In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Chapter 12, St. Paul outlines what it means for the church to be the Body of Christ in the world. Just as the human body is an integrated, inter-dependent system, so also is the church. And in that same chapter, St. Paul makes it clear that:
- no part of the body can reject another part without sacrificing its own integrity
- every member must support the work of the other parts for the body to work the way God designed it.
“Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” (I Cor. 12:21)
So it is in the life of our diocese. Each member congregation brings a special gift to the life and work of the diocese, and each congregation requires the support and gifts of the other members of the diocesan body to become most fully the organic Eucharistic community that God desires for us to be. This being true, our life together in the Diocese of Southern Ohio requires us to be mutually accountable, one to another, not only for the welfare of our brothers and sisters but also to build up our local eucharistic communities as the Body of Christ in faithfulness to God’s mission.
The Episcopal Church lives within the Anglican tradition of catholicity, under the oversight of bishops, as opposed to a congregational system of independent congregations. Our local eucharistic communities are interdependent. There are huge benefits of being part of our diocese – In giving we share and receive empathy, healing, support, advice, fellowship, professional and spiritual wisdom, companions for the journey. We are not complete without each other.
The diocese has adopted its Mission Share policy in the interest of promoting our common life in service to God’s mission as the Diocese of Southern Ohio reflective of the bounty with which God has blessed us.
At its April 8, 2017 meeting, Diocesan Council reviewed and revised the Diocese of Southern Ohio’s Mission Share Review Policy and Process. The main changes to the updated policy include:
Congregations are considered to be in good standing by keeping their mission share payments current. Those congregations are granted:
- Preference for appointments to diocesan committees and councils at the discretion at the bishop(s)
- Eligibility to seek grants and loans from the diocesan-wide resources
- Permission to move forward in a search for a rector or appointment of an assistant/associate
Conversely, congregations whose mission share payments for the previous year are not paid by June 30 of the current year will not be eligible for these benefits. Once the congregation’s payments are up to date, eligibility will be immediately reinstated.
In addition, a congregation that has not paid its full mission share from the previous year by June 30 of the current year “shall be denied Lay representation at the [current] year’s Diocesan Convention” as stipulated in the Diocesan Constitution and Canons.