Dear Members and Friends of Gathering the NeXt Generation (GTNG):
In 1997 it was noted that out of more than 7,000 clergy in the Episcopal Church, less than 300 were members of Generation X (at that time, under 35 years old). Four Generation X clergy came together and conceived of a gathering of Generation X clergy. Held in June 1998, that Gathering the NeXt Generation (GTNG) became first a clergy support organization, then an organization composed of both GenX clergy and laity. Some of you no doubt remember that first gathering at Virginia Seminary, with the then relatively newly elected Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold in attendance. GTNG made quite a splash in the first four years of our existence (1998-2002), culminating in a second gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana in June 2002 which, though fun, resulted in the substantial loss of money (now repaid) as well as the beginning of a slow decline of focus, energy, and initiative.
The e-mail lists have been in existence for more than seven years, having begun as earlier lists on a private server. Through the ebb and flow of time and energy by the Core Team and others, the lists have been the sustaining and binding force keeping Episcopal GenXers in communication with one another. To a greater or lesser extent, GTNG programs and initiatives have arisen out of this list. For a while, the GTNG web site was a portal to various GTNG-linked (and sometimes generated) initiatives, but several years ago our server crashed and burned, destroying the site. With an inactive web site and no face-to-face meetings, GTNG has become essentially a e-mail based cyber-community with little other than our online conversation. While we do have a current web site (www.gtng.org) it is not nearly as active or useful as it could be.
Last year I asked the Core Team for the opportunity to resurrect GTNG as an organization and begin to rebuild it. I believed then, and believe now, that GTNG still has a vital role to play in supporting Generation X Episcopalians (both clergy and lay), even as some of us begin to move into midlife and have left "young adulthood" far behind. We are still a small generation, now sandwiched between two huge generations -- Boomers and Millennials. Mike Kinman, the only one of the original four to have remained active in GTNG, has remarked that perhaps we as a generation are called to prepare the way in the church for the next generation (the Millennials) in contrast to the distinct lack of preparation that was done for us by the previous generation (the Boomers). That may indeed be the case. I personally tend to think of Xers as a "bridge" generation, vital to the strength of the church but relatively few in number. In short, I believe that GTNG still has a mission to support Episcopal members of Generation X as we seek to live out our generational calling in the church and in the world.
With all of that as a preamble, I am asking for your assistance. We are at a crossroads as far as GTNG is concerned. We can, indeed, continue to exist as a collection of e-mail lists and nothing more. My preference, however, is to broaden GTNG to include an active web site (essentially a GenX "cyber-church"), a presence at the next General Convention (2009), and a place for new (or old) initiatives to begin while keeping and strengthening the e-mail lists we have.
With that in mind, I am asking for volunteers that would be willing to serve one, two, or three year terms as Core Team members in one of three roles:
1) Web Site "Cyber-Church" Planters (2 people) who would expand the web site and sustain it;
2) E-mail List Owners (2 people) who would be responsible for the oversight and care of the e-mail lists; and
3) Infrastructure and Initiative folks (2 people) who would be willing to be both the caretakers of GTNG, Inc. as an organization and spearhead any potential initiatives. While the entire Core Team would function as the Board of Directors of GTNG, Inc., these last two people would keep track of the nuts and bolts of the organization, including the recruitment of new Core Team members and the re-establishment of our relationship with the wider church.
As the Core Team is currently composed of six members, the above roles would fill the Core Team. We can expand the number of members as we wish.
Ideally, we would like to have a balance of clergy and laity, but of more concern to me is that anyone who volunteers for any of the above roles has both the time (at least three to four hours a month) and the skills to make a real contribution to this organization. If you are interested in serving on the Core Team, please contact me or leave a response to this post and I will pass your name along to the current Core Team who will make the final selection. our Annual Core Team Meeting will take place in the next week or two and we should have a final slate selected and elected by the end of this month.
Thank you for reading this rather lengthy letter. I look forward to a positive response. Once we have a solid, committed, and available Core Team, we will be in a much better position to receive suggestions
regarding the future direction of GTNG.
The Reverend Tom Sramek, Jr.
President, Gathering the NeXt Generation (GTNG)