Bishop Steve’s first video message from General Convention

Follow along most evenings for a video reflection from Bishop Steve with news from the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Indianapolis July 5 through 12.  Many thanks to Gretchen Lane for offering her videography services again.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P45OPqqyjk8]

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Stephen T. Lane

This morning a pastoral letter by Bishop Lane was read in each Maine congregation. The letter outlines the issues facing the Episcopal Church and the people in Maine later this year regarding the Anglican Covenant and the blessings of same-gender relationships, both of which will come before the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in July, and the marriage equality referendum that Mainers will consider in November.

You may read the Pastoral Letter here.

A two-page list of resources and background material about the Anglican Covenant and the work of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music is available here. The Anglican Covenant may be found in its entirety here.

In his letter Bishop Lane commends the Maine Council of Churches’ Covenant for Civil Discourse to members of the Diocese of Maine. That document is available here.

An exhaustive list of primary documents charting the evolution of the Anglican Covenant and a detailed timeline is available at www.noanglicancovenant.org.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music’s blog liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com has excerpts from its report and information on its work to date.

These links will be posted on the diocesan home page at www.episcopalmaine.org as soon as server issues are resolved on the new website. Thank you for your patience.

A bishop for the wider church – Bishop Steve serves on Program, Budget, & Finance

PB&F at work earlier this week. The Province of New England (Province 1) is represented by three members: two deputies and one bishop. In addition to Bishop Steve, who serves as Co-Chair, Province 1 is represented by Ms Anne Clarke Brown of the Diocese of Vermont (second from left) and the Rev. Canon Mally Ewing Lloyd, Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Massachusetts. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS

The budget process for The Episcopal Church is an interesting one – and extraordinarily complex. The Executive Council, whose job it is to implement the decisions of the most recent General Convention, is also requested to present a proposed, draft budget for the next General Convention. It has that responsibility because it oversees expenditures from the budget and makes adjustments during the triennium: it has contemporary experience of both the income and expense sides and is in touch with the ministries and programs of the Church. But notice the language: “proposed, draft budget.” The Executive Council does not function during the Convention. That responsibility belongs to the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F).

PB&F receives the proposed draft, presents it to the Church at Provincial Synods and by other means, receives input from the church, holds hearings at the General Convention, and presents a “proposed” budget to the General Convention. PB&F received the proposed, draft budget from Executive Council this past Monday and is now preparing to present it to the Church.

There is some overlap in the responsibilities of Executive Council and PB&F. The Canons of the General Convention indicate that PB&F should work with the budget between General Conventions. It is a Standing Committee. However, in practice, Executive Council has taken the lead. During this past triennium the Chair (Diane Pollard) and Vice-Chair (that’s me) have attended meetings of Executive Council to stay in touch with the budget.

The proposed, draft budget that will soon be before the Church is an interesting document. It was formed in response to D027 (2009) which mandated that the budget for the 2013-15 triennium be crafted according to the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion. In addition, Executive Council developed some budget principles and strategies which emphasized such things as care for the poor and direct action on indebtedness. The proposed, draft budget should be available to the Church in about ten days once the Treasurer’s Office is certain it is complete and accurate. Executive Council is also preparing a narrative describing the Council’s work.

I am currently working on the presentation that will be made to the Provincial Synods. Members of PB&F will present the budget using the same PowerPoint at each meeting. Depending on the time available, there may be opportunities for discussion at the Synods. In addition, PB&F will be hosting and moderating an interactive blog to receive input from the Church prior to General Convention.

This is my first experience with PB&F, and I must say it’s a bit daunting. Our work will need to be accomplished in five or six days at the General Convention. We will hold three hearings on July 4, 6 and 7, and the budget will be presented to the General Convention no later than July 10. It will be a time of concentrated effort. The situation is made more complex by the proposals for reform of The Episcopal Church being brought forward from many quarters. To craft budget to support a church in the midst of dramatic and rapid change is both really exciting and very challenging.

Stay tuned for more, and please keep us in your prayers.

+Steve

The mandate to PB&F
Read the Episcopal News Service story on this week’s PB&F meeting.
PB&F Membership Roster