that Executive Council is discussing. Effectively no one outside Executive Council has any idea what the World Mission Committee is discussing re Cuba, Mexico or Province IX. More, it seems that a different topic, the subject itself not announced, was taken up. Where did that information come from, and why wasn't the source able to say what the topic was?
So what the hell is going on here? Closed sessions breed suspicion, not clarity.
Apparently Executive Council has come to the conclusion that its business is its business only, and not the business of the whole church. Apparently EC believes we outsiders don't need to know what they are thinking, talking about, or doing.
They are wrong.