Budget Process for the Episcopal Church

Our current canons contain a number of unclear, conflicting, and outdated budget procedures. We propose updating them to reflect current practice regarding budget development and oversight. In addition, we propose changing the provisions regarding the support asked from dioceses to clarify that full support is expected from all dioceses, and that dioceses that do not comply with the full assessment amount, and that do not receive a waiver from Executive Council, may be subject to some sanctions, including ineligibility for DFMS grants or loans, and ineligibility of lay, clergy, or bishops from those dioceses to be elected or appointed to church-wide bodies.

D013: Budget Process for the Episcopal Church

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, that the 78th General Convention amend the Canons in order to conform the canonical budget process to the current practice of the Church, and be it further,

Resolved, that full payment of the assessments asked of dioceses be made mandatory of each diocese, with an appeal process that allows Executive Council to grant waivers; and be it further

Resolved, that the Canon 1.1.8, Canon I.1.11, Canon I.1.13(b), Canon I.2.6, Canon I.4.6, and Joint Rules of Order of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies 10(c) be amended as follows:

Canon I.1.8

Sec. 8. The General Convention shall adopt, at each regular meeting, a budget to provide for the contingent expenses of the General Convention, the stipend of the Presiding Bishop together with the necessary expenses of that office, the necessary stipend expenses of the President of the House of Deputies together with the necessary expenses of that office, including the staff and Advisory Council required to assist in the performance of the duties and matters related to the President’s office, and the applicable Church Pension Fund assessments. To defray the expense of this budget, an assessment shall be levied upon the Dioceses of the Church in accordance with a formula which the Convention shall adopt as part of this Expense Budget. It shall be the duty of each Diocesan Convention to forward to the Treasurer of the General Convention annually, on the first Monday of January, the amount of the assessment levied upon that Diocese.

Canon I.1.11

Sec. 11. The Treasurer Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance shall submit to the General Convention at each regular meeting thereof a detailed budget in which the Treasurer proposes to request appropriations for the ensuing budgetary period. The Chief Financial Officer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, under the direction of the Treasurer and Executive Council, shall have power to expend all sums of money covered by this budget, subject to such provisions of the Canons as shall be applicable.

Canon I.1.13(b)

(b) The Executive Office of the General Convention shall include the functions of the Secretary and the Treasurer of the General Convention and those of the Manager of the General Convention and, if the several positions are filled by different persons, such officers shall serve under the general supervision of the General Convention Executive Officer, who shall also coordinate the work of the Committees, Commissions, Boards and Agencies funded by the General Convention Expense Budget.

Canon I.2.6

Sec. 6. The stipends of the Presiding Bishop and such personal assistants as may be necessary during the Presiding Bishop’s term of office for the effective performance of the duties, and the necessary expenses of that office, shall be fixed by the General Convention and shall be provided for in the budget to be submitted by the Treasurer Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance, as provided in the Canon entitled, “Of the General Convention.”

Canon I.4.6

Sec. 6 (a) The Executive Council shall submit to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance the General Convention at each regular session thereof the proposed Budget for the Episcopal Church for the ensuing budgetary period, which budgetary period shall be equal to the interval between regular meetings of the General Convention. The proposed budget shall be submitted not less than four months before the ensuing General Convention is convened. 

(b) The budget proposed for adoption by General Convention shall include a Canonical and corporate portion which shall provide for the contingent expenses of the General Convention, the stipend of the Presiding Bishop together with the necessary expenses of that office, the necessary expenses of the President of the House of Deputies, including the staff and Advisory Council required to assist in the performance of the duties and matters related to the President’s office, and the applicable Church Pension Fund assessments, and also the corporate requirements for the administrative support of the Domestic & Foreign Missionary Society offices.

(c) (b) The budget proposed for adoption by the General Convention shall include provision for support for the Program  all expenditures of the Episcopal Church. The program so submitted shall include a detailed budget of that part of the program for which it proposes to make appropriations for the ensuing year, and estimated budgets for the succeeding portion of the budgetary period.

(d) (c) Revenue to support the Budget for the Episcopal Church shall be generated primarily by a single asking assessment of the Dioceses of the church based on a formula which the General Convention shall adopt as part of its Program, Budget, and Finance process. If in any year the total anticipated income for budget support is less than the amount required to support the budget approved by the General Convention, the canonical portion of the Budget for the Episcopal Church shall have funding priority over any other budget areas subject to any decreases necessary to maintain a balanced budget.

(d) Full payment of the diocesan assessment shall be expected of all dioceses. Any diocese may appeal to Executive Council for a Waiver of the required assessment, in full or in part, on the basis of financial hardship, a stated plan for working toward full payment, or other reasons as agreed with Executive Council. Failure to make full payment or to receive a Waiver shall render bishops, clergy, and lay persons from the diocese ineligible for appointment or election to an office in the church-wide structure, and shall render the diocese ineligible to receive grants or loans from the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. This provision shall take effect with the 79th General Convention. 

(e) After the preparation of the budget the Executive Council Chief Financial Officer shall, at least four months before the sessions of the General Convention, transmit to the Bishop of each Diocese and to the President of each Province a statement of the existing and the proposed askings assessment necessary to support the Budget for the Episcopal Church. The Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance shall also submit to the General Convention, with the budget, a plan for the askings assessments of the respective Dioceses of the sum needed to execute the budget.

(f) There shall be joint sessions of the two Houses for the presentation of the Budget for the Episcopal Church; and thereafter consideration shall be given and appropriate action taken thereon by the General Convention. The Council shall have the power to expend all sums of money covered by the budget and estimated budgets approved by the Convention, subject to such restrictions as may be imposed by the General Convention, including but not limited to the priority declaration set forth in Section 6(d) (c) of this Canon. It shall also have power to undertake such other work provided for in the budget approved by the General Convention, or other work under the jurisdiction of the Council, the need for which may have arisen after the action of the General Convention, as in the judgment of the Council its income will warrant.

(g) Upon the adoption by the General Convention of a Budget for the Episcopal Church and the planned askings assessments for the budgetary period, the Council shall formally advise each Diocese of its share of the total askings assessments to support the Budget for the Episcopal Church.

(h) Each Diocese shall thereupon notify each Parish and Mission of the amount of the askings assessments of such Diocese. Each Diocese shall present to each Parish and Mission a total objective which shall include both its share of the proposed Diocesan Budget and its share of the asking assessments of the Diocese by the Executive Council Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget, and Finance in accordance with the plan adopted by the General Convention.

Canon I.4.6(k)

In respect of the Budget for the Episcopal Church, the Executive Council shall have the power to consider and vote to make such adjustments therein, or additions thereto, as it shall deem to be necessary or expedient, and which, in its judgment, available funds and anticipated income will warrant; and it shall likewise have the power to grant waivers from the full required annual assessments of Dioceses within the limit established by the General Convention.

Joint Rules of Order of the House of Bishops and House of Deputies

II Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance

10. (c) During the interim between regular Meetings of the General Convention, the Joint Standing Committee shall act in an advisory capacity to the officers of the General Convention and to the Executive Council, holding such meetings as may be deemed necessary for the purpose. Meetings of the Joint Standing Committee shall be called by the Chair, or upon the request of any five members thereof. In respect of the Budget for the Episcopal Church, the Joint Standing Committee shall have the power to consider, and either by vote by mail, or in meeting assembled, to make such adjustments therein, or additions thereto, as it shall deem to be necessary or expedient, and which, in its judgment, available funds and anticipated income will warrant; and it shall likewise have the power to adjust the annual askings of Dioceses within the limit established by the General Convention.

With regard to the General Church Program, the Joint Standing Committee shall:

(i) Meet and consult with the Executive Council, or its Administration and Finance Committee, on adjustments to the program priorities, and on alternate income generating resources;
(ii) Receive from the Executive Council, not less than four months prior to the meeting of General Convention, the proposed General Church Program budget for the upcoming triennium, including a proposed detailed Budget for the year next following that of such Convention;
(iii) Meet in such places as it shall determine, sufficiently in advance of the next General Convention to expedite its work;
(iv) Conduct hearings upon such proposed Program and Budget; and
(v) Consider such proposed Program and Budget and report thereon to the next succeeding General Convention.

5 Comments

  1. Lisa Fox

    I think there are some things here, and I have questions.

    Canon I.2.6: Why transfer this responsibility from the Treasurer to the JSCPBD? I’ll confess I don’t know much about their current roles and parameters of authority.

    Canon I.4.6d: I’m generally supportive of this change. In the spirit of fairness, it seems to that those dioceses who can afford to pay but withhold their contributions should have to deal with some consequences. Would this mean that a priest in a diocese not paying its full assessment would be disqualified from standing for an episcopal election in his/her own or another diocese?

    Reply
  2. Episcopal Resurrection (Post author)

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the comment.

    Canon 1.2.6: this is simply a change to confirm the canons to our actual practice. The treasurer doesn’t submit the budget; PB&F does. We’ve been operating contrary to this canon for as long as I’ve been going to Convention, and I think a lot longer.

    Canon 1.4.6d: I don’t think this would prohibit priests from a diocese not paying its full assessment from standing for election as bishop in any diocese, because a diocesan position is not a “position in the church-wide structure.”

    Thanks for the good questions – Susan.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Fox

      Thanks for the clarification, Susan, about the role of Treasurer.

      But I would argue that election to the episcopate is very much a “position in the church wide structure.” If you all don’t mean this to affect episcopal elections, you might want to look again at the language of the resolution.

      Reply
      1. Susan Brown Snook

        Good point, Lisa. I believe we’ve already submitted this resolution, but Adam and I are both serving on the legislative committee on Governance & Structure, where I imagine this resolution will go, so we’ll make sure this gets clarified. Blessings!

        Reply
  3. Daniel Martins

    As the Bishop of a diocese that paid its full asking up until the events of 2003, but no longer does, I must observe that this is a complex issue for which the canonical change proposed here will probably not be helpful. The reason my diocese does not pay its full asking began life as a principled stand, has been nourished by misconception about what the money is actually used for, fueled by polemic, and has now become mostly a matter of financial exigency in an era of a shrinking financial base. Getting the Diocese of Springfield to reverse this trend will be a long process that will only begin after we completely stop talking about sex and sexual interest groups at a churchwide level, and I have had an opportunity to educate people about the distinction between the DFMS program budget and the inflammatory statements of church leaders.

    In the meantime, what WOULD help is for PB&F to delineate the portion of the asking (or, should it become such, an assessment) that covers the direct expenses of General Convention, as distinct from DFMS program. I would have an easier time persuading people here of the moral imperative of paying that amount than I would be of getting them to swallow the whole bite.

    And I should probably add that the proposed sanctions for non-compliance would probably be more welcomed than feared!

    Reply

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