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From Columbus: Budget committee hears requests

By Melodie Woerman
[Episcopal News Service]  More than three dozen people asked the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) to fund projects ranging from ministry to the deaf to a pilot program for ministry in New Orleans.

PB&F conducted a public hearing on spending the evening of June 14 to see what changes it might recommend to the nearly $152 million proposed 2007-2009 budget General Convention will be asked to adopt.

Speakers made appeals to restore funding for ministry to the deaf, three historically black colleges, ministry in Appalachia and Navajoland, and dioceses that make up the Domestic Mission Partnerships. Others spoke on behalf of new or increased funding for youth ministry, prison ministry, non-violence training and world mission programs.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which Convention added to one of its mission priorities on June 13, were the focus of several requests for funding to help the Church address issues of poverty.

Bishop Duncan Gray of the Diocese of Mississippi requested funding for what is believed to be the only Katrina-related resolution to come before General Convention. It would create a pilot project to gather data about ministry taking place in New Orleans that could later be translated to other locations around the country.

PB&F will conduct a public hearing on how to fund its proposed budget June 15 at 7:30 p.m.