Council adopts new approach to
shared ministry budget support
by Ana Watts
At its first meeting last week, the new Diocesan Council adopted a new approach to parish support of the shared ministry budget offered by diocesan treasurer Irene Adams and the diocesan finance committee. Parishes are being advised of their portion of the budget as calculated according to a new three-tier plan and it will go into effect on Jan. 1. The contribution level decreased for 51 parishes, and another six parishes’ contributions were increased within $1,000 of their current amount. The increased contributions of 20 per cent or more asked of 11 parishes will be phased in over the next one to four years.
Members of Council responded to Ms. Adams presentation of the new approach with a standing ovation. She in turn gave the credit to Gil Carter, chair of the finance committee, and committee members Martha Jo Hoyt and Geoffrey Hall, for developing what they believe is a fair, equitable, transparent and simple approach.
“Our overall ask is just over $1.4 million this year, significantly reduced from last year’s of $1.5M, said Ms. Adams. “It assumes all parishes will pay 100 per cent of the requested contribution. The new three-tier system makes that possible, except perhaps for the 11 larger parishes with their significantly increased shares. We have considered the phasing-in process in our planning. We have also included contingencies for ‘extenuating circumstances.’”
Because all parishes had submitted their up-to-date financial information to the diocese by November, Ms. Adams was able to use reliable figures to calculate the amount each parish needs to contribute to the Shared Ministry Budget in 2014. Parishes with income up to $50,000 are assessed at 10 per cent. Parishes with up to $50,000 more in income are assessed 15 per cent on the amount over the first $50,000. Parishes with income over $100,000 pay an additional 20 per cent on the amount over that level.
Figures for 2014 show parishes making contributions between 10 and 18 per cent of their total eligible operating income with an average contribution level of 13 per cent. Income includes envelope and open offerings, offerings from organizations, net proceeds of fundraisers, investment income and other operating income.
When the comprehensive guidelines, criteria and the process for considering extenuating circumstances are finalized they will be communicated to the parishes. Applications for this support will be received until Feb. 28 of this coming year. Beginning in 2015 the deadline will be the end of June.
“The success of our shared mission depends on parish cooperation,” said Ms. Adams. “We succeed when parishes honour their equitable shared ministry budget commitment, file complete parish returns on time, share information, and are willing to help one another for the good of all. Some parishes in this diocese already routinely contribute more than their share to the budget. It is that kind of grace and generosity that will enable us to build a budget reserve and be sensitive to extenuating circumstances.”
At the Diocesan Synod in November, Archbishop Claude Miller told the clergy and lay delegates: “If we want to be part of the body, there are responsibilities to go with it. I pray we take this seriously so we will be and will be known as members of one body.” Perhaps a unified, healthy body will answer his final question to synod as well. “How is an Anglican presence to be maintained across the Province of New Brunswick for the benefit of God’s mission in the world?”
03 December 2013