The draft budget was approved by the Episcopal Church Executive Council at its January meeting.
The draft budget is now submitted to the General Convention through the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance, which will meet to consider the draft budget February 5 – 7. That committee will conduct hearings at General Convention and present a Budget to a joint meeting of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies on July 11.
Prior to its January meeting, Executive Council received input on the draft budget from a wide range of church members and leaders.
Chair of the Executive Council Finances for Mission Committee, Tess Judge, explained that the draft budget is based on the Jesus Movement, with Evangelism, Racial Reconciliation & Justice, and Environmental Stewardship as priorities, and includes allocations for the ministry of the Presiding Bishop, mission inside and beyond the Episcopal Church, and governance, legal, financial, operations.
“While budgets in the current and prior triennia were built to reflect the Five Marks of Mission, the Jesus Movement format reflects how the staff is organized, by department, rather than spread across Five Marks and other areas as in the past,” noted the Rev. Mally Ewing Lloyd, chair of Finances for Mission Committee Budget Sub-Committee. “Lines of communication, reporting, collaboration, and budget creation are clearer.”
Judge reaffirmed, “You can’t just look at one item in the Five Marks Budget, then look at a line with the same name in the Jesus Movement budget, and assume they are the same. It’s like comparing apples/oranges in many cases.”
Draft budget highlights
• Income and expenses are balanced at approximately $133.7 million each with a modest surplus of $2,654.
• Diocesan assessments are based on a commitment rate required by General Convention beginning January 1, 2019 of 15% of net operating income after an annual exemption of $140,000.
• Support is limited to 5% annual draws from the available trust funds because the extra draws taken during 2016-2018 are unwise and unsustainable.
• The Development Office will conduct annual appeals to raise $1,000,000 to fund ministries in the operating budget.
• $1 million of short-term reserves that were approved but not used during the 2016-2018 triennium will be used for the continuing work of Racial Reconciliation.
• Expense categories for the 2019-2021 budget do not perfectly correspond with the Five Marks budget categories so comparisons of expense totals between the triennial budgets are difficult.
• Total spending on churchwide ministry is, however, increased by nearly 9%.
To read the draft budget and the accompanying narrative, see here.
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention is held every three years to consider the legislative business of the church. General Convention is the bicameral governing body of the Church, comprised of the House of Bishops, with upwards of 200 active and retired bishops, and the House of Deputies, with clergy and lay deputies elected from the 109 dioceses and three regional areas of the Church, at more than 800 members. Between Conventions, the General Convention continues to work through its committees and commissions. The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church carries out the programs and policies adopted by General Convention.