Nevada Cuts Assessment

The Rt. Rev. Dan Thomas Edwards, Bishop of Nevada, announces a new way of handling finances in the diocese:

Sometimes as we have talked about money in the past, diocesan staff and governance sounded judgmental and suspicious, reminding me a bit of tax collectors. Meanwhile some parishes have engaged in creative accounting to keep their resources for themselves — often in ways that reflect selfishness and lack of integrity. But if the Diocese is trying to collect more than a parish can pay, is it any surprise that parishes resort to devious practices? If parishes resort to devious practices, is it any surprise that diocesan staff and governance should grow suspicious? The trust it takes to be a community or work for a common mission is missing on both sides. That’s what worries me.

After five years of watching the Episcopal Church in Nevada struggling under this burden of distrust, I suggested an experiment to the Standing Committee and they are going along with it. Call us crazy but we are going to try Christianity. We are going to try faith, trust, compassion, mercy. We are going to try a morality rooted in Deuteronomy and coming to full flower in the Sermon on the Mount. We start with faith — not as much faith in God as faith in each other. We are going to believe in the people in the pews and their local leaders.

We begin with something like unilateral disarmament. We cut diocesan expenses to the bone before I got here. We have now cut them to the marrow and are still just getting by with the 25% assessment. But we are taking the first steps anyway. It’s called stepping out in faith.

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