Rebecca Wilson writes for House of Deputies News:
It’s the time of year when just two words—parochial report—can drive many parish leaders into fits of frustration. This annual report, which summarizes each parish’s membership, attendance, and budget, was due to the Episcopal Church’s offices in New York by March 1.
The format of the report, which is authorized by Executive Council and approved by the House of Deputies Committee on the State of the Church, isn’t frustrating because it is complicated. Rather, says Deputy Eric Metoyer, a member of this triennium’s State of the Church committee, the parochial report raises the ire of parish leaders because it doesn’t ask for data that reflects the ministry of many congregations.
“This is a particular issue for multi-cultural congregations, says Metoyer, associate for congregational ministries in the Diocese of California. “They tend to be places with decline or facing gentrification, and places that are doing urban ministry. If you have a congregation with an ASA [average Sunday attendance] of 50, but they’re seeing 300 to 400 people through the doors each month because of feeding programs, after-school programs and yoga, there’s no way to capture that on the parochial report.”
The parochial report’s format is just one of the issues under consideration by the State of the Church committee between now and 2018. This triennium, President Gay Clark Jennings gave the committee a more specific charge than it has had in recent years.