ACC’s inaugural gathering in Detroit was more than a conference. It was a deliberative body that adopted the Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities, unquestionably ACC’s “flagship” accomplishment that will continue to inform its unfolding mission. Some of you have asked if we would convene similar gatherings of the Council in the future. Though there is no such gathering planned at this time, we do recognize that what happened in Detroit in June of 2011 might serve as a prototype of a forthcoming Council gathering in the mold of a national deliberative Synod of the Laity. And so, Yes, we can imagine future “conventions” of the American Catholic Council in years coming, and possibly regional gatherings “along the way” to nurture the grassroots. But all that is purely speculative at this time and in need of ongoing discernment.
With over 4000 of you on our email list and over 1400 in the Assemblies Community Network, we have laid the foundation for a grassroots model of Church Reform. If we have credibility, it is because those of you in the grassroots have so given it!
ACC might be described as a mirror of the Church Reform Movement in the Grassroots in the broadest sense, reflecting the ethos of diverse expressions of reform, in multiple dimensions and across multiple communities and reform organizations, each with their distinct charism and mission. And so we embrace the fullness of that and welcome all who share the unifying vision that was so clearly articulated in Detroit when we celebrated the promise of Vatican II.
And so, we have opted to sustain a minimal organizational infrastructure as we chart the future. We maintain no national office, we are not in the business of annual conferences (though we treasure and support our sister groups who provide that important resource), and we are not a membership-based organization. We move forward on our innovative working projects while listening to the stirrings of the Spirit as she unfolds in these extraordinary times and communicating them via our monthly newsletter. All of the initiatives in the right column have taken root because of YOU who have breathed life into these actions as we respond in efforts to actualize them for broader consumption
The Council in Detroit did pay for itself, even allowing to us to make contributions to several local social justice ministries, as well as partial reimbursement of seed monies from several Council planners. The remaining funds have gotten us this far, and will likely be exhausted by the end of 2012. We had promised to withhold requests for funding until we had a clear vision of our short-term future initiatives. Well, we are at a point to say, “It’s time!”
And so, we now come to you for support. Though we continue to rely substantially on donated time and expertise from many, we have need to sustain a “bare bones” budget to meet minimal administrative and project-related costs. Only two of the initial planners are receiving monthly stipends, graciously accepting a way below market fee for their extraordinary dedication and commitment to the cause.
Our goal: $35,000 by September 30th. We believe this is a modest goal and we are resolute in keeping it modest in this challenging economy. We are counting on you!
Respectfully, in the hope of a renewed Church, born of the Spirit of Vatican II …
–ACC National Planning Committee