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Budget Committee will work with Alternate Plan

The Episcopal Church’s Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PBF) will build its proposed 2013-2015 budget on the template of an alternative budget recently proposed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Committee members said in their discussion and vote during their first meeting of the 77th General Convention on the morning of July 4 that they were choosing the “template” of the presiding bishop’s budget proposal, and not necessarily its figures.

PBF issued a statement later in the day saying the budget was chosen because “it provides a clear missionary framework for budgeting and is based on updated information regarding income” and that the decision came “without commitment to any of the specific line items” in the budget.

The alternative budget has a different structure than the draft proposed budget approved in January by the church’s Executive Council and given to PBF as required by church canon (in Canon I.4.6) and the General Convention’s Joint Rules (in II.10 10 (a)). It is structured around the Anglican Communion’s Five Marks of Mission, which the General Convention endorsed in 2009 (via Resolution D027) and said the church’s 2013-2015 budget ought to center on the marks as “strategic priorities.”

The Presiding Bishop had offered the alternative budget on June 21, two weeks before Convention opened. The Rev. Canon Gregory Straub, General Convention secretary and the church’s executive officer, said that to his knowledge this was the first time a presiding bishop had proposed a budget after Executive Council had sent its draft budget to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance.

The alternative budget is “more clearly based on missional strategy than the current draft proposed budget” approved in January by the church’s Executive Council, Jefferts Schori said in an eight-page message that accompanied the proposed budget. (See the full story here.)

She said that “the heart” of the Episcopal Church is mission “in partnership with anyone who shares that passion” and her proposed budget “is intended to help us reorient ourselves to that passion.”

“The strategic and spiritual principle of this budget proposal is that the church is most truly itself, the Body of Christ, when it lives and breathes mission,” she said.

On July 6 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. PBF will hold a hearing on funding the 2013-2015 budget. On July 7 the committee will hold its third and final hearing on the spending side of the budget.

The committee is scheduled to present its proposed budget July 10 to a joint session of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies in the deputies’ hall. Lane told the committee early in the day that because the budget document must be to the printer by 3:00 p.m. local time July 9 at the latest, the committee will have its 2013-2015 proposed budget finished by noon that day.

A vote in each house is set for July 12, the last day of convention. The budget takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.

— Based on a report from Episcopal News Service


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