The budget of the Episcopal Church
The General Convention passed a greatly reduced budget, down $24 million over three years. There are lots of things one could say about all this, but I think Mark Harris has it just right:
Various solutions having to do with “if every Episcopalian just gave…” were proposed. If every Episcopalian just gave 80 cents a year, or if every Episcopalian just gave $9 a year the budget could be restored. But of course the problem has been that every Episcopalian already gave at the office (the parish) and the parishes and dioceses just didn’t give full support to TEC’s budget. There has been a lot of voting with the pocketbook going on, and schemes that rely on reversing that vote by a missionary appeal or a comparison of having two lattes a year and keeping the church afloat don’t mean much. Lots of Episcopal Church folk are unmoved by missionary sending and receiving and more are unmoved by what they see as a bloated bureaucracy.
The vision thing requires more.
After hearing our Presiding Bishop preach three times in two weeks and having heard the President of the House of Deputies preach, I believe our leaders have what it takes for visionary leadership. I already thought that before being here, but my sense of this is stronger now. I heard many clergy and lay leaders speak here in Anaheim, and I think we have the raw materials for vision.
In some ways, i think this General Convention and its budget will make the space for a new vision to be articulated. The cloud of fear and anxiety was largely gone at this General Convention. Financial scarcity does several good things: jars us out of our complacency, forces us to stick to priorities, and encourages creativity.
Everything is in place for the Episcopal Church to articulate and live a vital and compelling vision. This is a great time to be an Episcopalian. It feels like we’ve turned the page into a new chapter — a chapter that I hope will be filled with growth, life, mission, and discipleship.