|Summary of the Special Convention to Adopt the Budget |
Lay and clerical delegates of the Diocese of Virginia met online April 24, 2021, at the Special Convention to Adopt the Budget. This meeting was called by Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority Susan Goff as a follow-up to the 226th Convention last November during which the delegates declined to approve the budget and thereby referred the budget back to the Executive Board. The Executive Board met monthly to revise the budget based on an updated forecast for pledge income from parishes. The Board also considered input from the November Convention and a subsequent survey of delegates.
The Executive Board presented to the Special Convention a revised draft budget balanced at $4,867,123. The Board approached this revision with focus on the Diocese’s stated mission priorities: healing across differences, honoring and caring for God’s creation, and sharing the faith of Jesus with youth and others. The revised draft budget featured restored funding in a few areas, based on parish pledges that came in higher than forecasted. It included the following additional allocations: $35,000 more for engaging the newly created position of Minister for Racial Justice and Healing; $50,000 in funding for parishes and ministries in the areas of Creation Care and Evangelism; $22,000 more for Campus Ministries; $60,000 for Post-COVID Ministry to allow the Diocese to address emerging needs as we begin to move out of the pandemic; $140,000 more for the Committee on Congregational Missions to allocate to mission congregations of the Diocese; and $53,223 more in Staff Compensation to allow the Bishop flexibility in staffing and compensation decisions, including filling vacant positions.
Prior to presentation of this new budget, the Convention considered several amendments presented by delegates. Budget Resolution 1 proposed to reallocate Cost of Living Allowances for diocesan staff to post COVID ministries. Budget; Resolution 1 was defeated. Budget Resolution 2 proposed that, as the economy in Virginia continues to improve, the proposed budget be amended to increase Anticipated Pledge Income by $125,000, increase Grants for Campus Ministry by $20,000, increase Direct Support of Congregations’ Staff Cost by $95,000, and increase Post COVID Ministry by $10,000. Budget Resolution 2 was defeated.
The following two resolutions were submitted on the floor of Convention: Budget Resolution 3 proposed to reallocate $20,000 from the Committee on Aging and from Stewardship of Creation to Episcopal College Campus Ministry. Budget Resolution 3 was adopted. Budget Resolution 4 proposed to allocate $1,000,000 from diocesan investment assets to the income category and add a new line item for “Reparations & Undoing White Supremacy.” Budget Resolution 4 was defeated. “Budget Resolution 4 is bold in scope and strong in intent,” said Bishop Goff. “In coming months, I look forward to working with groups in our Diocese to identify sources of funding and achieve greater clarity about how the funding would be used. God bless us as we explore and act together.”
After voting on the budget amendments, the Convention voted to adopt the budget as amended at $4,867,123. “I am grateful for and deeply impressed with the hard work done by so many,” added Bishop Goff, “especially the members of the Executive Board and our Diocesan Treasurer Ted Smith. I am grateful as well for the participation and commitment of the nearly 400 delegates who attended the Special Convention. God has led us through many challenges in recent months and presented us with new opportunities. We are learning and growing together in God’s grace.”
The 227th Convention of the Diocese of Virginia will meet November 11-13, 2021.