In an otherwise calm and orderly convention, the heat rose during the discussion period R-1 Episcopal Church Assessment, the mandatory 15 percent assessment scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2019.
After years of using an “asking formula,” the National Church changed the canons to a “mandatory assessment” with Resolution D013 at the 78th General Convention in 2015 and set a 15 percent cap with Resolution C001. In the past, under the asking formula, a diocese suffered no consequences if it did not contribute to the National Church.
Currently, the asking stands at 16.5 percent. Some parishes, which oppose certain policies and practices set forth by the National Church, pay their money to the Diocese of Central Florida, but direct the diocese to forward 10 percent of their money to “Alternate Giving” rather than to the National Church. R-1 put the diocese on record as working toward solutions to comply with the new canons. Work on those solutions will being within a month.
“I heartily support the efforts being made to find ways for us as a diocese to meet the 15 percent financial assessment voted on by General Convention,” said the Rt. Rev. Bishop Gregory O. Brewer during his State of the Diocese Address. “Among other reasons, because the financial funding brings integrity to the work for change. And the work for change brings integrity to the financial funding. The two go hand-in-hand. As it might be said crassly, ‘Put your money where your mouth is.’ And that’s what I’m committed to us doing.”
After heated and impassionate pleas from both sides, R-1 passed with a significant number of dissenting votes.
To download the full resolution, click here.
What They Think
“I have mixed emotions about that. I guess it is something that we are supposedly required to do, so we probably should do that.”
—The Rev. James Shevlin, The Church of Our Savior, Okeechobee
“I did not support the resolution for the reasons stated by my colleague Father Petiprin. I think we have time to proceed with more caution. Not simply take a place at the table, which has been repeated regularly over the years, but actually use this time to become leaders within the church as a whole.”
—The Rev. David Peoples, St. Stephens’, Lakeland
“One word: mandatory. That’s a tax. I want to be able to give freely. It’s not too cheerful if they have your arm behind your back. I have no problem with the 15 percent as opposed to the 10 percent. It would make all the difference in the world to me if they took out that one word—mandatory.”
—Dr. Larry Warren, St. Andrews’, Ft. Pierce