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Diocesan Council Meeting Recap, Sept. 30, 2017

Diocesan Council Meeting Recap, Sept. 30, 2017

By the Rev. Mark Preece

Bishop Ely reflected on the House of Bishops’ meeting in Alaska, the long history of the Episcopal Church among the native peoples there, and the welcome he and his colleagues were given. Clearly moved, he encouraged us to read and disseminate their concluding Letter to the Church:

https://www.episcopalchurch.org/posts/publicaffairs/word-church-episcopal-churchs-house-bishops

Treasurer Gerry Davis presented his report, and highlighted the fact that, among churches that are paying their assessments in real time (as opposed to those who are paying estimates), the amount collected to date is significantly less than the amount projected. Given that the way assessments work was completely overhauled by last year’s Convention, there was much discussion about whether this represented simple seasonal variations, a flaw in the way we estimated revenues and growth last year, or a real shortfall in this year’s revenue.

Among churches that are paying their assessments in real time, the amount collected to date is significantly less than the amount projected.

The old assessment mechanism meant that parishes were paying based on previous years’ income, so Convention knew for a fact what diocesan revenue for the upcoming year would be when it passed a budget. In the current system, parishes are assessed on this year’s income, so Convention can only pass a budget based on projected revenue. So, we considered how we would address a shortfall in revenue if one indeed occurs this year. We proposed making up two-thirds of the shortfall with a combination of expense reductions at the diocesan level and withdrawal from diocesan equity assets, and one-third from parishes, using a formula that takes into account the difference between each parish’s projected and actual revenues.

We considered how we would address a shortfall in revenue if one indeed occurs this year.

We moved to a consideration of the 2018 budget, and produced a resolution to present to Convention that proposes…

  • a balanced budget of $1,003,610 (down from last year),
  • revised assessment tiers based on what we’ve learned this year, and making explicit the possibility of a “settling up” if projections differ significantly from actual revenues, and
  • a goal of $40,000 for the Alleluia Fund.

We moved to the Clergy Compensation resolution, and produced one keyed — as resolved by last year’s Convention — to median salary data for our region from the Church Pension Fund. Full time compensation was set at $61,466.

Council Priorities groups reported in. Convention planning was reported to be on course, and the longer term question of whether future Conventions would be held at the Cathedral (probably not), and where and when they might be held otherwise was briefly raised. Plans for an upcoming Clergy Day run by the Dismantling Racism and “isms” group were discussed. The meeting concluded with prayer at around 3:00 PM.

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