L.A. Bishop Rethinks Corp Sole

Bishop John H. Taylor | Diocese of Los Angeles

In the All Saints issue of The Episcopal News of the Diocese of Los Angeles, Bishop John H. Taylor discusses multiple problems with Corporation Sole, which the diocese has relied on since its founding in 1901. “Reforming Corp Sole for the glory of God” appears under the standing head of From the Bishop.

Taylor writes of the financial tool:

  • “First, it puts enormous pressure on the bishop to keep the checkbook charged by liquidating irreplaceable assets, especially real estate. …
  • “Second, using Corp Sole funds (and also those from Corporation of the Diocese) to support core ministries prevents the people of God from understanding what it really costs to run the diocese. …
  • “Third, we have been expending capital that will be hard to replenish. As of Oct. 1, Corp Sole’s cash assets were about $7.9 million. About $1.6 million was unrestricted. The remaining $6.3 million is in a restricted fund, with proceeds to be used for the “poor and needy.” Since the 2019 budget will require $1.9 million in Corp Sole grants, we’ll soon have to borrow from those restricted funds. …

Bishop Taylor does not blame his predecessor for the problems:

Prior bishops’ spending from Corp Sole touched virtually every aspect of our diocese’s life. They used the funds to act quickly and to address people’s confidential needs. Bishop J. Jon Bruno supported many urgently needed ministries and projects for which Mission Share Fund and other resources weren’t available, such as the Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service. To remain open for worship, several of our churches rely on Corp Sole support. All in all, his discerning, Holy Spirit-driven investments served and lifted up untold thousands of our siblings in Christ and our communities.

And he concludes with a bold proposal:

As we set our campaign goals together, make no mistake. We will raise all the capital on behalf of the Corporation of the Diocese, whose directors will be its stewards. Bishops have used Corp Sole well to build up the body of Christ. But all its assets should be subject to the same oversight and controls as our other resources. That’s why once the diocese’s finances have been stabilized, it is my intention to transfer all cash assets of Corp Sole to the Corporation of the Diocese. The best way to reform Corp Sole as a separate funding institution is to lay it lovingly to rest.


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