The draft budget for the Episcopal Church in the 2019-21 triennium is available for online review. Executive Council approved the draft budget at its January meeting.

The draft budget is now submitted to the General Convention through the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance, which will meet Feb. 5-7 to consider the draft budget.  That committee will conduct hearings at General Convention and present a final budget to a joint meeting of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies on July 11.

Before its January meeting, Executive Council received comments on the draft budget from a wide range of church members and leaders.

Tess Judge, chair of Executive Council’s Finances for Mission Committee, said the draft budget is based on the Jesus Movement, under the headings of Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation and Justice, and Environmental Stewardship. It includes allocations for the ministry of the Presiding Bishop presiding bishop, mission inside and beyond the Episcopal Church, and governance, legal, financial, operations.

“While budgets in the current and prior triennia were built to reflect the Five Marks of Mission, the Jesus Movement format reflects how the staff is organized, by department, rather than spread across Five Marks and other areas as in the past,” said the Rev. Mally Ewing Lloyd, chair of Finances for Mission Committee Budget Subcommittee. “Lines of communication, reporting, collaboration, and budget creation are clearer.”

“You can’t just look at one item in the Five Marks Budget, then look at a line with the same name in the Jesus Movement budget, and assume they are the same,” Judge said.  “It’s like comparing apples/oranges in many cases.”

Draft budget highlights

  • Income and expenses are balanced at approximately $133.7 million each, with a modest surplus of $2,654.
  • Diocesan assessments are based on a commitment rate required by General Convention beginning Jan. 1, 2019, of 15 percent of net operating income after an annual exemption of $140,000.
  • Support is limited to 5 percent annual draws from the available trust funds because the extra draws taken during 2016-18 are unwise and unsustainable.
  • The Development Office will conduct annual appeals to raise $1,000,000 to fund ministries in the operating budget.
  • $1 million of short-term reserves that were approved but not used during the 2016-18 triennium will be used for continuing work of racial reconciliation.
  • Expense categories for the 2019-21 budget do not perfectly correspond with the Five Marks budget categories so comparisons of expense totals between the triennial budgets are difficult.
  • Total spending on churchwide ministry is, however, increased by nearly 9 percent.

Adapted from the Office of Public Affairs