Seeking to ease the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on its dioceses, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church today approved a resolution allocating up to $40,000 to any diocese requesting assistance over the next 18 months.
The resolution follows a Jan. 25 commitment by the Executive Council to discern the best way to provide financial relief to The Episcopal Church’s 109 dioceses and to implement the plan as soon as feasible.
“Executive Council, made up of members from across the church-wide body each with their own pandemic struggles and stories, asserts that we are one church,” the January resolution states. “Across the church, life and finances are hard and faithful work is exhausting. The future, financial and otherwise, is uncertain and uncharted. We witness the determined and costly efforts across our church to continue in the Way of Love (as embodied by Jesus of Nazareth).”
The council invites diocesan leaders to consider what needs might be met by receiving a relief grant and submit their request online between May 1, 2021, and Nov. 30, 2022. The diocesan ecclesiastical authority should fill out the form and specify the amount requested.
Guided by the church’s Plan for Emergency Management, leaders are encouraged to consider how their diocese might use the funding:
- To be the church we are called to be in this time:
- Cover diocesan budget shortfall
- Provide support for diocesan congregations or institutions
- Provide support for diocesan programs or governance
- To strive for justice and peace, to respect dignity, and to fight racial injustice:
- Encourage outreach and justice work
- Explore and combat systems of oppression
- Promote beloved community among those who are estranged
- To support the most vulnerable, the marginalized, and the under-served and under-resourced within our church and beyond:
- Request the funds and share them with ministries, congregations, and dioceses in need or that support the most vulnerable among us
- Request the funds and share them with congregations, organizations, or institutions that are working on combating racism and white supremacy
- Not request a grant – undistributed funds for diocesan relief will be allocated after all requests are met.
Authorized funds will be wired to the diocesan account. In addition to providing the requested relief amount, applicants are invited to also mention any non-financial relief that would be helpful to their diocese, or anything else they want the Executive Council to know.
Receipt of a diocesan relief grant does not impact a diocese’s option to request a hardship waiver in connection with annual diocesan assessment fees.
The Executive Council hopes that those who receive grants will consider sharing with The Episcopal Church how the funds helped them in ministries within dioceses and beyond. Those who wish to do so can send their stories to Kurt Barnes before Dec. 31, 2022.
To request a grant, please fill out the Diocesan Request Form online at https://dfms.formstack.com/forms/diocesan_relief_grants.