[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Chief Operating Officer Bishop Stacy Sauls has announced an innovative missionary program designed to connect dioceses and staff in a collaborative manner: The Diocesan Partnership Program.
“Our Episcopal Church yearns for connection,” Bishop Sauls explained. “Our people want to be connected. Our leaders are looking for opportunities to be connected. Through the Diocesan Partnership Representatives, the DFMS (Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society) staff can assist in connecting and offering resources to our dioceses and congregations.”
The purpose and goals of the Diocesan Partnership Program are twofold: to make resources available at the local level; and to build networks and partnerships to connect people across geography.
“This is an exciting venture with enormous potential to invigorate the life of the Church,” Bishop Sauls pointed out.
The Diocesan Partnership Representatives are DFMS staff members who will work together to connect the Church across a vast geographical area in 16 countries through Virtual Regional Offices. The Virtual Regional Offices, Bishop Sauls said, “will consist of representatives of DFMS staff from Formation, Diversity, Congregational and Diocesan Ministries, Global Partnerships, Government Relations, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Development, and Communications.”
A Diocesan Partnership Representative has been assigned to each diocese in The Episcopal Church.
“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 noted. “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.”
The new initiative will kick off in September.
The Diocesan Partnership Program is a component of a refocusing effort aimed to partner with ministries on the local level. Looking at the DFMS efforts as The Missionary Society, Bishop Sauls furthered, “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 churchwide level as The Missionary Society.”
He concluded, “I am confident that these new initiatives will strengthen the mission and ministry of The Episcopal church on all levels and in all places.”