Thursday, February 14, 2008

Another Sign That The Episcopal Church Remains Healthy

Members of Executive Council and some of the staff from the Episcopal Church Center have been meeting in Quito, Ecuador. Mark Harris, a member of Executive Council, offers us some thoughts on the meeting, and points us to the reports of others.

One report from Episcopal Life contained the following bit of news:

Members of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council February 13 learned that diocesan financial contributions to the wider church's budget exceeded what was expected in 2007 and will likely also increase in 2008.

Josephine Hicks of the Diocese of North Carolina, chair of Council's Administration and Finance Committee (A&F), and Episcopal Church Treasurer Kurt Barnes reviewed the performance of the 2007 budget and presented A&F's proposed 2008 budget...

...(Hicks) and Barnes noted that among the highlights of the 2007 budget is higher-than-expected income from dioceses. Representative of that increase is the extra $50,000 that will come to the wider church from the Diocese of Puerto Rico, Hicks said. Puerto Rico Bishop David Alvarez, a member of Council, received warm applause at that news.

Overall, the 2007 budget included about $1.9 million in increased income. The 2007 budget year ended with a $1.05 million surplus, compared to an anticipated $807,935 deficit. The savings came, Barnes said, through the higher diocesan income, increased interest on short-term reserves, and a control of expenses which included leaving some Church Center positions unfilled.

The 2008 budget calls for income of $51.7 million and expenses of $51.2 million, Barnes said.

He predicted a 4% increase in diocesan giving, based a trend that shows such giving typically increases each year by 3-4%. The income side also includes an anticipated $300,000 in giving from individuals and congregations in addition to -- or in lieu of -- that given by their dioceses, according to Barnes...
We ended 2007 with a surplus, instead of an anticipated deficit, due partially to higher than expected income from the dioceses.

Keep in mind that since 2003, the budget has been adjusted downwards in anticipation of some loss of revenue due to the "current unpleasantness." It appears that as of 2007, that loss has been less than expected.

Numbers are often given too much importance when trying to understand a situation. But they cannot be disregarded, either. They usually help us form some kind of picture of the overall health of an organization. These numbers are one more indication that the wounds are beginning to heal.

Now maybe we can get on with the work of our mission; to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.


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