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Diocese of Virginia Convention fails to pass budget

Diocese of Virginia Convention fails to pass budget

[Edited to reflect corrections coming from a delegate to Convention who commented below.]

Delegates to the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Virginia failed to pass a budget. The business of Convention was conducted online on Saturday. A call for a vote on the budget by orders was made but failed in both the lay and clergy orders.

From an email sent by the diocese late Saturday afternoon [now posted online]:

Delegates to Convention have several responsibilities including the election of leaders to governing bodies, passing a budget for the upcoming year, and voting on any resolutions that come before the Convention.

The Convention delegates considered a budget presented by the Executive Board which reflected cuts necessary to balance the budget anticipating receipts of approximately 15% less giving by parishes to the Diocese. The budget featured increased funding for the work of race and reconciliation but also numerous cuts in virtually all other areas due to anticipated reduced giving to the Diocese. Budget amendments were proposed to restore funding for campus ministries to be funded by a hardship waiver of giving to The Episcopal Church. After an extended discussion the Convention declined to approve the budget and thereby referred the budget back to the Executive Board.

The Convention failing to pass a budget, it is the Executive Board that makes the decision on the final budget. No further approval is required by Convention.

The diocese has paid its TEC assessment in full going back at least as far as the 1960s, without a waiver (PDF).

The budget (PDF) proposed cuts were in nearly every area of ministry. These included cuts in aid for mission churches among those Spanish-speaking and Korean-speaking congregations.

Just about everyone’s ox was gored.

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Don Brownlee

As my church’s Lay Delegate to the Convention, I can state the answer to “Unstated is the process for approval of the budget once the Executive Board completes its reconsideration.”

We were told that under our Constitution and Canons, if the Convention fails to approve a Budget, the matter goes to the Executive Board. It is the ultimate approver, with no further action by anyone

Therefore, as I see it, by rejecting the Budget for the reasons mentioned, we effectively cut ourselves out of any chance to pass a budget more to our liking.

BTW, a Vote by Orders was requested, with approval from both Orders needed for passage. It received approval from neither

Eric Bonetti

Yikes, just yikes.

The very last thing DioVA needs right now is to turn further inward and rely on the EC to pass a budget. Even if EC has the authority to enact a budget on its own, there needs to be broad consensus and buy-in at every level, lest people vote with their feet and their dollars.

As to the notion of requesting a waiver from the national church, with all due respect to those proposing it, that would be another really bad idea. Other than Shrine Mont, the diocese appears to have done very little to pursue COVID relief funds or otherwise improve its financial posture, so it is not appropriate to turn to the national church for a bailout.

As the largest domestic diocese, were Virginia to request and receive a hardship waiver, it would rightly open the door to every diocese out there asking for, and receiving, a waiver.

What I find most alarming about this development is it suggests that the standing committee’s proposed budget was put together with little outside discussion and input. If Bishop Goff learned anything from her listening tours, it should be that the diocese needs to become more transparent, more accountable, and more consensus-based. None of those attributes are reflected in the current budget process.

Eric Bonetti

I so wish DioVA would get its act together, Unfortunately, it demonizes its critics and consistently refuses to take accountability for its actions, while seemingly preferring to protect itself from potential legal liability versus doing the right thing.

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