Sunday, September 02, 2007

Preliminary Report of the Program Budget & Review Cmte Regarding the Funding Mechanism for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia

Given the situation here in the Diocese of San Diego, I found interesting Sarah Hey's posting at Stand Firm on the preliminary budget report from the Diocese of Southern Virginia:

. . . As these issues continue diocese by diocese, parish by parish, the "Funding Mechanism" of each diocese will be revised and tinkered with, since dioceses, of course, must be maintained . . . particularly staff salaries and national church pledges. Those two things in particular are vital to the mission of the church, I'm told often.

With the above as background, a layperson in the Diocese of Southern Virginia emailed me the preliminary report from the Diocese of Southern Virginia and I'm posting it below for your perusal. . .

From the preliminary report itself:
. . . Over the past few years, the pledge amount has declined. The services that once were provided have been reduced or eliminated. Most colleges in our Diocese do not have chaplains. The Diocese provides minimum support to St. Paul’s College. The support for the outreach charities has dwindled; funding has dropped from $99,241 in 2002 to $50,745 in 2007. Small congregations and missions have not been supported fully. Youth and formation ministries have suffered.

As a result, Council delegates have asked the Executive Board to recommend an equitable mandatory assessment.

In considering various alternatives, this Report considered two components. One component is the “base” used to determine the pledge amount and the other component is the multiplier (i.e., the percentage). Further, any recommendation to amending the Canons should include a provision for “enforcement” of the Canon, as well as a means to excuse a parish that cannot afford to pledge the mandatory amount. The Canons need to answer the question: “What happens if a parish cannot afford or declines to comply with the Canon?”. . .

The report then lists five alternative funding alternatives, and ends with this delightful and godly section entitled "Failure to Comply."
Any revisions to the Canons also need to address this issue: failure of a parish to remit the amount due. Related to this, the Canons need to address “what if a parish can’t remit the mandatory amount?”

Typically, the penalty is the loss of voice and vote at Annual Council. Rather than setting a specific “punishment”, the Canons could require that the parish file an explanation with the Executive Board or a committee of the Executive Board that would recommend what action to take.

Canon VII Of Finances would include:

“Any Parish or Mission that fails to pledge and/ or remit its pledge based on this Canon must submit to a committee, established solely for this purpose, of the Executive Board a report on why it cannot comply. This committee shall review the facts and issue a recommendation to the Executive Board as to what actions the Diocese should take. The Executive Board, by a majority vote, then will determine the action to take against such parish or mission.”

Read it all.

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