Media Release: invitation to comment on preliminary draft budget

by Margaret Wessel Walker

The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs has issued the following media release:

Input, comments invited for Episcopal Church
2019-2021 triennium preliminary draft budget

[November 13, 2017] Episcopalians across the church are invited to review and provide input and comments on the preliminary draft of the 2019-2021 triennium budget.

“In the current and prior triennia, the budgets were built to reflect the Five Marks of Mission,” Tess Judge, Executive Council member and chair of Finance for Mission Committee, stated in the overview letter.  “The 2019-2021 budget is based on The Jesus Movement with Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation & Justice, and Environmental Stewardship as priorities.”

Judge added, “One of the advantages of The Jesus Movement budget is that it reflects how the staff is organized, by department, rather than spread across Five Marks and other areas as in the past. So lines of communication, reporting, collaboration, and budget creation are clearer.  In the changeover to The Jesus Movement, some sections of the budget were moved, so that it may be hard to make direct comparisons between costs in areas in prior budgets to projected costs in the coming triennium. And comparing percentages can be inaccurate.”

Following comments and suggestions, the preliminary draft budget will be prepared for approval by the Episcopal Church Executive Council at its January 2018 meeting. From there, Executive Council will present the draft budget to Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance (PB&F) in February, which will then prepare a final budget for approval at General Convention next summer.

• The preliminary draft budget is available here. 
• Input and comments can be submitted here.
• Deadline for providing comments is January 10, 2018.

Highlights
A narrative located  here provides overview information about the preliminary draft budget document.

Here are a few highlights:
• The first two pages summarize projected income, $128,429,734, and projected expenses, $132,921,145, resulting in a deficit of $4,491,411.

Among the highlights on the Income page (1):
• Line 2 – Diocesan Commitments (Assessments required beginning January 1, 2019) In the current triennium commitments asked dropped from 18% to 15% with a $150,000 exemption for each diocese. The Line 2 2016-2018 figure is the expected actual commitment (not an assumed full commitment). The 2019-2021 budget shows a gross number, the full 15 % with $140,000 exemption projected assessment from all dioceses. The red box below is an allowance for those dioceses which might be granted waivers from paying the full amount by Executive Council in the Assessment Review process.

• Line 3 – Income from Unrestricted Assets & Outside Trusts – these two lines represent a 5% draw from investments.

• Line 3 – Annual Appeal Campaign – $500,000 from the Development Department’s new Annual Fund solicitation to fund ministries in the operating budget.  Of this $88,000, will cover the costs of annual campaigns.

• Line 4b – Racial Reconciliation – $2 million dollars was set aside from short term reserves in the current triennium.  Since this was a brand new program, it took over a year to get up to speed, so the full $2 million will not be spent.  The 2019-2021 budget carries over $1 million for this work.

Among the highlights in the Expenses page (2):
• The Expense Categories for the 2019-2021 budget include:  Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation & Justice, Creation Care, Ministry of the Presiding Bishop to Church and World, Mission Within the Episcopal Church, Mission Beyond the Episcopal Church, Mission Governance, and Mission Finance, Legal & Operations.   They do not perfectly correspond with the Five Marks budget categories.

• Staff – all staff lines include a 3% raise each year and estimate 9% increases in health insurance costs.  The Presiding Bishop has expressed his satisfaction with the staff in place and asks that there be no new hires in the 2019-2021 budget.

• House of Deputies, Line 298 – Staff Costs include $900,000 for salary and benefits for the President of the House of Deputies to be sure funds are available should the salary be voted by General Convention.

General Convention
The Episcopal Church 79th General Convention will be held Thursday, July 5 to Friday, July 13, 2018 at The Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas (Diocese of Texas).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years to consider the legislative business of the church.  General Convention is the bicameral governing body of the Church, comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members. Between Conventions, the General Convention continues to work through its committees and commissions.  The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church carries out the programs and policies adopted by General Convention.

Note: This information in Spanish will be released later.

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1 Comment on "Media Release: invitation to comment on preliminary draft budget"

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Writing as a Deputy to General Convention, I ask my Episcopal siblings, please, please comment. There will certainly be discussion in legislative committees, in testimony, and in debate in General Convention. However, I know we will appreciate hearing from the whole church as we consider priorities.

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