A Resolution from the Diocese of Louisiana Garnering Much Attention

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take the time to read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

18 Comments
Posted February 26, 2008 at 5:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Words Matter wrote:

This seems entirely reasonable. Why would it garner attention?

February 26, 6:33 pm | [comment link]
2. Wilfred wrote:

So if you don’t pay enough in taxes, you lose the right to vote.  Didn’t we have this same sort of policy in the civil sphere at one time? 

I must admit there is a certain rough logic to it.  Would the proponents of this resolution advocate a return to this as public policy too?  (Liberals - they’re always trying to turn back the clock!)  If it makes sense for the Diocese, it should likewise make sense for the city/state/nation.

We would have to repeal the Voting Rights Act though.

February 26, 6:50 pm | [comment link]
3. JackieB wrote:

Words matter, There is some great analysis out there on this very subject.  Check it out at here and and here. 

February 26, 7:12 pm | [comment link]
4. Observing wrote:

Another resolution designed to accelerate the loss of membership of TEC. Increase the taxes, to pay for more politicians at the top, and reduce the visible funding for the local parish.

Results:
1. Local parish is short staffed, local services are cut, some people move to other churches which have more to offer at the local level.
2. No more options to express disapproval with the direction of the church. Some will leave as they cannot morally fund heresy
3. The higher the tax, the easier it is to start over. All the funds paying the taxes each month are freed up for rental of a new building after the ties are cut. Means more whole parishes will leave.

Death by a thousand cuts seems to be the leadership mandate.

February 26, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
5. Choir Stall wrote:

Death by a thousand cuts?
Try “shoot the wounded”.
This generation of American Anglicans will go down in history as the most incapable, most oblivious, and most egocentric in Anglican history.  I hope somebody takes plenty of pictures for the future gawk books that the future will abhor.

February 26, 9:16 pm | [comment link]
6. Words Matter wrote:

Thanks, Jackie. I didn’t read the fine print. In principle, it is reasonable: each level supporting the one above it “as unto the Lord”.  I guess that presupposes commitments and levels of trust that just aren’t there in many cases.

February 26, 9:37 pm | [comment link]
7. Hursley wrote:

This would be welcome in our Diocese, where the Diocesan asking to parishes is much above 10%. Something has to be done to cut back on the $$$ that go to organizations increasingly unresponsive to the people who pay the bills.

February 26, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
8. TomRightmyer wrote:

An effective plan to preserve political power for those who support the institution, and an inducement to schism.

February 26, 10:50 pm | [comment link]
9. dpchalk+ wrote:

Don’t quite know where Fr Fred comes up with his statement about “generous giving.” Many years ago when Executive Council was arguing about stewardship, someone very near and dear to me (a layman) was able to add the word “minimum” to the phrase “standard of giving.” (And that was over the objection of certain ordained folks, one of whom is a bishop—I’ll protect the guilty and not name names.) The layman’s contention was that 10% wasn’t ‘generous,’ that was merely the privilege of being Christian. Then he suggested that one’s offering was what one gave over and above one’s tithe—the tithe always went to one’s parish, the offering was discretionary. After one’s tithe and offerings had been given no strings were attached.
It seems to me that Fr Fred wants to undo good stewardship theology as well as provide a permanent fund for an institution that has no healthy sense of accountability from the managers at the receiving end.

February 27, 12:34 am | [comment link]
10. CharlesB wrote:

Reminds me of the quip: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

February 27, 8:36 am | [comment link]
11. Jennie TCO wrote:

In Dio of SC, 10-10-10 has worked wonderfully - as our, now retired bishop, said “10% of a lot is more than 24% of a little.”  10-10-10 has enabled the congregations to develop ministries, call additional staff, and build needful facilities and, consequently, we’ve been able to have a real growth spurt because the focus, support, and resources are there for the congregations to engage heartily with the work of the Gospel. So, I’m all for 10-10-10. IMHO, though, the Louisiana plan cannot be effective as it is currently framed and not just because of the strong language about “what happens if you don’t.”

It works in SC because of the following elements of which 10-10-10 is only one piece:

*We flipped the pyramid, so to speak.  The Bishop’s office and staff exist in order to support the work of the congregations not the other way around.  People nod as if they understand this when we talk about it, but it really does require a conversion of thought.

*Cutting down and streamlining diocesan staff positions;

*Having the bishop in the field with the clergy and congregations rather than chewing up 50% or more of his time with administrative tasks (this is especially important because the clergy know that the bishop will be Johnny-on-the-spot in the event of conflict);

*Doing everything possible to build relationships between the congregations and clergy so that they are not operating as silos.  We have done this through (a) strengthening the deanery system, (b)having the deans genuinely partner with the bishop as a first line council of advice with the capacity to problem solve and to bring forward new initiatives and solutions.  The deans don’t the supersede the work of Council or the Standing Committee but are deeply woven into these structures as well as into our congregational development committee (the key player for development strategy);  and (c) seeing this role of connecting the congregations as one of the primary responsibilities of the bishop - For instance, any clergy or diocesan gathering always had many instances of the bishop inviting various clergy to stand up and telol everyone else about what God was doing in their congregations - and not just few times but frequently.  We’d leave the meetings with a good idea about what was happening overall.

*The primary responsibility for the planting of new and re-development of struggling congregations now lies with the larger resource congregations of the diocese supported by a partnership between the deans,  the bishop, the congregations, and a coordinating committee (Congregational Development) - this no longer comes out of or is managed solely by the Bishop’s office; 

*Strategic, time-limited grants are made to enable the development of ministry to congregations with specific vision and engaged stewardship irregardless of the size of their budget;

* It is possible for congregations to request that the portion of their diocesan giving that normally would go to support the work of 815 either go there or not. For those would prefer that it not go to 815,  the congregation does not get to designate where the $ would go, but this is decided by Diocesan Council and is always given outside of the diocese.

* And, of course, 10-10-10 phased in the same way Louisiana has indicated.

There is more but this is what comes to mind right now.  Also, I am not saying that it has always worked perfectly nor that what works in SC would work elsewhere.  However, one thing I can say is that nowhere in our resolution adopting 10-10-10 did we have such punitive language about what happens if you don’t give 10%.  We have recognized for a long time that some congregations will not have the resources to give because they either are struggling financially (in which case we try to help them develop their giving) or they may be making a significant investment in a ministry at hand which will enable them to grow and develop in the future (in which case their 10% will get up to where it needs be usually within several years).  There will always congregations who will choose to not give 10% for political reasons BUT their full participation in convention and in the larger life of the diocese is crucial because we are “members one of another” and the whole diocese would be impoverished without them. 
I think Louisiana would do well to rework this resolution so that it is more firmly grounded in a desire to build deeper partnerships between the congregations for the sake of more effective ministry - despite theological differences and/or ability to give - rather than being fearful about what would happen if congregations feel called to refocus their resources in a different direction for a season.

February 27, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
12. Billy wrote:

Of note is that the pledge to the national church is 10% not the 21% TEC wants.  We had a similar resolution passed in D. of Atlanta, but without any concommitant reduction from the 21% to TEC.  Also, the sanctions were not quite so draconian, but loss of vote after 2 years and reduction to mission status on the 3d year was available at the discretion of the bishop.  There was no loss of clergy or laymen serving on diocesan boards, etc. (which loss seems very short-sighted for LA).

February 27, 12:32 pm | [comment link]
13. JackieB wrote:

What some people may not realize is this would be a substantial increase for some of the parishes but that’s not all.  There is no provision for withholding money from the national church.  And that is a BIG deal for a lot of parishioners in this Diocese.  SC has a great system and the laity there know their leadership has taken a stand.  No when you add it all up - it is a very bad resolution that needs to be soundly defeated.

February 27, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
14. Jennie TCO wrote:

For 10-10-10 to have the best effect, it needs to be more about strengthening the congregations for the work of the Gospel and much less about “punishing” 815 in some way.  The motivation needs to be right or it will create chaos.

February 27, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
15. Townsend Waddill+ wrote:

Is there anything on DioLA’s books that allow for parishes who disagree with TEC to designate the portion of their giving going to TEC to be diverted elsewhere?  My concern about this is stewardship.  If I were a rector in LA, I would not want 10% of my 10% going to TEC so that they could use it to sue other parishes.  Then, if you have a conscience problem with that, you are forced to pay up anyway, or be reduced to mission status and, if you are the rector, get fired.

Am I wrong?  Anyone have any more info on this?

February 27, 1:06 pm | [comment link]
16. JackieB wrote:

Oh and don’t forget the HUGE increase of money to 815 this resolution would bring about.  The diocese is still recovering from Katrina.  The last place that needs our money is 815.
Also the larger parishes would have the diocese in a stranglehold.  All they would have to do is combine forces and decrease their tithe to the mandatory assessment and they could cripple the diocese.

February 27, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
17. Jennie TCO wrote:

As the resolution stands, I hope it will be voted down.  If the 10-10-10 can be separated from the punitive/power play stuff, maybe.

February 27, 1:44 pm | [comment link]
18. Derm777 wrote:

I am so glad I resigned my holy orders. What a mess.

February 27, 2:07 pm | [comment link]
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