Dear Order Members,
Joe began each session with "In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost". (And we all said ‘amen’.)
I have read all the responses to David’s document #2. I am concerned that there are not more responses, but perhaps there are a number of people processing what their response will be. Or perhaps it is an indication that we really are not interested any more, for a variety of reasons, including age, alienation, or just better things to do than worry about ICA’s immediate past or long-range future.
In the interest of full disclosure, Ken and I left the ICA in 1989, and have pursued a life since then which we hope has been consistent with the values and beliefs of the Order Ecumenical. We have participated economically in ICA from time to time, but not on a regular basis. We have been aware of the struggles of our colleagues in Denver to establish an ICA presence here, and have supported their efforts by our prayers and (very) limited participation. So perhaps you could say we don’t have a dog in this hunt.
However, I have never been unwilling to express opinions.
The first is that I do not think that as the Order Ecumenical in dispersion (the Movemental Order), we are under any obligation to support or assist the ICA in any way. The Order created ICA and without the Order, ICA has no reason to continue in existence. (I’ll get to EI further on.) I am aware that ICA has been an umbrella 501(C)3 for many of the continuing programmatic ventures that "old" Order colleagues have launched, and for that we are grateful and some have lived through it. I also remember well that the ICA USA Board barred a number of us from using the name ICA Associates a number of years ago. I got clear then that the separation of ICA and OE had widened into a gulf that could not be bridged. The rest just took time.
I would suggest to the ICA Board of Directors or Betty Pesek as the Archivist, approach Boston University, in Boston, Mass, whose president emeritus is John Silber, an old colleague and teacher with Joe Mathews at Perkins, about the possibility of housing of Joe’s archives at Boston University. Bishop Mathews might be of assistance if he is able. The other possibility would be to see if Perkins School of Theology might be interested in these archives. That would relieve all of us of an immense burden of caring for these materials.
The ICA Board needs to make a decision about the Kemper Building if indeed it is their decision to make. A scenario (without knowing anything about the legal structures surrounding ICA/EI) would be to sell the building, thus relieving the Order of a white elephant. The agreement would be that ICA would not make any money directly from this sale, but the proceeds would be split between the Ecumenical Institute and the pension funds of Order Ecumenical retirees. This would replenish the funds that ICA borrowed from EI/OE to launch hdps. This would result in the ICA Board no longer having a reason for existence and could/should declare itself out of business; but Ecumenical Institute would be able to elect its own board of directors and redefine a mission. Their funds might be designated to grants for programs that would be compatible with a mission statement. I can’t imagine that there would not be several million dollars to invest and spread around in this fashion. I can’t imagine another reason for ICA Board of Directors to continue to operate as they have little grassroots base amd most of it is now beyond reclamation.
This leaves us with the Order in dispersion. When I receive the directory each year I sit down and read it cover to cover looking at what people are doing. I am always astounded at how much social change is represented by the work each of us does. This work goes on every day and involves more people than we could ever count, in offices, seminars, churches, casual encounters. Much of it never has carried the name ICA. What a gift we have been to this world through our theological understanding, our use of the social process methods, the spirit methods, the corporate methods that we bring to every situation we are in. I appreciated Bill Alerding’s comment that "we are no longer united to a corporate mission. I wonder if there is a corporate mission that has been out there but unnamed.
I was on the team that organized the 2000 Reunion in Vail. I hesitate to bring this up, but it would be an amazing gift to gather as many of us as will to write a document that describes the differences we have made as the Movemental Order on this continent and how our experiences have sustained us over the past twenty or thirty years. It should be in the Midwest, easy for everyone to get to, (Minneapolis or Chicago suburbs) several days long, and those who come should be prepared to share what they have been doing to further the work of the Order in their own place. This, if you recall, was the task of permeators in religious houses across the world, and it has not changed. The focus might be on Movemental Order, and outcomes might include rituals, prayers, songs, and a document that we could use in any way we found appropriate. Or we might even decide it was good enough to publish.
Grace and peace to all of us. (And our response is?) Clare Whitney, Order member since 1970.