Where does the Episcopal Church get its money?
The financial base of the Episcopal Church is the voluntary financial contributions of its members.
How is the money collected from congregations and dioceses?
Each diocese is asked to contribute to the mission work of the church by using a formula that calculates, for the coming year, 21% of the previous year’s income, less a flat $100,000 optional exemption. The amount a congregation gives to its diocese is determined by each diocese, and those formulas vary. There is no “tax” on individuals, congregations, or dioceses from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society or the General Convention. It’s a fair share, voluntary asking to support mission, the same way a parish asks a parishioner to pledge and contribute to God’s work every Sunday.
Where does the money from congregations and dioceses go?
Funds received from dioceses go to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, which is the corporate body that receives funds from congregations and dioceses of the Episcopal Church. If you are a member of an Episcopal Church anywhere, you are a member of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, according to Canon I.3.2. Established in 1821, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society was, for many years, centered in New York City; today, however, staff of the Society are located across the country and around the world.
The money needed to do the mission and program work of the Episcopal Church is set aside every three years by the General Convention. Bishops and deputies to General Convention write, vote on resolutions, and set policy for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, and the duly elected Executive Council makes governing decisions between sessions of the General Convention.
What is General Convention?
Each year, every Episcopal congregation elects representatives to their diocesan convention. That diocesan convention, in turn, elects up to eight deputies – four clergy and four lay people – and sends them and the diocese’s bishops to General Convention. When this body gathers every three years (the “triennium”), it represents the fourth largest legislative body in the world. During the 8-day meeting, it considers hundreds of resolutions on a broad range of subjects, and adopts a budget for the next three years.
What happens if congregations or dioceses withhold their money from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society?
Reductions in funding for national programs may affect existing work and may slow or stop new ministry initiatives.
If funds are cut, who decides which programs are affected?
If reductions must be made, the Executive Council, composed of people elected by General Convention and by the nine provinces of the church, decide where to cut the budget.
Where can I find the details of the General Convention budget and diocesan contributions?
Visit the website of the Finance Office of the Episcopal Church for information about the triennial budget.