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Executive Council struggles to fund the great commission

Executive Council struggles to fund the great commission

The Church’s Executive Council began work on the draft budget to be presented at General Convention next year at its most recent meeting last week.  In this first draft, churchwide staff and the Council’s standing committees offered drafts of their desired spending plans and then council began to work on it with goal of presenting a balanced budget to General Convention.  This first draft, if all of those spending plans were approved, would represent an $8 million deficit over expected revenues, even though those revenues are anticipated to increase by $3.7 million over the last budget (2016-2018).

 

There are clearly some difficult choices to be made to get to a balanced budget.  This working draft proposes a 41% reduction in spending on support for planting churches.  In this working draft, funds for evangelism would go from the $5.9 million allocated in the 2016-18 budget to $3.5 million.  Despite being one of the church’s stated priorities, evangelism accounts for only 2.6% of the budget.

 

According to ENS, The Very Rev. Brian Baker, a FFM member (Joint Standing Committee on Finances for Mission), argued that the church’s recent effort to plant new churches is working. “This is the first time in my 27 years as a priest that the Episcopal Church is finally doing evangelism. We are planting new churches,” he said, noting that more than 50 new ministries had recently been started. “We got this seed money of a few million dollars to see if we could do it and we’re doing it.”

 

The church planting efforts approved by the 2015 convention are “one of the solutions to the dire statistics that we’re always faced with,” Baker said. “I’m asking all of the other committees to look at your budgets and see how can we support this piece of what the Episcopal Church has been trying to solve for so long.”

 

The three priorities of the church have been identified as evangelism, racial justice and reconciliation, and creation care.  All told, these “priorities” account for less than 10% of planned spending, with spending on racial reconciliation budgeted to remain the same at just about $9.4 million while creation care would see a small increase to $740,000 from the current triennium’s $650,000.

 

The draft coming out of this meeting is expected to be posted soon for further review and analysis.

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Prof Christopher Seitz

God have mercy…

TEC is entering either a hall of mirrors or a reality zone with teeth.

D Winterrowd

If $3.5 million is only 2.6% of the budget, what’s the other $130 million used for ????! That’s a huge amount of money considering parishes are self-supporting or are missions of the Diocese, not of the national church office.

Duane Miller

Good question. Does anyone have a link for previous years? That is a whole lot of money and it would be helpful to know where its going.

Jim Naughton

Early days, in the budget process. Early days. I wouldn’t be surprised if the budget that was sent out to the wider church within the next two or three weeks already looks rather different than the one seen at Executive Council. And I won’t be surprised if it looks different again after Council does its work in February. Also worth noting that $2.8m of last triennium’s evangelism budget came from a .6 draw on investment, a decision made on the last day of convention.

Kenneth Knapp

Does anyone have any sense of how much they spend on lobbying?

Chris Steele

Or look up 815 on Zillow?

Duane Miller

Indeed. I thought they were instructed to sell that property and relocate to some place that is, you know, more reasonable? Also, the amount of money you need to pay people in Manhattan is crazy. Why not relocate to some place where the Church is not shrinking, like Georgia or Texas?

Quentin Durward

While a stated priority, evangelism (2.6% of the budget) is just being given lip service. If not evangelism what is the purposd of the Church? Almost anything can be twisted to fall under the big umbrella of evangelism. Unfortunately, this also means, we can be sure the shamefully paltry evangelical resources will bleed into a host of special interests. I’ve become used to, while not numb to, real investment in the “Jesus Movement” and growing our church taking a back seat to political activism and particularly to identity politics. The numbers (budget and roster) speak for themselves. If we were on track both would be growing. Instead, we’ve been seduced into a divisive agenda and its destroying the Church. This budget could be an opportunity to stop the hemorrhaging and begin the process of healing.

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