Living Church: Facing $1M Deficit, Michigan Sets Funding Priorities

An estimated 300 clergy and lay delegates from the Diocese of Michigan met April 18 for a six-hour special convention to address an anticipated $1 million diocesan deficit.

Meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit, delegates ranked funding priorities from among 17 categories and reviewed long-term strategy options for use by diocesan council as it seeks to reconcile income and expenses.

Ministry with youth and young adults was ranked as the top priority, with congregational vitality a close second and discernment and training for ministry finishing third. Evangelism and total ministry, or ministry of all the baptized, tied for last.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

7 comments on “Living Church: Facing $1M Deficit, Michigan Sets Funding Priorities

  1. Rob Eaton+ says:

    So the diocesan survey gets “postponed” to save money. The Natural Church Development (NCD) people would say that was extremely a wise move, in concert with the priorities exercise at a diocesan convention where one could expect to have a good majority of the diocesan leadership participating. NCD starts in the parish by asking that only 30 people in the congregation complete an extensive questionnaire about the health and vitality of the congregation, that is, the people in leadership who should be “in the know” and in the middle of it all, are asked to say “what’s going on.” That’s the only way they’ve discovered to get as accurate a read of the parish as possible. The diocesan survey presumes that question by moving ahead to the question, “Where should we put our ministry dollars?” Presumptions can allow misunderstandings to be created.

    With that, the placement of Evangelism in last place as a priority says one of two things to me:
    1) The folks don’t understand what Evangelism really means, or
    2) The folks do know what Evangelism is, but recognize the need to keep the boat from sinking before bringing anybody else on board.

    My caveat to 1) is dependent on how they define youth and young adult ministry. If they mean education and discipleship of what they have in order not to lose any more, then the leadership of the diocese doesn’t understand. If, however, youth and young adult ministry means “we need to go get some in our churches”, then the leaders of the diocese are talking evangelism (and ranking it highest priority) without realizing it.
    The trick is in developing the right text for such an exercise. However, if the people putting together the exercise don’t understand that such discrepancies in understanding might even exist (“of course they all understand what we mean”) then they will face the added work of unpacking the priorities after the tally is made.

  2. mannainthewilderness says:

    [i]Evangelism and total ministry, or ministry of all the baptized, tied for last.[/i] — What’s the adage in the business world, “If you are not growing, you are dying”? You would think that the common sense top approach would be to try and draw others in because that would address many of the other ministries within the diocese. Alas, only the diocese of SC seems to have an understanding of this. Of course, if you have nothing to offer the unchurched, they will feel no reason to join . . .

  3. robroy says:

    [blockquote] “We are not alone in facing our challenges or our opportunities,” Bishop Gibbs said. “The time has come for use to be in conversation with our Episcopal neighbors to our west and to our north about ways to collaborate in areas of mission, ministry and administration.”[/blockquote]
    Don’t know which dioceses will be the first to start the merging process, in Michigan or Wisconsin (with Pennsylvania following shortly thereafter). But the rule for Episcopal parish mergers: 1 + 1 < 2 will be in effect for dioceses, too.

  4. TomRightmyer says:

    People in North Carolina remember Bishop Penick who ran the diocese with a part time secretary / bookkeeper. I wonder what the effect might be of reducing diocesan expenses to a bishop at say twice the diocesan minimum salary plus such a support person.

  5. Knapsack says:

    Re: linked story — Um, it’s prinicpal. Of course, wanting “to spend the principle” has an ironic subtext all its own.

  6. Michael+ says:

    I find it odd that “total ministry” (?) and evngelism got so few votes. My quick look at the data suggested that they made the bottom not because folks thought they were unimportant (voted them low) but because folks just didn’t vote for them at all. Very unusual.

  7. Statmann says:

    After reading the article I was left with one question: where’s the beef (budget)? It reminds me of the elephant giving birth to a gnat; after much labor, what? Statmann