The Rev. Susan Brown Snook has a new series on her blog, looking at whether or not The Episcopal Church is a sinking ship.
Day One: Deck Chairs
Day Two: Will the Real Subsidiarity Principle Please Stand Up?
Day Three: About That Elephant
Day Four: Empowering Mission
Day Five (for tomorrow): Where I Think This Ship is Going
Perhaps most striking is her "About That Elephant" post:
A few days ago, I argued that the real problem facing The Episcopal Church isn’t our budget, or our budget process, or our churchwide structure. The real problem is the fact that we are declining precipitously in attendance, membership, and finances. Those other things are just symptoms of the real problem.
She then considers the budget in terms of the Anglican Marks for Mission, stating the cost and the percentage of the budget:
1. To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom ----$2,283,270 ----2.15%
2. To teach, baptize, and nurture new believers ----$286,438 ----0.27%
3. To respond to human need by loving service ----$26,428,618 ----24.91%
4. To seek to transform unjust structures ----$4,600,551 ----4.34%
5. To sustain, renew life of the earth ----$106,470 ----0.10%
Not included as marks of mission, but categorized as:
6. Administration ----$46,823,109 ----44.13%
7. Governance ----$12,298,810 ----11.59%
8. Building Religious Relationships ----$5,207,010 ----4.91%
9. Stewardship and Leadership Development ----$8,067,497 ----7.60%
Do you see what I see? After all is said and done, the glaring enormous over-inflated budget item is not Christian Formation, not at all. It is Administration. When pared down as noted above, it comprises over 44% of our churchwide budget. That doesn’t even count the cost of General Convention!
She proposes cuts to administration, the selling of the office building in Manhattan, and setting goals concerning the maximum percentage of the budget that can be used for administration.
Snook continues to raise issues and point towards possibilities for the future of the church. Agree or disagree, one has to be impressed on her dedication to the subject.