Welcomes You

Presiding Bishop releases budget proposal for General Convention review

The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released a Budget Proposal for consideration at the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

“The heart of this body is mission – both domestic and foreign mission – in partnership with anyone who shares that passion,” Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori states in her Budget Proposal Message. “This Budget Proposal is intended to help us reorient ourselves to that passion, to be true to who we are as the community of the baptized, to come to know ourselves as the friends of Jesus who are sent to heal the world.” 

Citing Canon I.2.4(a)(1) which states that “responsibility for leadership in initiating and developing the policy and strategy in the Church” rests with the Presiding Bishop, she notes,  “I have, therefore, sought the development of a budget proposal that could be offered to General Convention which is more clearly based on missional strategy than the current draft proposed budget.”

The Presiding Bishop’s budget proposal is based and rooted on the Five Marks of mission and “takes mission as its organizing principle and uses the Five Marks of Mission endorsed by the General Convention as the strategic priorities for the budget as a moral document.”

She explains that her budget proposal includes input from staff, which was not the case in the current draft budget approved by Executive Council.  Citing the willing participation of staff, under the leadership of Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer, the Presiding Bishop points to “a selfless and kenotic approach to the wellbeing of the whole Church, to which I know they [staff] are deeply committed.”

She concludes, “As in every age, our church is in need of reform, in order to engage the mission God has set before us.  This Budget Proposal is intended as the beginning of that reforming effort.  It sets out what we can do at this General Convention, and offers a strategic direction for the next era in this Church’s life as partners in healing God’s broken world.” 

 

The Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal Message is printed in full in this release and is also located here. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/sites/default/files/downloads/presiding_bishops_budget_proposal_2013-2015.pdf

 

The Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal is located here  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/sites/default/files/downloads/presiding_bishops_budget_proposal_2013-2015.pdf

 

The Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal Message follows in full:

 

Budgets are moral documents.  Our investment of time and energy in preparing a budget is a kind of liturgical work, giving shape to the “public work of the people.”  Budgets reflect our hopes and dreams as a community.  They reveal the secrets of our hearts.[1]  They represent a concrete strategy for achieving what we believe God is calling us to do and to be in moving toward shalom or the Reign of God.  They offer an opportunity for faithfulness.

The “responsibility for leadership in initiating and developing the policy and strategy in the Church” rests with the Presiding Bishop.[2]  The budgeting process that developed through Executive Council represented new behavior, which should be applauded for its courage.  In spite of those faithful efforts a coherent strategy did not emerge.[3]

I have, therefore, sought the development of a budget proposal that could be offered to General Convention which is more clearly based on missional strategy than the current draft proposed budget.  I believe this reflects what I have seen and experienced firsthand in my visits throughout The Episcopal Church.  Those very significant signs of health and hope in congregations and dioceses across this Church are examples of powerful engagement with God’s mission.  What follows is a plan for making this Church a more effective agent of God’s redeeming love made manifest in Jesus Christ. 

This approach begins with mission, and insists that mission shape the budget rather than the other way around.  The perspective of the churchwide staff has been exceedingly helpful in this process, for they are deeply connected to mission at the local level, and have the unique ability to see across boundaries between communities.[4]  This Budget Proposal reflects extensive consultations with staff, directed by the Chief Operating Officer, Bishop Stacy Sauls.  The process reflects a selfless and kenotic approach to the wellbeing of the whole Church, to which I know they are deeply committed. 

The strategic and spiritual principle of this Budget Proposal is that the Church is most truly itself, the Body of Christ, when it lives and breathes mission.  Indeed, our baptismal identity is grounded in commitment to mission and in the assurance that in our faithful pursuit of that mission God will bless both us and our work. 

As Episcopalians we have a shared understanding of mission:  to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.[5]  Paul reminds us that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation,[6] but as the body is composed of many members with varied gifts, different methods and approaches are required.[7]  Some of us look to the Great Commission[8] for primary definitions of mission; others, to Jesus’ mission statement,[9] or Jesus’ call to care for “the least of these.”[10]  The variety is reflective of our Anglican ethos, yet together in Christ we have one mission and we pursue it as we pray and worship, proclaim the Gospel, and promote justice, peace, and love.[11]

The Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal takes mission as its organizing principle and uses the Five Marks of Mission[12] endorsed by the General Convention[13] as the strategic priorities for the budget as a moral document.  The Budget Proposal contains six strategic initiatives. 

  • Mark 1:  To Proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.  $2 million is designated for starting new congregations and worshiping communities (line 27).  The intent is to use churchwide resources to strengthen local mission efforts through partnering with dioceses to provide coaching, support, and one-third of new start costs.   Using a partnership approach infuses a total of $6 million for establishing new communities of faith, both traditional and non-traditional.  This strategy is also intended to inspire the creation of many new, multicultural, and non-traditional worshiping communities. 
  • Mark 2:  To Teach, Baptize, and Nurture New Believers.  One of the most significant and encouraging opportunities available to our Church is the work of our Latin American dioceses to teach, baptize, and nurture new believers.  The lay and clergy leadership of Province IX have together committed to a process of leadership development to make the ministry of the province self-sufficient and sustainable.[14]  The Tela Initiative,[15] from which the rest of the Church has much to learn, was introduced[16]  and enthusiastically embraced by the Province IX Synod in March. The Budget Proposal allocates $1 million to support Province IX in carrying out its effective work of making disciples of Jesus long into the future (line 61).
  • Mark 3:  To Respond to Human Need by Loving Service.  The Budget Proposal contains two strategic initiatives under Mark 3. 
  • First, it envisions a time when all Episcopal young people will have the opportunity and desire to devote themselves to this goal through missionary service.  $1 million is allocated for that effort through both existing and new program, through partnering with sponsoring dioceses to help cover the cost.  The target objectives include (1) doubling the number of young adults placed in non-U.S. mission sites by partnering with sponsoring dioceses to cover part of the cost; (2) supporting the expansion of the Episcopal Service Corps, a network which places young adults in mission projects in the United States, in partnership with participating dioceses; and (3) the creation of a gap year program (for young people between high school and college or work) by successfully completing a pilot project in at least two dioceses (line 79).
  • Second, the Proposal builds on the Church’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals by supporting the Diocese of Haiti in rebuilding its crucial service infrastructure of church-operated schools and clinics destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.  The Haiti initiative seeks to leverage 0.7% of the churchwide budget through the work of the Development Office to raise an additional $1.4 million in a matching gift program.  This would make more than $2 million available for Haiti (line 83).    
  • Mark 4:  To Seek to Transform Unjust Structures of Society.  $1 million is allocated to involve Episcopalians in the eradication of poverty in the United States (line 108).  The intent is to develop a network of responders, resources, advocacy, and capacity building that will involve members of our Church in spiritually transformative relationships of solidarity with the poor – in urban areas, Native American reservations, and areas of rural poverty, including Appalachia.  In an era of rising poverty in this nation, the opportunity to meet and serve the incarnate Jesus can lead Episcopalians to become more effective advocates for God’s reign of justice.
  • Mark 5:  To Strive to Safeguard the Integrity of Creation and Sustain and Renew the Life of the Earth.  Significant work on Mark 5 is being done at the local level.  The Budget Proposal allocates $1 million to strengthen and coordinate local initiatives in environmental ministry and to strengthen and encourage the engagement of dioceses and congregations in environmental ministry (line 122). 

The mission section of the budget also directs churchwide resources to support the Marks of Mission through the work of others.  One section is devoted to making resources available to local expressions of ministry within The Episcopal Church – dioceses, congregations, institutions, and networks.  Another is devoted to making resources available beyond The Episcopal Church through partnerships with other members of the Anglican Communion, other churches, and other faiths. 

The Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal is organized by spiritual priority – mission first, followed by sections devoted to governance (central to the way our community shares in decision making), and to administration (essential to providing necessary support services for mission initiatives).  The Budget Proposal tries to assign appropriate weight to each, the second and third being servants of the first.  The Budget Proposal has been crafted with the belief that the canonical budget model of canonical, corporate, and program expenses no longer adequately serves the Church in responding to a world very much in need of our partnership. 

The categories of canonical, corporate, and program have always had a certain arbitrariness, and various expenses have been assigned to different areas in different triennia.  In order to satisfy the canons, each line item in this Proposal is also given a designation according to canonical categories, but the existing canonical categories do not seem strategically useful and the Budget Proposal is not organized accordingly.

Several other points should be noted about the development of the Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal for 2013-2015. 

  • The mission portion of the Presiding Bishop’s Budget Proposal was developed as a zero-based approach.  That is, the current budget did not define the budget proposal.  This permitted a more theologically based and strategic process.  Rather than seeking to deconstruct what has been in order to conform to current financial realities, the Budget Proposal sought to build what was needed for mission in our current context and develop a budget for that, looking ahead to what could be rather than backward to what has been.  It was more difficult work than starting with the budget for the current triennium, but it has encouraged creativity and innovation, precisely what our Church most needs at this moment.  That has made the process spiritually enriching rather than depleting.  This makes direct comparisons with previous budgets difficult, but this Proposal does its best to show parallels.  Deputies and Bishops are asked to do the same sort of challenging but creative work in considering the Budget Proposal. 
  • The proposal is made in the context of the Presiding Bishop’s role and office and is detailed as to those parts of the budget (mission and administration) for which that office bears canonical oversight and responsibility.  In the area of governance, however, the proposal suggests overall reductions rather than specific reductions.  The proposal anticipates a process to allocate the overall 5% reduction collaboratively, in consultation with other elected leaders including the President of the House of Deputies, the Executive Officer of General Convention, and the Executive Council. 
  • Details of the new initiatives related to the Five Marks of Mission remain to be developed, in consultation between churchwide staff and the Executive Council.  This is understood as an opportunity for creative collaboration.  Indeed, the creation of the Young Adult Service Corps resulted from a similar invitation to creative leadership issued by the 2003 General Convention, which named ministry with young people as a strategic priority.  Cooperative collaboration between staff and Executive Council has led, and can again lead, to productive engagement of the challenges before us. 
  • The Budget Proposal takes a new approach to churchwide ministry by abandoning an understanding that the churchwide staff can accomplish all things for all people, and instead focuses our staff and financial assets on essential and strategic initiatives. 
  • The Budget Proposal suggests eliminating 12.75 staff positions from current levels, some of them currently existing but unfilled positions.  It is here that the staff’s courage was particularly evident – and for that I am most grateful.
  • Believing that we must answer to moral authority beyond ourselves, the staff and I have sought to make our Church’s budget at least minimally accountable to standards for secular charities.  We have had some successes in this.  Part of this is due to reclassifying some areas previously listed as “canonical” which seem more appropriately listed as mission; part of it is due to making new money available for mission from previous budgets and drafts; and part of it is due to taking into account the in-kind services provided to affiliated agencies.  (See budget document for charts.)
  • Finally, with a desire to consider the best use of all our churchwide resources, I have directed Bishop Sauls to conduct a thorough study of the location of the Episcopal Church Center, made possible by generous assistance provided by the Diocese of Los Angeles.  We anticipate that the study will be completed, presented to an upcoming meeting of the Executive Council, probably in October 2012, and implemented before General Convention reconvenes in 2015.  We commit to working toward further savings and reductions in administrative costs as well as to being the best possible stewards of the church’s financial assets, for we are all trustees for the poor on Christ’s behalf. 

The heart of this body is mission – both domestic and foreign mission – in partnership with anyone who shares that passion.  This Budget Proposal is intended to help us reorient ourselves to that passion, to be true to who we are as the community of the baptized, to come to know ourselves as the friends of Jesus who are sent to heal the world.  As it is in every age, our church is in need of reform, in order to engage the mission God has set before us.  This Budget Proposal is intended as the beginning of that reforming effort.  It sets out what we can do at this

General Convention, and offers a strategic direction for the next era in this Church’s life as partners in healing God’s broken world. 

                                   

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

 

 

General Convention

General Convention 2012 will be held July 5 – 12 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN (Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis).

The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years, and is the bicameral governing body of the Church. It is composed of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay representatives elected from the 110 dioceses of the Church, at more than 800 members.

General Convention 2012 http://generalconvention.org/gc

 

 

 

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[1] Matthew 6:21

[2] Canon I.2.4(a)(1)

[4] For example, program staff currently work with at least 130 committees and local networks

[5] BCP, p 855

[6] 2Corinthians 5:18-20

[7] Romans 12:4ff

[8] Matthew 28:18-20

[9] Luke 4:18-21

[10] Matthew 25:31-46

[11] BCP, p 855

[12] Articulated by the Anglican Consultative Council in 1984 and 1990:  http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/mission/fivemarks.cfm

[13] 2009 Resolution D-027