Yesterday two competing budget proposals were presented to Executive Council. Today the members of Council are beginning to look closely at what was given to them, and reacting to what they're finding. They're not pleased.
"“The way we are currently approaching the budgeting process appears to be de facto restructuring by funding or de-funding parts of the organization. The tail is wagging the dog,” Lelanda Lee, a member of council’s Advocacy and Networking for Mission committee, told her colleagues.
Lee made her comments while members were reporting to the entire council during the morning of Jan. 28 about budget discussions held in committees the previous day after the members received the budget scenarios from its Executive Committee.
“This was not a strategic exercise but this was a mathematical exercise,” council member Vycke McEwen said later in the morning while council further discussed the budgeting process.
Council member Lee Allison Crawford reported that her colleagues at her table felt the church was “just beginning to understand the system we inherited from General Convention 2009 with the last round of cuts.” The reorganized Church Center “has had success” and to change the system again would be wrong, she said.
“The structure has to be an authentic reflection of our values and so we really should change ministries with deliberation and care and reflection and not just by sweeping cuts in a spreadsheet,” she said.
“Neither iteration – 19 percent asking or 15 percent asking – provides a new vision,” Katie Sherrod said in reporting the reaction of the Governance and Administration for Mission committee. “We need a vision for the future.”"
Members of Council are posting live updates via Twitter using the hashtag #ExCounMtg. There are other voices, not present at the meeting asking questions and sharing observations about the process on the same stream. Do check it out and follow along.
You get a sense of pushback from Executive Council here and a feeling that they're beginning to ask difficult questions to the leadership of the Episcopal Church on behalf of us all. Good for them. Without serious conversation there's no way our denomination is going to be able to meet the challenges ahead of us.