[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F) has established a blog for comments on the church’s proposed draft 2013-2015 budget approved by Executive Council in January.
The blog is here.
“PB&F offers this blog as a place for the church to comment on the Executive Council draft budget,” Diane Pollard, PB&F chair, said in a press release from the Office of Public Affairs. “Concurrently, the purpose of the blog is also to give PB&F an additional way to hear the comments on the draft budget.”
Pollard, a deputy from the Diocese of New York, said that the blog is open to all: bishops, deputies, alternates, clergy and laity. It will be monitored by committee members, according to the release.
There are opportunities for people to comment on four areas of the budget as well as to relay general comments. The four areas are income and expenses, the canonical portion of the budget, the corporate portion and the program portion.
The draft 2013-2015 budget adopted by Executive Council in January is available on the General Convention website here under “Attendee Resources.” It is accompanied by a narrative explanation prepared by a subcommittee of Executive Council.
The draft budget represents $105 million in income from dioceses and investments plus other sources such as facilities rental, and an equal amount of expenses. That amount does not include income and expenses for the church’s refugee resettlement work, which is performed in large part under government grants. The total income for that government-supported work is forecast to be $47.6 million.
The draft budget reflects a decrease in income from the current triennium. That budget, as approved by General Convention in July 2009, was based on income of $141 million, including $118 million in non-governmental sources and $22.8 million in government grants for refugee resettlement.
In January, Treasurer Kurt Barnes estimated that 2010-2012 income from government grants to Episcopal Migration Ministries for its refugee resettlement work will have increased to slightly more than $40 million by the end of the triennium. At the same time, non-governmental income for the triennium is estimated to end up at $109 million rather than $118 million. That difference results from several factors: slightly reduced income from diocesan contributions, the closing of the unprofitable Episcopal Books and Resources and the Episcopal News Service’s monthly newspaper, and a reduction in fees received for the General Ordination Exams.
The difference in expected income for church-supported activities between the two triennial budgets is also due in part to General Convention’s decision in 2009 to reduce the amount of money the church’s 110 dioceses were asked to contribute to the cost of funding the denomination’s work. The amount went from 21 percent of diocesan income in 2010 to 20 percent in 2011 and 19 percent in 2012. The draft 2013-2015 budget is based on an annual 19 percent asking.
Following the approval by Executive Council, the draft budget of $105 million was sent to PB&F for review. During the July 4-12 meeting of General Convention in Indianapolis, the comments shared on the blog as well as the testimony received at three General Convention hearings will help to inform the budget that is presented to General Convention for approval, according to the press release. PB&F will prepare a proposed budget which then will be presented at a joint session of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops on July 10. Each house must approve the same version of the budget for it to become the budget for the next triennium.
“We ask your prayers and continued support as we begin this enormous task,” Pollard said in her greeting on the blog.