Presenting the 2020 Draft Budget: A Letter from Treasurer Laurel Cornell

Dear Friends in Christ,

We present the proposed Budget for the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis for the year 2020. This proposal was created by the 2020 Budget Formation Committee, C. Davies Reed (Chair), Laurel L. Cornell (Treasurer), Lara Dreyer, Steve Fales, Max Nottingham, and Greg Staab. It was discussed by the Executive Council at their meetings, presented at the Neighborhood meetings, and is on the ballot for approval at the Diocesan Convention in November 2019.

As the Bishop says in her letter this draft budget takes important steps in fulfilling the commitment that emerged at the diocesan listening sessions in 2017 to be responsible stewards of all the resources of our diocese.

Here are the details:

  1. The look of the budget is new.

Working with the Bishop, Kristin White (Canon to the Ordinary for Congregational Development and Leadership), and Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale (Canon to the Ordinary for Administration and Evangelism) we have created a new format that aligns our spending with our mission.

The major categories under “Expenses” are the elements of our mission: serve as beacons of Jesus Christ, offer a generous invitation and welcome, stand with the vulnerable and marginalized, connect within and outside the church, and develop clergy and lay people to lead. There are four additional categories: our obligations to the wider church; salaries for the Bishop and the Bishop’s staff; insurance, financial, and legal; and congregational financial support. Some line items are renamed to make them more comprehensible.

  1. Income

Our income originates principally from two sources. One is the apportionments paid by congregations to support activities across the diocese. That provides about half of the income. Most congregations contribute from about $7000 to about $25,000. The three churches in Indianapolis that received substantial bequests from the Lilly family in the 1970s pay about $300,000 apiece and together contribute about half of the apportionment.

The other half of our income originates from the bequests that our ancestors gave to the diocese which are invested in stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles to provide a long-term stream of income. The earliest bequest is one from 1924, for support of the Episcopal Church Women. That bequest has provided about $2000 a year for almost a century. It is appropriate that we withdraw income from our investments to support our life together, but because we have not been replenishing our investments with new bequests and because we have consistently been withdrawing at a rate slightly higher than advisable, our total investment today is about 92% of what it was only five years ago, in 2014.

In recent years, the diocese has not done much fundraising, either to support specific programs or to enhance the endowment through planned gifts. The Bishop’s Appeal, created this year, will address that lacuna in our financial planning. People are also invited at various times of the year to contribute to their favorite programs, whether they be Waycross, Episcopal Fund for Human Need, Prison Ministry, Global Missions, Episcopal Women’s Ministry, the youth program, Campus Ministry, or another facet of diocesan activity.

  1. Expenses

Some line items to note include:

  • Line 47: Total Canonically required – We contribute an assigned percentage of our net operating income to the regional organization, Province V, and to The Episcopal Church.
  • Line 54: Total Beacons of Jesus Christ – The amounts are about the same as in earlier years. This year we have added an additional line to explore the possibility of establishing a Spanish-speaking congregation on the west side of Indianapolis, which is the location that has the largest percentage of Spanish speakers in our diocese.
  • Line 58: Office operations – The largest expenses are the copier lease and cell phones for senior staff.
  • Line 63: Total Generous Invitation and Welcome – Aside from the expenses of having an office in Indianapolis, the major portion is support of Waycross.
  • Line 65: Cooperating Ministries – The Cooperating Ministries receive token amounts of funding because they are longstanding, successful nonprofits which initially were founded with support from the diocese, but which now are assisted by being able to participate in our health care plan. This year we add one new Cooperating Ministry, Trinity Haven, a residential facility for homeless LGBTQ youth established by Trinity, Indianapolis.
  • Line 66: Episcopal Fund for Human Need. EFHN is a long-term ministry that gives small grants — under $1500 — to local social-service agencies throughout the diocese. The monthly Financial Package, which the Executive Council receives, contains a list of the organizations that receive the grants.
  • Line 77: General Convention Reserve accrual – We accrue with the assumption that each triennial convention will cost about $42,000.
  • Line 80: Diocesan Convention – This number funds the very basics – room rental, a/v, meals, partly offset by registration fees. Programming has historically been supplemented with funds from the leadership development line item. As convention comes to assume a larger part in our diocesan lives, it may make sense to revisit this line to more accurately account for the cost of convention.
  • Line 85: Total Connect within and outside the church – The amounts of the line items in this category are similar to those of earlier years.
  • Line 92:  Leadership development – Leadership development is the most diverse line item in the budget. It supports a variety of small grants for clergy and lay leaders as well as activities such as fees for speakers at Convention and booth rental at the Indianapolis Pride Parade. If you have a leadership development opportunity, ask Canon for Administration and Development Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale whether there might be funds in this line item available for it.
  • Line 96: Resources for congregational sustainability/discernment – Beginning in 2021 the diocese will establish a grant program whereby congregations of any size will be able to apply for substantial resources in order to enhance their viability and reach larger goals. Funding for these grants will increase as direct cash aid to parishes decreases. In 2020 the funds in this line item are available for medium-size grants to congregations and other groups for new programs or education that might help them discern a new path to sustainability. We invite those with such a proposal to submit it to Canon for Administration and Evangelism Brendan O-Sullivan-Hale.
  • Line 99: College for Congregational Development – The College for Congregational Development is a comprehensive training program that seeks to nurture and develop congregational development practitioners from within existing parish lay and clergy leadership. The College is a two-year program that includes readings, homework, presentation, working in teams, the completion of a content exam and the completion of two back-home projects. It aims to build healthy, faithful, sustainable congregations that fulfill their calling to be the Body of Christ in a particular place and time and among a particular people. This will be the major leadership training opportunity in the diocese beginning in 2020. Congregations are invited to send clergy-lay teams to this training. Contact Canon for Congregational Development and Leadership Kristin Uffelman White to learn how to become engaged with this program. Clergy and elected leaders will participate in an introduction to the College in December.
  • Line 106, 107, 108: Campus ministry chaplains – Peter Bunder and Linda Johnson are retiring. We assume new clergy will come into this role with compensation closer to the diocesan minimum. Health insurance for campus ministry clergy is included in Line 126: Medical Insurance, All Other Eligible Clergy.
  • Line 110: Total campus ministry – Campus ministry receives substantial support from the diocese in the form of clergy salaries and mortgages on property. Other parishes are being asked to become more vital by connecting more closely to their communities. We ask campus ministries to do the same, looking both to nearby parishes and to their communities. Thus, in the 2020 budget, program funds for campus ministry will be 85% of what they were in the 2019 budget.
  • Line 116: 12th Bishop Accrual – We plan to accrue $10,000 per year for the duration of Bishop Jennifer’s episcopacy.
  • Line 123: Total Bishop and Bishop’s staff – As we engage with our newly created mission, it is critical to have staff who can connect with parishioners, clergy, and the general public to enable us to organize and act more effectively to be beacons of Jesus Christ. In addition to the Bishop, the staff includes experts in leadership development, communication, human resources, finance, youth, fundraising, and community engagement, among others.
  •  Line 136:  Total insurance and legal – The largest item in this category — Line 129, Total medical insurance, at $616,000, is not only the largest item in this category, it is one of the largest items in our budget. It is a major form of assistance to parishes, for it pays for health insurance for clergy and their families. It is an item that requires our attention, because it is large, it grows substantially every year, and we have no control over how large it is.
  • Line 138: Cash aid to congregations – Congregations that receive direct cash assistance from the diocese can expect to receive in 2020 about 90% of what they received in the 2019 budget. As detailed above, there are generous resources available both in staff time and in funds for parishes to grow in sustainability and vitality.
  • Line 146: Subsidized curacies – We will invite newly ordained clergy to learn more about our diocese and to be mentored by a senior priest by serving as associate clergy at appropriate parishes in our diocese. A subsidy would be offered to congregations that would not otherwise be able to afford a full-time associate. The amount in the 2020 budget assumes that there would be two such associates, that the congregations to which they are assigned would pay 50% of the associates’ salary, and that the positions would not be filled until the second half of 2020.
  1. Summary

The budget is in balance. The size of the budget is 3.8 million dollars, the same as last year. Apportionment stays at 14 percent of net operating income, the same as last year. The percentage draw from the endowment is 5.0%, an improvement from recent years. The Bishop’s Appeal is a new opportunity to contribute to the fiscal health of the diocese now and in the future. With the exceptions noted above, each line item is about the same amount as the amount actually used in the most recently completed budget year, 2018. For questions about the budget contact Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale (Canon to the Ordinary for Administration and Evangelism) or Laurel L. Cornell (Treasurer).


For the 2020 Budget Formation Committee,

Laurel L. Cornell, Treasurer

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