Meet the Deputation: The Rev. Paul Lebens-Englund
Name: Paul Lebens-Englund
Faith Community: Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Mpls
Where/how you serve: Priest, Dean
Number of General Conventions attended: 4 (2022 is 5th)
Official role(s) at General Convention: Seminary representative; Deputy
1) Why did you choose to serve as a deputy to General Convention and what do you hope to accomplish or experience there?
I’ve always been fascinated by our practice of the legislative process as a discernment discipline – what can seem cold and mechanical is actually deeply prayerful and revelatory – articulating ‘the mind and will of the Church’ through the push and pull of proposal, debate, and decision. At this time of significant change and high anxiety in the Church, I hope to bring a calm, thoughtful, hopeful, and courageous presence to the floor. And I know, too, my own hope and courage will be expanded by time in the presence of other faithful Episcopalians, all of us asking (and tentatively answering) together: What would God have us be and do now?
2) What gifts and passions do you bring to this ministry? How has serving in this way transformed you?
I love God and the Church, so bring wonder when they’re at odds and delight when they align. I’m specifically passionate about how large systems best utilize shared resources to support research & development, practical innovation, and strategic long-term change. And, amidst the allure of mission creep, I’m always mindful of keeping the main thing the main thing – calling and forming disciples for the transformation of the world.
3) How do you see the work of General Convention connecting to the ministry of ECMN?
General Convention articulates our shared priorities, which gives dioceses a larger perspective in which to understand our own opportunities and challenges. The gift of this networked Church is that we sometimes raise our concerns to others, and sometimes others raise their concerns to us, and together we discern both how the whole church collectively responds AND how each diocese uniquely responds. Discipleship – Innovation – Justice – Vitality: four priorities to which we’re universally committed and locally engaged.