Skip to comments.Inclusive Church: Pay Up or Shut Up
Posted on 08/23/2005 8:27:08 AM PDT by sionnsar
Trouble is on the horizon for the Diocese of Upper South Carolina (DUSC), which heads into its annual diocesan convention October 21 & 22. The vestry of Holy Cross in Simpsonville has introduced a resolution that seeks to prevent 16 churches from participating in the convention's proceedings because they have not met their full diocesan assessment.
The text of the resolution:
WHEREAS, the Diocese of Upper South Carolina Statement of Mission is experiencing a $500,000 shortfall, and
WHEREAS, as a result of this shortfall, the body has been unable to carry out the mission work planned for this year, and
WHEREAS, that shortfall is primarily the result of the willful withholding of funds by certain parishes in the Diocese, and
WHEREAS, without prejudice as to the intent of such withholdings, it is the hope of the body that some alternative responses may be found for addressing disagreements among ourselves with the National Church,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that delegates to this Convention representing those parishes that have willfully withheld funds from the Diocese are asked to abstain from participating in debate and from voting on any issues pertaining to the Diocesan Statement of Mission that may come to the floor of this 83rd Convention of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina.
According to the letter, the diocesan budget was reduced by $477,890, and 16 parishes did not accept their full diocesan assessment (according to the table at the end of the letter, +Henderson's claim of 13 appears to be in error).
If you look carefully at all the figures listed in the letter, you'll note that two churches accepted only 1/3 of their assessment (All Saints, Clinton and Christ Church, Lancaster); two churches 1/2 of their assessments (Good Shepherd, Columbia and St. James, Greenville); and one church a mere 1/6th of its assessment (St. David's Columbia).
Christ Church, facing a serious loss in reduced giving of nearly $500,000 from its budget alone, lowered its pledge to the diocese by half to make up some of the shortfall. The remainder of the loss it covered by reducing its own parish budget by 20%.
The budgets of these 16 parishes are in trouble for one reason: The actions of General Convention 2003.
If passed, what Holy Cross Simpsonville's resolution will do is punish those parishes even more, by taking away their voices and votes on budgetary issues. If successful, it will likely leave the vestries and congregations of those churches wondering exactly what is the point of DUSC membership.
The asymmetry of the punishment is striking. While all 16 churches gave at least some money to the diocese, the resolution seeks to strip them of all their voice and vote at convention.
What the vestry of Holy Cross and DUSC either ignore or fail to understand is that they could have avoided this crisis by giving parishes a sound means of withholding their pledges from ECUSA. DUSC is not alone in this failure to reconcile the crisis within its borders to its financial commitments to 815. Had it provided such a means, it's entire possible - perhaps even likely - that it would be facing no shortfall at all.
You can email Holy Cross rector Fr. Michael Flanagan and let him know what you think about it. You can also visit the directory page of Holy Cross's web site for more contact information.
You can let the Diocese of Upper South Carolina know what you think by calling them at 803-771-7800, emailing them at email@example.com, or writing them at:
Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Attn: Bishop Dorsey Henderson
1115 Marion Street
Columbia, South Carolina
If one had, say...just returnd from a four year deep-space mission and read this, one would say, "but why is this happening?"
Click on the church's home page....apparently there are NO services on Sunday...what gives?
Well, I suggest those delegates and their supporters follow ELCA's recent precedent, and stand in the front of the room in silent protest, not moving if asked.
Click on the "Worship" tab. They have 3 services Sunday mornings.