Report lists dioceses’ financial support of church’s 2012 budget

June 21, 2012

[Episcopal News Service] Just more than 41 percent of the Episcopal Church’s dioceses and regional areas have committed to contributing the full amount asked of them to fund the wider church’s 2012 budget.

According to a report posted June 21 here on the website of the church’s Finance Office, 46 of 111 entities reporting will pay 19 percent or more in 2012. Six of those dioceses have pledged to pay more than what is known as “the asking,” and which for this year is 19 percent of diocesan income.

Thirteen entities have not pledged to pay any portion of the 2012 asking. They are Colombia, Dallas, Ecuador Central, Ecuador Littoral, Georgia, Haiti, Honduras, Navajoland Area Mission, Quincy, San Joaquin, South Carolina, Taiwan and Venezuela.

Quincy and San Joaquin are two of the four dioceses that are rebuilding after a majority of their clergy and laity left the denomination because of theological disputes. Quincy is the smallest of the four. The other two, Fort Worth and Pittsburgh, have each pledged 19 percent.

Two dioceses – Arizona and Los Angeles – have committed to paying their full 2011 pledge at some time in the future.

An Office of Public Affairs press release announcing the availability of the report noted that Los Angeles has pledged to pay $780,261 “subsequent to conclusion of property [litigation] cases.” In 2011, the diocese paid nothing on income of $4 million. For 2012, the diocese will pledge the full 19 percent asking, amounting to $748,938 on $4 million in income, according to the release.

“We in the Diocese of Los Angeles appreciate the Episcopal Church Center’s recent clarification of our financial commitment to meeting our full diocesan pledge as set forward in the churchwide triennial budget,” Bishop Jon Bruno said in a statement emailed to ENS. “The Diocese of Los Angeles has a tradition of meeting its full asking, and the pledge amounts outstanding will be paid after resolution of our current property litigation. We will also continue to meet the full asking in the future while assisting as generously as we are able with special projects and collaboration within the wider Episcopal Church.”

Arizona paid $131,000 in 2011 on $2.4 million in income. The release said that the diocese has pledged to pay $327,300 “over time.” The diocese has pledged to pay $402,000 in 2012, based on income of $2.2 million.

“The Diocese of Arizona feels obligated to fulfill its commitment to the church-wide office. Just as we expect our parishes to bring their mission shares up-to-date, and we work with them on doing that, we also expect to fulfill our past due commitment to the Episcopal Church,” the Rev. Canon Timothy Dombek, Arizona canon to the ordinary, told ENS via email June 20.

“The Episcopal Church as a whole is very grateful for the faithfulness of dioceses who honor their commitments to our community, even when immediate concerns prevent them from doing so as quickly as they would like,” Bishop Stacy Sauls, Episcopal Church chief operating officer, said in the release. “All of us are grateful for their example.”

The Episcopal Church’s three-year budget is funded primarily by pledges from the church’s 109 dioceses and three regional mission areas. When the General Convention passes the budget it determines a percentage amount that it asks of those entities. (The Finance Office report includes the church’s 109 dioceses plus two of its three regional areas — the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and the Navajoland Area Mission. The third, the Episcopal Church in Micronesia, is not listed.)

Each year’s annual giving is based on a diocese’s income two years earlier, minus $120,000. Convention’s 2010-2012 budget was based on a 21 percent asking in 2010, 20 percent in 2011 and 19 percent in 2012.

After the 46 entities that pledged to pay all or more than the 19 percent ask in 2012 (which account for 41.4 percent of the 111 entities listed), come:

  • 13 pledging to pay between 17 percent and 18.9 percent (11.7 percent),
  • six pledging to pay between 13.1 percent and 16.9 percent (.05 percent),
  • 17 pledging to pay between 10 percent and 13 percent (15.3 percent) and
  • 16 pledging to pay between 1.5 percent and 9.9 percent (14.4 percent).

Diocesan commitments in 2011 and 2010 are here; those for 2009 are here.

– The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.