By Zachary Guiliano

The Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance has been working through roughly 400 lines of the budget, “unpacking” each line, said Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine, the committee’s vice chairman.

The committee has also been considering more than 300 resolutions that may change the budget.

“It’s a balanced budget without mistakes,” Bishop Lane said. The difficulty now is to keep it balanced, as the committee considers the resolutions that are being passed and testimony from bishops and deputies.

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The committee held its first public hearings Friday evening. Testimony was scheduled to continue until 9 p.m., but few people showed up to listen or to speak.

A major concern of many was increasing the commitment of dioceses to paying their assessed amounts.

“Tonight we listened to the church,” Bishop Lane said. “What we heard, I think, is a desire for full participation.”

Bishop Mariann Budde of Washington said she has served in parishes that did not pay their “full asking” and that the Diocese of Washington was not doing so when she arrived. She faced similar problems with receiving assessments from parishes in her diocese.

“The first thing we had to do was become honest about what we were doing,” she said. “There was also this huge gap; there was no sense of ownership or joy or accountability from [the] diocese to the parishes.”

Bishop Budde noted a need to convince parishes and dioceses “that their precious dollars were better invested in the Episcopal Church than … back home.”

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