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Bishop Mark's Pre-Convention Hearing Response Letter

Bishop Mark’s Pre-Convention Hearing Response

Pre-Convention Hearing Responses

Thank you to the more than 100 of you who participated in the pre-convention hearings. The conversations were good and the questions probing. As each hearing covered quite different issues, I thought it would be helpful to bring the results together in one place to better enable us to have a fruitful convention.

In November 2019, we agreed on our diocesan vision: Be the Church Be the Change. It was the beginning of a movement toward a wholistic investment in worship, ministry, and mission.

Of course, the pandemic arrived in February 2020 and pushed us off course as we focused on keeping healthy together during this tumultuous time. We are weathering that storm, but the landscape now looks very different. We cannot just go back to the way things were. We must continue to be adaptive learners leaning forward in hope. I believe the foundation of our vision still holds true, although some of the ways we implement it will need to contour around this new landscape.

This is the first budget that moves into the life of our vision and so, there are several significant changes to acknowledge. Let’s look at some of the main points.

In 2019, we proposed selling Mission House and running a capital campaign to decrease our costs, broaden our revenue streams, and lesson or dependency on fair share assessments. The Taskforce for Business Management 2020 also recommended several efficiencies and staff transitions to move us in this direction.

We have made significant progress:

  • Mission House

o   We have a contract for the sale of Mission House and expect to close in 60 days.

  • Revenue Streams

o   We have grown our investments by approximately $2.7 million and with the sale of Mission House, we will surpass our goal of $3 million without the need of a capital campaign.

o   The development committee will change its focus from a diocesan capital campaign to supporting our faith communities’ stewardship and planned giving activities.

  • Reduce Administration Expenses

o   We will eliminate the Archdeacon for Administration and Receptionist positions.

o   We will replace the Missioner for Finance position with a Missioner for Operations and Finance, who will assume both the administrative responsibilities of the archdeacon and oversight of finances.

o   A financial firm has been contracted to do the bookkeeping.

o   We will rent office space.

  • Investing in Mission

o   We will triple our investment in support of our 11 faith communities located in the Mountain Region. As well as ensuring that the sacraments are celebrated, an Archdeacon will now work full-time in the Mountain Region to coordinate a holistic approach. A taskforce is putting together a strategic plan and we have adequate working capital reserves to support this new ministry for the next 3 years; In 2023, it is planned that the Mountain Ministry will begin to bring in additional outside financial resources.

o   We propose creating a new position of Canon Missioner to work directly with all of our faith communities to promote discipleship, evangelism, and church growth. This means that we will have two Canons supporting Faith Communities: Amy Cortright, Canon to the Ordinary and the new Canon Missioner, yet to be employed.

  • Fair Share Assessment

o   A review of the fair share assessment was taken at diocesan convention 2015 and put into operation on 1 January 2016. This is our current policy and includes a graduated assessment rate of 10%, 14% and 18% depending on operational revenue.

o   Discounts were provided and PPP loans/grants awarded in:

  • 2016 – faith communities at the 18% rate were reduced to 17%
  • 2020 – 16 faith communities received PPP loans/grants
  • 2021 – all faith communities were offered an 8.3% discount on assessment.

o   According to Canon 28, the Executive Council is charged with reviewing fair share assessments periodically. Considering the progress described above, it would be timely to offer a thorough review of assessments to be presented to Executive Council no later than May 2022, to coincide with the 2023 budget cycle.

I believe it is time to act, to step out in faith and to grow our church. This chronic decline needs to come to an end, and we are well placed to respond to the questions being raised in our society today, particularly among the young. Our rich liturgical tradition, Scriptural foundation, and social Gospel can give purpose and lead us into action. This is not wishful thinking but gospel hope and the courage to invest in our Church.

It is time. Let us Be the Church and Be the Change.

Bishop Mark

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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