The staff at our church headquarters likes to claim that “openness” and “transparency” are core values. But you will recall that’s not always the case.
You will remember how I have railed at the super-duper-secret panel that Bishop Henry Nutt Parsley appointed to study same-sex relationships until 2011. I was ticked that yet-another committee had been created for what I think will be the tenth or eleventh study of this matter in TEC. But what I found most outrageous was that +Parsley tried to keep their identities secret, claiming they need to operate in secret in order to exercise “academic freedom.” Pretty much everyone recognized that was a crock. To my knowledge, this was the first time a TEC group had been created with a secret membership. I did my best to reveal those names.
Now Katie Sherrod – God bless her! – has filed a resolution before GC that would outlaw this kind of sneakiness once and for all.
Here is the text of D045.
Title: Committee Member Transparency
Topic: Committees and Commissions
Committee: 06 - Structure
House of Initial Action: Deputies
Proposer: Ms. Katie Sherrod
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th General Convention direct that the membership of all committees, subcommittees, task forces and panels elected or appointed by any body or leader of throughout The Episcopal Church (including, but not limited to, the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops, the Executive Council, Standing Commissions, Committees, Agencies and Boards of The Episcopal Church and their respective Presiding Officers and Chairs) be publicly available within 30 days after election or appointment.
The Episcopal Church should model in its governance and life the transparency and openness all Christians are called to demonstrate. Our Baptismal Covenant calls us to seek Christ in all people and to respect the dignity of every human being. Transparency in our dealings with one another is one way human dignity is respected. Conversely, secrecy is destructive of human dignity and of our common life. Making public the names of persons elected or appointed to any body charged to work in Christ's name for the good of the Church serves the Church's health and promotes trust in one another.
Do what you can to advocate for the passage of D045. No more secret committees/panels in TEC, which claims to be open and transparent!