The Proposed Operating Budget for the Diocese of Colorado in 2010

“As a result of the extraordinary legal expenses associated with the property litigation involving Grace Church in Colorado Springs our reserves have been substantially reduced. Such litigation totalled $2,900,000. The combination of withdrawals for litigation expenditures and the stock market decline have caused the Diocesan unrestricted reserves to decline from $4,900,000 at January 1, 2006 to $750,000 currently. This decline has also lead to a significant decrease in the investment income to be received from these reserves in 2010

Check it out (8 page pdf).


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

34 comments on “The Proposed Operating Budget for the Diocese of Colorado in 2010

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    So you gotta imagine that the temptation to sell the now almost empty facilities of Grace and St. Stephen’s in Colorado Springs will be strong. But who would buy it? And of course, with this buyer’s market, the price would be terribly low, even if they could find a buyer.

    What a devastating sign of the sheer folly of pursuing all those expensive lawsuits. Especially against Don Armstrong+. And that’s merely from the financial perspective, not to mention the moral one.

    Now if only 815 would be as forthright as this diocese in fessing up to the real legal costs in the fierce battles they’ve waged relentlessly and ruthlessly across the country…

    David Handy+

  2. RomeAnglican says:

    And to think they call this “mission.”

  3. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    To think how they could have benefited the Kingdom of God with almost 3 million dollars. The could have built a church plant or literally fed a million people or more with that kind of money.

    Matthew 25:14-30

    14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

    19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

    21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

    22“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

    23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

    24“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

    26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

    28” ‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  4. Dan Crawford says:

    Why not multiply each lawsuit by 2500000? We might get a glimpse of the real cost of the Schori/Beer folly? Since Beer’s firm is one of those claiming fees, Mr. Beers also seems to be profiting personally from the folly. What a disgrace. And what a legacy.

  5. robroy says:

    The Grace and St Stephen’s physical plant supposedly costs $1 million / year. There is also a multi-million dollar mortgage. O’Neill has won an albatross or a white elephant.

    Endowment funds down from $4.9 million to $750,000! I note that they are going to take $73,000 from the endowment in 2010. I doubt they will make 10% return on their investments, so they are still spending down the endowment.

    I also note that they haven’t budgeted anything for summer camp. They are letting Trinity Camp go and were talking about getting a campsite closer to Denver. You know that ain’t really going to happen.

    But they have a [url= ]same sex partnered rector[/url]!

    What a legacy for O’Neill.

  6. FrJim says:


    Just thought I would pass on an interesting accounting trick.
    If spending millions of dollars in litigation is draining the diocesan reserves…STOP THE LITIGATION!


  7. Kendall Harmon says:

    These figures are staggering, by the way. That’s an 84.7% decrease in the endowment funds of the diocese in some 3 1/2 years approximately.

  8. Choir Stall says:

    The true change in this Church will happen when a few dioceses go into receivership or into forced mergers due to growing insignificance or debt. There are several viable candidates that for that distinction. Once they go belly-up, change will happen.
    Many-a-bishop is sweating today as they count the beans and the pot ain’t nowhere near full. And how they keep their jobs only God knows.

  9. Michael+ says:

    What staggering foolishness! That being said, gotta give ’em some props for publishing the data.

  10. APB says:

    One hopes that at least a few influential people in the diocese will be making calls to the bishop and his Standing Committee demanding explanations. It they are not forthcoming, and it is hard to see valid ones, they may realize it is time to clean house. How many people have any ideas how the SC is actually chosen in their diocese?

  11. robroy says:

    O’Neill was acting according to his fiduciary responsibility, doncha’ know?

    Last year’s budget had an asterisk – no legal funds were included in the totals. Supposedly this was approved by the Standing Committee. They didn’t want opposition forces using the costs as political ammo. I remember people asserting that the costs were going to be seven figures and others said they were being alarmists.

  12. Intercessor says:

    All is well….

  13. Bystander says:

    I hope that this gets widely distributed in the Diocese.

  14. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    It’s interesting he thinks he has a fiduciary responsibility to go after properties, but somehow doesn’t have a fiduciary responsibility to look after the diocesan endowment fund.

  15. Dan Crawford says:

    #13, don’t count on it.

  16. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) says:

    By contrast, our congregation was able to reach a compensation agreement with the Diocese of Kansas when we withdrew in 2005. We received clear title to our facility, an agreement that the Diocese would not use the same name for a new church for 25 years, and several other quite reasonable things.

    In return, the Diocese [i]receives[/i] a million dollars from us over a period of 11 years, half of it in a balloon at the end. That and they don’t have to maintain a facility they could not even remotely begin to fill and had absolutely no hope of ever doing so.

    Comparing directly to the Diocese of Colorado that is at least a $4 million swing in favour of how the Diocese of Kansas chose to handle thing, without even counting ongoing maintenance expense issues.

    The same thing could be said for northern Virginia, where +Lee was following +Wolfe’s lead, and now South Carolina. Everything changed in 2006. Since that summer, tens of millions of dollars have been squandered utterly for no purpose other than to flatter the self-justifying and vindictive pridefullness of the Presiding Bishop.

    After but three years the current approach of the PB and her allies can be seen clearly as abysmally bad stewardship, driven by an obvious meanness of spirit. I suspect it will also come to be seen as the greatest and most deeply flawed ecclesiastical folly of the early 21st Century church in America.

    It didn’t have to be this way. Not even close.

  17. RalphM says:

    Interesting that the unrestricted endowment is being depleted. What happens when the unrestricted money is all gone? How will they get enough $$ to litigate against the next departing church? Will they begin to drain restricted funds?

    Perhaps the folks in CO will get a pitch in the mail such as:
    “Please remember the DioCO in your will – we have set up a new endowment fund restricted to use in litigating against your fellow Christians. Please don’t allow your legacy to be squandered on anything trivial such as Mission. Remember: People are free to leave but the buildings are to be kept even if it means that we must cease to function!”

  18. robroy says:

    Also, note on the last page the budget item “Property management” which is the cost of maintaining empty buildings.

  19. mannainthewilderness says:

    17. They will “borrow” against the restricted funds, in effect writing an I.O.U. to themselves. It is perfectly acceptable in accounting circles. The question is whether there is any possibility of the I.O.U. being satisfied (paid back in the future) . . . The borrowing will show up in the appendix of the diocesan financial statements under the likely guise of a proposed “balanced Budget.”

  20. Tired of Hypocrisy says:


  21. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “I hope that this gets widely distributed in the Diocese.”

    There’s no reason why it should no be — laypeople and clergy can email the blog threads to all of their nearest and dearest fellow Episcopal Colorado friends and allies and request that it be forwarded to others.

    Plus, parish newsletters can print it all out nicely for their parishioners as well.

    TEC is a mighty small church — it’s amazing how swiftly and thoroughly communication can occur if laypeople have built up their email networks with fellow parishioners throughout the diocese.

  22. Jim the Puritan says:

    “If this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail.” (Acts 5:38)

  23. MargaretG says:

    If anyone had the patience there is an email address for all active and retired clergy in the diocese on their website here:

    If nothing else they might be interested.

  24. MargaretG says:

    and an email address for most churches under this heading:

    It would probably take no more than an evening for someone to send an email to each with the quote in the body of the email and the attachment.

  25. Don R says:

    Sowing and reaping come to mind: [url=]Job 4:8[/url] or maybe [url=]Galatians 6:7[/url].

  26. William Witt says:

    This is a direct consequence of the “anybody but Radner” crowd that put O’Neill in office. Imagine how things might have been different if Ephraim Radner were bishop of Colorado. Grace Church, Colorado Springs, would likely still be in the diocese, and, at the last, the diocese of Colorado would be ahead about $5 million.

    And, oh, yes. Any investigation of Grace Church funds would have been done in a manner that would not have cast doubts on whether the investigation was ideologically motivated.

  27. JFHough says:

    It continues to amaze how much expert opinion is still being passed around in this fact free manner. To wit: {Edited]. Second, Sunday services are anything but almost empty. The congregation is doubled since our return and continues to grow, the mortgage is being paid. And yes, we Worship the same God and the same Savior in the same way you do. Blessings, JFHough – Grace and St Stephens

    [Edited by Elf]

  28. Sarah1 says:

    RE: ” Imagine how things might have been different if Ephraim Radner were bishop of Colorado.”

    But they would not have had their same sex blessings and lesbian rector! And those things are far far far more important than such trifling matters as an absence of lawsuits, parishes staying rather than leaving, and financial health.

    I’m hoping we’ll all keep in mind that their goals are just very different than a normal functional healthy group’s goals are. They would far far rather decline in every way, then give up what is the central linchpin of their gospel.

    That is, quite honestly, as it should be. If something is a central linchpin of a gospel or foundational worldview then giving that up means giving up the gospel.

    Once again . . . we simply don’t share the same gospel, and those two factions are found in the same organization. Which is why — for a long long long time to come — there will be no peace or “unity” in TEC, even as people mouth the words and make the claims. ; > )

  29. Long Gone says:

    27…From looking at your church’s web site you have reduced the number of services in half from its pre-law suit schedule, you seemingly don’t have any programs other than the garden club, no mention of a Sunday School, no adult education for which the parish used to be famous, and no full time clergy. It seems, to the point of this thread, that an investment by the diocese of $2,900,000 to rid the parish of the wicked previous administration should have produced better than that. What say you?

  30. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Since #27, JFHough, seems to be reacting in part to my post (#1), let me respond to his shrill protest about supposedly “fact-free” opinions. Only his own “facts” are highly dubious and misleading.

    For example, he (or is it she?) asserts that [Edited]. Oh, really? How unbiased is that claim?

    And second, the further claim is made that the very large nave of the church is “anything but almost empty.” Oh, really??

    Now I’ll admit that I was exaggerating a bit in my #1. But when over 80% of the worshippers leave, even a couple hundred people in the pews are rattling around in a mostly empty space.

    But the clincher is his/her third assertion, which is also by means established as a fact. Is it really true that the congregation that still meets at the old site worships the same God [b]”in the same way?”[/b]

    Considering the fact that some of them anyway don’t seem to believe the same gospel, even if all the words used (from the BCP) were the same, it sould NOT mean that the same biblical, Triune God was being worshipped by the two congregations. And certainly not in the same way (“in Spirit and in truth”).

    And yes, Kendall and others, the numbers of dollars being recklessly squandered here on +O’Neill’s private vendetta against Don Armstrong+ are truly astounding. Flabbergasting. Scandalously so.

    David Handy+

  31. robroy says:


    Bunk. The lawsuit was initiated when the diocese shut down the bank account for every day operating expenses.

  32. Billy says:

    One has to wonder, if this budget info is given fairly wide distribution in this diocese, why in the world would CO parishioners keep making pledges without a commitment from their local parishes that none of their pledges will go to a diocese that loots an endowment like this? It appears axiomatic that as long as money keeps coming in, these diocesan councils and bishops will keep acting in these ways. If the money stops, they will be forced to stop. It really is that simple. Somehow that message just isn’t getting through to pewsitters.

  33. Euphorbia says:

    Re the second point made in No. 29 by David Handy+, the large nave is indeed “anything but almost empty,” as I have seen on many occaisions–perhaps if he lives nearby he would like to drop in @ 10:30 and see for himself–and see also the true fellowship and welcome for visitors that characterize the congregation.

  34. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Eurphorbia (#32),

    Alas, I live in Richmond, VA, and haven’t been to Colorado in decades. But I appreciate the invitation. I freely admit that I was drawing inferences from the departure of the vast majority of the congregation that may be exaggerated. I’ll defer on that factual matter to those who’ve been there about how empty or full the pews may be.

    I have nothing against those who chose to stay in that magnificent building complex. OTOH, of course, I am severely critical of +Rob O’Neill.

    David Handy+

    [Edited by Elf]