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From Columbus: Committee proposes $152 million budget

[Episcopal News Service]  The Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) on June 19 introduced to a joint session of the General Convention a $152 million budget for the Episcopal Church in the next three years.

Proposed increases include new initiatives to support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a pilot project in response to the needs of the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina, block grants for Native American ministry and establishment of an office to solicit major gifts to benefit new church start-ups.

The budget meets a request by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) that all members increase their giving to the Communion in the coming three years. When additional calculations showed the actual dollar amount requested by the ACC was smaller than in earlier projections, that change permitted funding the full request; as well, ministries in Appalachia and three historically black Episcopal colleges that had been slated for reduction received funding.

PB&F chair Pan Adams said the MDG initiative will be a collaboration of Episcopal Relief and Development and Jubilee ministries, amounting to $924,000 for the triennium. Executive Council will oversee that effort. The only known Katrina-related resolution to come before General Convention will develop a strategy for a model missionary initiative in the area around New Orleans which will provide data on church development to the Episcopal Church as a whole.

A large portion of funding for the proposed budget will come from money paid by dioceses in response to the request for 21 percent of diocesan budgets. Diocesan commitments account for about 61 percent of projected income. Another 20 percent comes from interest on endowments, with additional funding provided by the federal government (to support refugee resettlement) and other sources.

The House of Deputies is scheduled to vote on the budget the afternoon of June 20; the House of Bishops will consider it after that.