Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, January 29th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 32 Comments
In a way, it’s actually kind of sad watching them wildly flail about like this:
The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council continued Jan. 28 to grapple with the missional, organizational and financial realities of developing a budget for the 2013-2015 triennium.
The members also grappled with a timeline that calls for council to develop a draft triennial budget to give to the church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) by the close of its Jan. 27-29 meeting here at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute. This timeline was contrasted with calls by some council members to spend more time envisioning the church’s mission goals, and revising the budget proposals it received the day before.
One budget scenario calls for asking dioceses to contribute 19 percent of their income and the other calls for dioceses contributing 15 percent. The larger amount of income is $103.6 million and the 15 percent-asking budget would be reduced by approximately $13.5 million, according to Treasurer Kurt Barnes. The 19 percent scenario could result in staff reductions equivalent to eight full-time staff positions at most and the 15 percent scenario would amount to 36 full-time equivalent staff positions at most, according to the spreadsheets presented.
“The way we are currently approaching the budgeting process appears to be de facto restructuring by funding or de-funding parts of the organization. The tail is wagging the dog,” Lelanda Lee, a member of council’s Advocacy and Networking for Mission committee, told her colleagues.
“Neither iteration – 19 percent asking or 15 percent asking – provides a new vision,” Katie Sherrod said in reporting the reaction of the Governance and Administration for Mission committee. “We need a vision for the future.”
While council heard much discussion the previous day about declining mainline denominational membership and financial struggles caused both by those membership declines and the current economy, council member Brian Cole said that his table colleagues questioned the assumed implications of that information.
He said they wanted to challenge the rest of the council to consider “if we believe decline is inevitable and ongoing forever, or do we really believe we have good news to share.”
Should I tell them? Nah, probably wouldn’t matter.