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EPGM disbands after 21 years of service to the Episcopal mission community

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission (EPGM) has announced that it will officially disband as a mission networking organization serving the Episcopal Church, according to an Oct. 15 news release.

The decision to disband was made at EPGM's annual meeting, held at the Everyone Everywhere 2011 conference in Estes Park, Colorado, and approved by consensus of the attending membership organizations, the release said.

EPGM began in 1990 as the Episcopal Council for Global Mission (ECGM). It was renamed in 1999 when its structural organizing plan was approved by Executive Council. General Convention adopted the plan in 2000.

Financial issues due to loss of funding from the 2009 General Convention and loss of membership contributed to the decision to disband, according to the release.

"Budget issues for EPGM were accelerated in 2009 when funding from General Convention was lost because of declining resources," EPGM steering committee member Jesse Zink of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts said during the meeting, according to the release. "This was clearly part of a larger financial trend. Needs and causes do not disappear, but organizations do. And this requires new ways of thinking."

Former EPGM convener Titus Presler wrote in his history of the organization, "Networking for global mission has made major contributions to the world mission of the Episcopal Church. The vision of networking in world mission is itself a gift."

According to the release, some of the major accomplishments of EPGM include:

• compilation of a set of sending standards for mission groups, unique in the Anglican Communion;

• implementation of a peer review process among sending agencies;

• consultations that resulted in the Standing Commission on World Mission's vision statement for the church's world mission in a new century, Companions in Transformation, presented to the 2003 General Convention;

• a meeting place for those of differing theological viewpoints;

• a focus on persecuted Christians throughout the world;

• four guiding covenants that honored partnerships in mission, theological diversity, extension of the church among unreached peoples, and sharing of mission information to encourage cooperation and discourage unhealthy competitive attitudes in the world mission field.

More than 60 organizations were members of EPGM in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The process of disbanding, which will take several months, will be overseen by the current steering committee, the release said.

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