The Program, Budget and Finance Committee published on June 30 a $122.2 million budget proposal for the 2016-2018 triennium that decreases the percentage that dioceses are expected to contribute from their own budgets from the current 19 percent to 15 percent over three years.
Responding to calls from around the church to make more money available at the local level, the budget cuts the asking to 18 percent in 2016, 16.5 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2018.
The proposed budget includes $3 million to plant new churches and non-traditional communities of faith, $2 million to promote racial justice and reconciliation and $750,000 for an evangelism effort that seeks to use Google search results as a way to connect seekers with local churches.
“We believe that all elements of the budget, including governance and administration, are about mission and mutual relationships: how we relate to those not currently members of our communities, to those in need both spiritually and materially, to those suffering from injustice and unjust structures, and to the care of the fragile earth, our island home,” wrote committee chair the Rev. Mally Lloyd of Massachusetts and vice chair Bishop Steven Lane of Maine.
PB&F will present the budget to General Convention at a joint session on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m.
The budget uses the Anglican Communion’s five Marks of Mission as its organizing principle, and raises funding in four of the five areas, while cutting some $200,000 from the section devoted primarily Christian formation.
Christian formation professionals say that the significant increases proposed for church planting and evangelism will be ineffective if the church does not invest in education and formation.
While the digital evangelism initiative, developed by the Rev. Jake Dell, manager of digital marketing and advertising sales on the Church Center staff, is allocated $750,000, the communications budget also includes an unspecified reduction of the same amount “to be identified by staff and management.”
Funding for ethnic and indigenous ministries and international partnerships is increased in the proposed budget, Lloyd and Lane wrote, and funding for the Anglican Communion Office is set at $1.2 million, an increase of $500,000 that returns the allocation to its 2009 level.
Like previous budgets, this one includes millions of dollars in grants to the Diocese of Haiti, the primarily Latin American and Caribbean dioceses in Province IX, the domestic dioceses of Alaska, Navajoland and North and South Dakota and Anglican provinces of Central America and Brazil.
The chairs noted the difficulty of receiving “a balanced and internally consistent” budget from the Executive Council” and then having to find money in response to resolutions passed at convention. PB and F received more than 130 resolutions with funding implications. “Reserving funds for new work must be a continuing priority for the church,” Lloyd and Lane wrote.
To support the budget, PB&F proposes a five percent draw on the church’s investment income, which Lloyd and Lane say is well below the 8.3 percent annual return investments have generated since 1993. Rental income from unused space in the church’s headquarters at 815 Second Avenue in New York may bring in $10 million in the next three years, the committee believes.
While the committee remains supportive of “a robust development office,” Lloyd and Lane wrote, “PB&F does not believe that the Development Office is currently in a place to provide an annual campaign of support for the operational budget of the church. Therefore, we have eliminated the expectation in the Executive Council budget that the Development Office will provide $2,000,000 for programs.”