"This is a very difficult day," said Pan Adams-McCaslin, chair of PB&F. "For the committee and for me personally, the decisions are heart-wrenching and emotional. We are being called to be accountable and transparent in our mission and ministry to the Church, knowing that the decisions that have been made will be difficult and painful. As a Church of mission and ministry this is even more difficult because we work for a higher calling."
Earlier this week, PB&F sent a special letter to both houses of General Convention explaining that there would be reductions. The weak economy caused PB&F to take a very close look at all the Church does, and where and how it does it, as well as how some programs may be consolidated. In finalizing the budget, PB&F followed a well-traveled path consistent with the spirit and practice of the Church seeking to give to others first and ourselves second, and to help dioceses and parishes continue their focus on ministry.
The reductions, which affect both programs and staff, will occur over the next several months. The Diocesan commitment also is being reduced from 21 percent in 2010, to 20 percent in 2011, and 19 percent in 2012.
The proposed budget addresses every part of the Church: Corporate, Canonical and Program (Mission). While specific program details, in most cases, are still being worked out, approximately 30 positions will be affected, with staff being notified beginning today. The Church will be providing outplacement services and severance packages, as well as pastoral care.
"Our hearts go out to those affected by the changes," Adams-McCaslin said. "With God"s help, hope and faith, we will seek to renew our efforts to share God"s mission in this difficult time."
General Convention 2009 (GC09) continues until July 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California (Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles).
The Episcopal Church"s General Convention, held every three years, is the bicameral governing body of the church. General Convention, the second largest legislative body in the world, is comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 members, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives from the 110 dioceses, at over 850 members.