Council Wrestles with Budget

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council has approved additional funds for the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding BishopMeeting in Linthicum, Maryland, June 8-10, council continued to prepare a 2016-18 budget and to survey bishops and deputies on possible consequences for dioceses that do not pay the requested 19 percent for the work of the Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Susan Snook of Arizona said the Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission’s subcommittee on the budget wants to “engage the church in a discussion of the fact that not all dioceses meet their full asking percentage formula.”

A table on the Episcopal Church’s website listing diocesan commitments and payments indicates that just 41 of the 110 dioceses pledged 19 percent or more for 2013.

“Susan is absolutely right when she says that in one sense there are absolutely no consequences to non-payment in the sense that there are no penalties, but there are huge consequences to not paying the asking,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of Ohio. “The consequences are that we are not able to do the work that God has proffered for us to do in the ways that we envision doing it productively in the church, so it is a really important discussion for us to have.”

Members of the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop requested an additional $100,000 to fulfill responsibilities General Convention added to the committee last year. Convention increased the committee’s membership to 29 and asked the committee to allow for any bishop or deputy “to express the intent to nominate any other member of the House of Bishops from the floor when the committee presents its nominees to the joint session of the two Houses.”

Council asked Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, to a appoint a committee to work with the nominating committee on the transition in leadership.

Council awarded seven grants from the Constable Fund. Council received 22 requests equal to more than $1 million. The total amount approved from the fund was $535,000. The largest amount approved was a $130,000 request to assist the Diocese of Haiti in establishing a network of three radio stations.

Council elected Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, a former council member from the Diocese of the Virgin Islands, to serve as the Episcopal Church’s lay representative on the Anglican Consultative Council. The term will last for the next three meetings of the ACC, which meets every two to three years.

Council agreed to increase financial assistance to Episcopalians in the dioceses of San Joaquin and South Carolina. In response to a request from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, council agreed to an additional $300,000 line of credit. A similar request for $785,000 from the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin was also approved.

Steve Waring

Image: The Rev. Gay Jennings, joined by the Rev. Deacon Terry Star, celebrates the Eucharist during Executive Council’s meeting in Maryland. Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service photo

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