Shock budget proposed for TEC: The Church of England Newspaper, July 1, 2012 p 5. July 3, 2012Posted by geoconger in 77th General Convention, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: Katharine Jefferts Schori
Citing canons that authorize her to take a leadership role in the affairs of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has presented an alternate budget to the church less than two weeks before the start of its General Convention on 5 July 12.
The rival proposal seeks to supplant the budget produced by the Executive Council over the past year and re-order the church’s spending priorities according to categories derived from the “five marks of mission” adopted by the Anglican Consultative Council [ACC]. However, the ACC is one of biggest losers in Bishop Jeffert Schori’s budget with funding for the pan-Anglican body to be cut in half.
The new budget came as a surprise to the President of the House of Deputies – the co-equal leader of the church’s General Convention. President Bonnie Anderson declined to comment on the budget and told the Episcopal News Service said she would “study what she has come up with when I get home.”
Under the current rules, the church’s executive council is required to give the Program, Budget and Finance Committee a proposed budget four months before the opening day of the triennial meeting of General Convention. After publication the proposed budget is offered to the wider church for review. It is amended by the committee at the start of the meeting and then given to the convention for adoption.
In an eight page covering letter the presiding bishop stated her budget sought to create a “a more theologically based and strategic process” that was “spiritually enriching rather than depleting.”
While the present canons require the budget to be organized under the categories of canonical, corporate, and program expenses, these constructs “no longer adequately [serve] the Church in responding to a world very much in need of our partnership,” she said.
Her budget was organized along the “spiritual” priorities of mission, governance and administration. However, critics of the presiding bishop’s budget note that the theological budgeting constructs created by the presiding bishop strained good faith and was an exercise in “flim-flammery.”
Canon lawyer Allan Haley said the presiding bishop’s budget invited skepticism as “it allocates so many millions of dollars for show-window causes, without specifying how and by whom—other than by the [presiding bishop] herself—the money will be spent.”
The budget was fundamentally unsound he said and had been “calculated to appeal to the leftist ideology (think: social justice and world betterment) and twisted theology of both those at 815 and who will form the great majority at Indianapolis” attending the General Convention.
One loser in the new budget was the ACC. “Although the Executive Council had proposed a reduction in the Church’s support for the Anglican Communion Office from the past triennium’s $1,160,000 to $850,000, the PB now proposes to give the ACO just $500,000. At the same time, she proposes to use the savings in what would have been given to the ACO to enlarge the budget of the Church’s own Anglican Communion office by some $500,000 over what the EC had proposed for it,” Mr. Haley said.
“This will be touted as ‘a greater commitment’ to the Anglican Communion, but it is all in moneys to be spent by the PB in adding new staff and in entertaining visiting primates and other Communion dignitaries,” he said.
The chairman of the budget committee, Mrs. Diane Pollard welcomed the Presiding Bishop’s input. “The budget submitted today by the Presiding Bishop is yet another form of information for the Program Budget and Finance Committee. The process for shaping the final draft document will begin with the hearings held at our upcoming General Convention,” she said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.