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Program, Budget & Finance begins work on 2013-2015 budget

Program, Budget & Finance begins work on 2013-2015 budget

Episcopal News Service reports that Program, Budget and Finance Committee(PB&F) has begun the discussions of the draft 2013-2015 budget.

The article cites a number of tensions facing the committee:


Responding to the financial challenges faced by dioceses while deciding how much money needs to be spent in support of the denomination-wide mission, ministry and infrastructure of the Episcopal Church.

Paying for the costs of the church’s mission and current structure knowing that there have been many proposals to change that structure and, possibly, redefine the direction and focus of the mission and ministry.

Whether or how the budget ought to be the mechanism for making those changes.elo_020212_TS_PBF.jpg

In the end, PB&F agreed to have (Bishop Steve) Lane and (Diane) Pollard (the co-chairs of the committee) create a working group of committee members to collect information about the various structural change proposals that have recently been discussed. General Convention Secretary Gregory Straub suggested that the group also gather information about such attempts that have been made in the past.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that we will drive all of this but we can have this in front of us and perhaps in the crafting of the budget be supportive of what movements we see developing,” Lane said of the exercise.

The draft budget is due to be posted here soon, according to Treasurer Kurt Barnes. He told PB&F that he and his colleagues need time to adjust the document to reflect accurately a number of changes council made to it during the last afternoon of its meeting. When it is posted, the document will include a letter from council explaining the rationale it used to craft the budget.

Photo credit Episcopal News Service (click to enlarge)

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Tom Sramek Jr

I understand the need to have some lead time to print the book (though for the cost and considering the weight of all of that paper, issuing iPads to all deputies per-loaded with the "blue book" might be better). My point is that it seems like the legislative process ends up being a lot of wandering around, largely aimlessly, for many minths followed by a slightly more than week-long 15-hour-a-day marathon. That doesn't seem to be the best process.

Why not have a policy that each committee is empowered to deal with resolutions as they are submitted, and set a deadline of December 1 of the year previous to General Convention for such submissions and a deadline of May 1 for all Commissions, Commitees, Agencies, and Boards (CCABs) to report out resolutions. They could then be assembled in electronic format and emailed to all dioceses. Any bishop or deputy that wants to re-introduce a resolution that has been changed or dropped by a committee or introduce a new resolution must get 2/3 of the bishops or deputies (depending on the house) to approve consideration, much like happens at diocesan conventions.

This would eliminate bishops and deputies staggering around with 3-inch thick binders and going to meetings from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day (which I saw at GC 2009). It might also cut down on the hundreds of resolutions presented at a General Convention, some of which are never considered because time runs out.

Anyway, I just think that there must be a better way to run a legislative gathering than how we run General Convention and it's CCABs.

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Jenifer Gamber

The ENS article says this, "The churchwide staff has been moving toward helping to network the church’s expertise at all levels, and making its own skills available to those networks and other organizations, rather than developing and implementing programs itself."

Yes, Establishing denomination wide networks makes sense in a world with lower cost of communication. Christian educators do this well-- witness the growth of NAECED, now known as Forma, from a dozen members in 1997 to 400 today. Networks, however, need resources to be sustained.

The church would do well to support these networks that make assets available particularly to dioceses with fewer financial resources and small churches. Christian formation is particularly important to the life of a vibrant, growing and outward looking church.

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Ann Fontaine

At General Convention PB&F hold hearings and make changes -- the budget as it is now has to go to print (yes they still "print") in the Blue Book - hence the lack of changes that can be made at this point - at least that is my understanding.

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Rowsofsharon

Some of them may want to follow the Christian Ed conference going on right now. NAECED has changed its name to Forma, reflecting the growing need of the church to engage in lifelong Christian formation. And the woes of the local congregation that has seen dioceses (and congregations) cut budgets around education and formation. Many are dependent on the networking and resource support provided by the Office of Formation and Vocations budgeted through GC. Follow on Twitter #NAECED.

Sharon Ely Pearson

Standing Commission on Lifelong Christian Education and Formation

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Tom Sramek Jr

“This is a draft budget and nothing is sacrosanct,” Pollard told the PB&F group early in its meeting. “What is sacrosanct is that we can’t change it between now and General Convention.”

I am unfamiliar with the workings of Convention, but it strikes me as incredibly stupid that PB&F has to wait until General Convention to change the budget at all. What other legislative body doesn't allow a committee to modify legislation? I think a great change in canon or policy would be to allow all CCAB's to address and process resolutions as they are submitted without having to wait for Convention to begin that work.

The current process is not one that lends itself to quick adaptation.....

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