The deadline for all Episcopalians to review and comment upon the preliminary draft budget to be presented at this year’s General Convention is tomorrow.
Nurya Love Parish has published a blog urging church members to consider commenting on the draft budget, and specifically the amount of resources allocated to the fifth Mark of Mission; that which deals with the safeguarding of creation. The nub of her appeal is as follows:
The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Massachusetts, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care, Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, a priest in the Episcopal Church of Connecticut, have developed a proposal for Mark 5 Mission work and are asking Episcopalians to write to the Finances for Mission Team to support it. Here’s their plan:
- $550,000 for diocesan and provincial grants, including green grants, clergy education and formation, internships, camp programs for children, advocacy training and diocesan green committees;
- $100,000 for a three-year cycle of summer training programs for seminarians;
- $120,000 for “train the trainer” retreats to assist lay leadership in supporting greening congregations;
- $125,000 for pilgrimage/wilderness retreats/eco-justice training for young adults;
- $100,000 for youth camp gatherings to empower and train leadership in climate change;
- $25,000 for scholarships for GreenFaith Fellowship programs;
- $450,000 to reinstate staffing dedicated to the 5th Mark of Mission (full time plus support staff)
The proposed work would cost the church $1.47M.
In its own overview, the Executive Council’s Finances for Mission Committee flagged up the decrease in Mark 5 funding, explaining that,
Total funding [in this area] has decreased in order to concentrate on the highest-priority areas: development of local networks focusing on creation care, and fellowships for specific projects.
Executive Council will meet this weekend and will review comments received since the preliminary draft was offered in November.
Following the January meeting, Executive Council will present the draft budget to Program Budget and Finance Committee (PB&F) in February, which will then prepare a final budget for approval at General Convention next summer.
Posted by Rosalind Hughes