The Diocese has adopted this 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. This policy will help strengthen the ties that bind us together and enable us to increase the ways in which we collectively participate in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation.
Scripture tells us: “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’” (2 Cor 8:13-16)
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (Matt 19:21)
Our Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence as the Body of Christ
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.
Our Mutual Accountability and Responsibility
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 purpose of this policy is to remind all of the congregations that together constitute the Diocese of Southern Ohio of our common obligations for mutual support, justice, reconciliation and encouragement among congregations in meeting those obligations.