The Executive Council approved a $151,986,107 proposed budget for the 2007-2009 triennium at the end of its meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 12.
The budget now goes to the General Convention's Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance Committee (PB&F) for hearings and possible revision and then will be presented to General Convention for approval in June.
The budget is about $10 million, or three percent, larger than the current triennium budget.
The largest amount of debate was spent on the eventual decision to meet a request by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) that all members of the Anglican Communion increase their giving to the Communion in the coming three years. Those increases amount to $550,000, making the Episcopal Church's total contribution $2.350 million.
The draft budget did not include those increases but instead kept the church's contribution to the ACC at $1.8 million. The version of the budget that came to the council from its Administration and Finance Committee (A&F) contained an unallocated line item of $550,000. The intention was for the General Convention to decide whether the church should comply with the ACC's full request.
"What we were trying to do is present the issue to General Convention and frame that issue to General Convention," Bishop Stacy F. Sauls of Lexington told the council.
Josephine Hicks, a member of the church's ACC deputation, urged the council to meet the ACC's request in the version of the budget it gives to PB&F. Saying she understood the idea of asking the Convention to decide, Hicks countered that the council needed to make "a leadership statement" and tell PB&F that it believes the request should be honored.
Some council members asked if the ACC had justified its request for more money. Church treasurer Kurt Barnes said that the ACC for the last two years has given the Episcopal Church the audits, budgets and budget narratives that the church asks of all its block grant recipients.
While Hicks said the ACC has said it needs more money to pay for the newly formed Panel of Reference and the listening process advocated by the Windsor Report, she also said she thought that it was "immaterial" why ACC needed the money.
"I think it's important for our relationship with the ACC not to nitpick and ask what do you need it for," she said.
Hicks and Sauls said that meeting the ACC's request was similar to what congregations ask of their members and dioceses ask of their congregations.
"If we don't do this I think we will have lost a large amount of moral authority," Sauls said.
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold agreed. "If we don't model it, how can we expect people to meet our own askings," he said.
The $550,000 came from other domestic and international mission programs, including eliminating a $180,000 increase in funding to the covenant with Liberia, $136,000 for grants and meetings of domestic mission partners, and a $108,000 increase from the budget for historically black colleges; zeroing out $75,000 for the Commission of Religion in Appalachia and $42,000 for the Episcopal Appalachian Ministries; and taking $9,000 from the contingency fund for overseas dioceses.
Some council members objected to cutting mission programs, especially domestic ones, to pay for an increased contribution to the ACC. But Sauls, who first proposed the cuts in the council's Administration and Finance Committee, said he did not think that the ministries in Appalachia would be hurt and might be helped. Sauls also said that sometimes sacrifices must be made at home for the good of the larger community.
After the council approved the $550,000 increase, Catherine Roskam, bishop suffragan of New York and a member of the council's ACC deputation, told the council that she had abstained from the vote because she "couldn't think clearly enough" because of the strong feelings she still has about the way the deputation had been treated at the last ACC meeting in Nottingham. She said she also thought that the council had not had a full enough discussion on a decision that had "a lot of implications."
She said that no matter how the question was decided, it would be interpreted in various ways by people on all sides of the issue of the Episcopal Church's relationship with the Anglican Communion. "I don't think how we're seen is a very good criterion for making decisions," she said.
The 2007-2009 budget assumes increases in diocesan revenue commitments of 2.5 percent, three percent and three percent in the consecutive years of the period. (Church canons require a balanced budget.)
The budget assumes a five percent draw on endowment funds, which is one half percent less than that in the current triennium. The half percent amounts to about $3 million. The budget also anticipates receiving a net rental income of $2.2 million for space in the newly renovated Church Center in New York City.
The budget also promises to reduce staff costs by $825,000 during the three years through attrition and retirements.
In terms of expenses, major increases involve:
+ repayment of the line of credit used to pay for the $34 million renovation of the Church Center
+ the Church Deployment Office, for research and development and administering the Fresh Start program for clergy and parishes
+ increased rent and the addition of a digital content manager for the Archives of the Episcopal Church
+ reserves for presiding bishop transition costs every nine years
+ increased support for the Pastoral Leadership Search Effort (PLSE)
+ increased spending for missionaries and the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC)
+ a two percent increase in staff salaries each year
+ increased Jubilee Grants
+ expanded special assistance grants for Episcopal Migration Ministries.
The council on January 12 also approved a revised budget for 2006, the final year of the 2004-2006 triennium, of $50,078,679. The triennial budget total is $141,998,422, including a projected surplus estimated at $18,730.
The 2006 budget reflects $29.2 million in income from diocesan commitments both in signed pledges and indications of pledges. That amount is a two percent increase from 2005. Among the signed pledges, 25 dioceses will meet the church's asking of 21 percent of income.
The budget assumes increases in expenses due to General Convention, the transition and installation of the 26th Presiding Bishop, increased use of translators and a joint meeting of all committees, commissions, agencies and boards (CCABs) in November 2006. Mission program increases are in line with income growth. Staff salaries will see an overall three percent increase.
As part of its report on the 2004-2006 triennial budget, the A&F committee told the council that the church is more than meeting the United Nations' call for directing 0.7 percent of income in support of its Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Out of a triennium revenue of $124,476,418, some $8,182 million of direct spending can be attributed to MDG initiatives. Contributed services such as utilities, mail services, telecommunications and information technology amount to another $1,768,546 ,for a total of $9,950,546, or eight percent of income.
In other actions, the council:
+ Authorized a $3 million increase in the cost for renovating the Church Center at 815 Second Avenue in New York to pay for change orders required by unforeseen costs.
+ Authorized the creation of the Episcopal Church Diocesan Emergency Fund (ECDEF) to help dioceses in emergency situations meet salary and insurance needs of clergy and lay staff (NAC-041) and said the fund should provide relief to Gulf Coast dioceses as promptly as possible. The Rt. Rev. George Packard, Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies and one of the leaders of the church's recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast, said that clergy and lay staff who live through traumatic events need "compassionate sustainment" as they sort out whether they can and will stay in place or look for new jobs.
Amid warnings that changes in the climate will mean future disasters such as those that struck the Gulf Coast, church treasurer Kurt Barnes urged the council to have the fund investigate whether dioceses and congregations should have business-contingency insurance rather than expect ECDEF to cover such expenses.
The council asked for a report at its March meeting in Philadelphia on the progress towards providing relief and setting up ECDEF.
+ Passed resolution AF-102 that recommends to PB&F that it tell the Convention that resolutions with funding requests and implications that are passed by the Convention but not included in the budget will not be considered for funding in the coming triennium. If there is a surplus at the end of that triennium, it would reimburse the endowment if the previous triennium's budget drew more than five percent from those funds. If the draw was at the normal five percent, or if money remains after a needed reimbursement, a committee would be set up to consider new mission initiatives.
+ Heard a statement from its National Concerns Committee urging the Presiding Bishop to share as much information as he can about pastoral and legal efforts the church has undertaken in the last three years "to support the church's unity and future well-being." Those efforts mainly concern parishes troubled by the actions of the 2003 General Convention. The committee's statement said clergy and lay people are anxious about relationships within the church and that learning about what is being done would help ease that anxiety. It also asked that the information be disseminated widely before the coming General Convention in June.
+ Commended to dioceses and individual Episcopalians the call for mutual listening on matters of human sexuality by provinces of the Anglican Communion, urging that those listening experiences involve gay and lesbian Anglicans, and directed the church treasurer to identify discretionary and other money that might help financially strapped dioceses to participate in those conversations. Proposals to provide money from the church and have the program administered through the Office of the Presiding Bishop were taken out of the resolution that eventually came to the full council.
+ Approved the Episcopal Church's membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The membership had caused some controversy during the last General Convention. In a related resolution (NAC-040), the council asked for a report at its March meeting regarding "membership of or on behalf of the Episcopal Church in external organizations." The National Concerns Committee is considering whether the church needs a more specific policy on membership in such organizations.
+ Heard from Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster, the Anglican Church of Canada's partner representative on the Executive Council. Ingham told the council that he was gratified by the 15-year partnership between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church that he said has helped to "reestablish the common mission of Christ we all share." Speaking about the division of North America after the American Revolution, he told the council that this renewed relationship is a good example of how it "takes courage for future generations to overcome our own histories."
Administration and Finance Committee
A&F 092: All resolutions passed by the Executive Council shall be deemed, as appropriate, to have been passed by the Board of Directors of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.
A&F 093: Affirm the recommendations of the Commission on Theological Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, and approve the following requests in the total amount of $428,690 from the income of Trust Fund #809.
A & F 094: Appoint to the Investment Committee the Rev. Maurice Goldsmith, replacing Jean Sheridan.
A & F 095: Adopt revised official Travel Guidelines for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, effective 01/01/06.
A & F 096: Set dividend rate for 2006 for the DFMS Trust Fund portfolios available to support the operating budget of DFMS at $1.05 per share; and set he dividend rate for 2006 for Trust Funds in the DFMS Endowment Portfolio that are not available to support the operating budget of DFMS be set at $1..05 per share.
A & F 097: Approve the 2006 revised budget for The Episcopal Church.
A & F 098: Approve the proposed budget for the Episcopal Church for the 2007-2009 triennium, as amended.
A & F 099: Set formulas for clergy housing allowances for DFMS staff clergy..
A & F 100: Set 2006 parsonage allowance for Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold.
A & F 101: Establish Trust Fund #1007 to hold and invest funds from the Bishop Gray Inns Foundation, Winter Park, Florida.
A & F 102: Recommend to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget & Finance that they include in the budget presentation at General Convention (GC) that resolutions with funding requests/implications that are passed by GC, but not included in the budget, will not be considered for funding by the council once GC has concluded, except under a process outlined in the resolution for dealing with triennium surpluses.
A & F 103: Amend resolution AF-031 (project budget for the renovation of the Episcopal Church Center} not to exceed $34 million.
Congregations in Ministry Committee
CIM 041-a: Amends CIM 041 to remove mention of a publication so that cost of providing that publication would not be incurred.
CIM 043: Requests that, since liturgy celebrates the common life of the church, the planning, the worship leaders, the languages, the music, and the visual imagery for the worship of the General Convention reflect the full diversity of church.
CIM 044: Approve the proposal of Ministry with Young Adults and Youth to support General Convention 2006 youth and young adult activities with a grant of $108,885 from the Constable Fund.
International Concerns Committee
INC 060: Welcomes and encourages the call for mutual listening on matters of human sexuality by provinces of the Anglican Communion.
INC 061: Commends the Diocese of Dominican Republic and the Diocese of Haiti for their plans to convene a Consultation on Mission in Port au Prince in September for the purpose of increasing mutual understanding and working toward reconciliation and peace between their countries and allocated $10,000 in support.
INC 062: Commends the Diocese of Haiti for its initiative in establishing the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace and Reconciliation in Port au Prince, Haiti, and agrees to send thee council members to the opening on February 12.
INC 063: Agrees to convene in an Episcopal diocese outside the United States for at least one of regular council meeting in the 2007-09 triennium and suggests the Diocese of Haiti, the Diocese of Venezuela, or one of the two dioceses in Ecuador, in that priority order.
INC 064: Commends to the church "Eradicating Global Poverty: a Christian Study Guide on the Millennium Development Goals," a study guide produced by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
INC 065: Approves a resolution to present to General Convention recommending study of "A Covenant for Communion in Mission" developed by the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism.
National Concerns Committee
NAC 017: Approve the Episcopal Church membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
NAC 038: Changes a proposed General Convention resolution to change the date for dioceses to report on the issues of Episcopal Church involvement in slavery.
NAC 039: Reviews Jubilee Grants made.
NAC 040: Requests information from Church Center staff for its March 2006 meeting regarding membership of or on behalf of TEC in external organizations.
NAC 041: Authorizes creation of the Episcopal Church Diocesan Emergency Fund (ECDEF).