In June, the Annual Conference overwhelmingly (by 97.6 percent) approved the 2023 Conference budget with no questions or discussion from the floor.
That support is great, Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CCFA) member Mary Tremblay says, but she wants to make sure people are aware of some of the significant steps that have been taken to cut spending and reduce overall Mission Shares.
“It was a surprising that there was no discussion around it,” she said. “We want to let people know why what happened has happened.”
The 2023 budget of $7,068,371 is $200,969 lower than the budget for 2022 and reflects a 10 percent decrease in Connectional Mission Shares billable to local churches totaling $100,000.
This budget is part of a three-year trend, beginning in 2021, Treasurer John Cardillo said, that has resulted in a total reduction in Conference spending of just over $1 million.
The following are the key components (totaling $1,053,000):
- Reducing the number of districts from nine to seven resulted in $403,000 in savings
- Reallocating some costs formerly supported by Mission Shares to other sources saved $442,000.
- For example, the Conference Trustees now pay for insuring the Conference office, district offices and parsonages.
- Connectional Mission Shares have been reduced by $208,000 to better reflect Mission Share collections and conference spending.
- Connectional Mission Shares is an estimated amount, designated as an expense, to account for churches that do not pay 100% of their Mission Shares.
It is worth noting that the Cabinet’s annual State of the Conference report announced that Mission Share percentages were up.
“Every single one of our seven districts increased in our percentage of giving to Mission Shares from 2020 to 2021. This is unheard of in anyone’s recent memory,” said Cabinet Dean Rev. Jill Colley Robinson, who delivered the report.
Cardillo attributes that, in part, to the work of the Cabinet, Episcopal Office, and Conference Boards to better liaison with local churches.
Asked how CCFA can continue this trend of reduced spending and a lower burden on local churches, Cardillo said, “By performing their duties by constantly reviewing Conference spending for budget adjustments, assisting churches with enhanced automation of IT systems, and notifying churches of any opportunities for funding churches such as the CARES Act [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act].”
In presenting the 2023 budget at the Annual Conference, Rev. Nancy Bischoff announced that CCFA plans to review “several long-standing Conference rules related to Mission Shares” to consider how they are applied and whether they are still relevant.
“Rules should be updated periodically, and we haven't gone back and looked at them in a long while,” Tremblay said.
Tremblay did say that CCFA has looked at how other conferences assess Mission Shares and found “the way we do it seemed to be the most equitable.”
CCFA expects to bring a report to the 2023 Annual Conference session.
Find the 2023 budget in the Pre-Conference Materials
NOTE: The budget approved at Annual Conference includes $600 added to the Archives and History Commission’s budget to account for the cost of archiving disaffiliated church records.
See the budget presentation and vote at Annual Conference
Read the State of the Conference report