Episcopal Life Convention Daily
Friday, 14 July 2000  

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Putting our money where our mouth is

Both houses passed the $138 million triennial proposed budget Thursday with only one amendment but no changes to the line-item allocations.

The House of Deputies passed an amendment requiring the next budget report and proposal from the presiding bishop and Executive Council to include descriptions for each year of the preceding triennium of actual income and expenses. It also requires relating income to the church's priorities and an accounting of the endowment balance on investment return. It also requires the report to be available online. Deputies defeated proposed amendments to shift funds to the Church Pension Fund's CREDO clergy wellness program and to fund separately the singleparent support program at historically black colleges. The House of Bishops concurred with the amended budget.

Both houses sought clarification on nearly $2 million of unrestricted endowment fund principle used to fund the budget fully. "I want you to be assured that this is proposed as a one-time draw," Program, Budget and Finance Committee chair Bonnie Anderson (Michigan) said. "It is offered in the spirit of Jubilee."

Paying up

Several deputies and bishops supported the 21 percent asking and encouraged all dioceses to meet it.

Bishop Richard Shimpfky (El Camino Real) observed that the budget, adjusted for inflation, is increased by 9.5 percent, with 100 percent of the increase funded out of unrestricted endowment income. Twenty-four percent of this budget represents unrestricted endowment spending income, he said. "That is one quarter of this budget. We, dear brothers and sisters, are living off our parents as the last generation of givers to this church."

"So many of us are in a position to make a difference," he stated. "We are the only ones, perhaps, who can get good stewardship into our diocesan budgeting process and therefore into the greater church. We can pay our full askings."

In response to a query by Bishop Robert Ihloff (Maryland), Anderson said a plan would be developed for communicating and working with dioceses that did not meet their asking.

Two Southwest Florida deputies spoke in favor of a 10 percent tithe, such as they use for their diocesan budget.

Highlighting the importance of teaching financial stewardship, Bishop Catherine Waynick (Indianapolis) stated "What we do with our money is just as spiritual an issue as prayer and I think we need to get over our shyness of talking about it."

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