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United Thank Offering (UTO): Annual Report to Diocese of Indianapolis 180th Convention

September 2017

Our diocese did not have any United Thank Offering grant applications turned in for 2017.  The 2018 Young Adult and Seminarian Grant Applications were available on the UTO website on September 5, 2017 (first Friday in September).  Applications for Young Adult Grants will need to be reviewed by our diocesan Grants Screening Committee, which includes myself, and so should be sent to me, and our diocesan offices, by October 15, 2017.  After reviewing applications, the committee and I will meet with the Bishop, who will review the applications and choose one to send to the United Thank Offering Board before the deadline of Nov. 3, 2017 (first Friday in November).  The procedure for Seminarian Grants is different, so applicants should contact the Dean of their seminary about reviewing their grant applications.  Everyone who wants to apply should read all the information on the UTO website. Continue reading

Bishop’s Customary for Pastoral Visitations

 September 2017

INTRODUCTION

The regular pastoral visitation of all parishes and worshiping communities of the diocese is among the principal responsibilities of the bishop’s ministry. It is also one of the great delights of the episcopal office.

It is desirable for the pastoral visitation to be at once both business as usual and a special occasion in the life of the parish.  In a liturgical-sacramental church such as ours, these are not competing interests. The bishop’s visitation ought not to be “unusual” no matter how infrequent.  The central act of every visitation is the preaching of God’s Word and the joint celebration of the Holy Eucharist with the clergy and people of the parish.

Confirmations, receptions, and reaffirmations may also take place during visitations and are not understood to be the principal reasons for the Bishop’s Pastoral Visitation.  The availability of persons for confirmation or reception need not play any part in the scheduling of the visitation. Opportunities to present candidates for rites of initiation will continue to be made available regionally.

SCHEDULING

The scheduling of visitations will be initiated by the Bishop’s Office. As a general rule, a parish will not receive a second regular pastoral visitation until all other parishes have been visited.

Even with great care given to my visitation schedule, there will still be some need for flexibility. There will be parish emergencies, personal illness, travel delays, and a host of other things that may require last minute rescheduling. It is my commitment that such changes will be kept to a minimum, but from time to time they will occur.  The calendar of visitations will be published on the diocesan website.

Please provide a draft bulletin of the liturgies of the day for my review at least a week in advance.

THE DAY OF THE VISIT

I will make every effort to arrive no less than 30 minutes before the first service. 

In general, it is my desire to maintain the Sunday morning schedule of the parish and attend the liturgies as commonly experienced. In some cases, it may be desired to merge the congregation together for one service and there is perhaps no better time than the Bishop’s visitation. This also means there is more time to be flexible with adult forums, meetings with youth and children, spending time with the Vestry, etc. If a worship time change for the visitation is desired that should be made known well in advance.

I am happy to meet with any configuration of parishioners during the education hour. We can have an open forum; I can do a presentation on a number of subjects; and I can also simply use the time to enjoy fellowship with members of the parish.

During my visitation it will be my desire to meet with the clergy, wardens and vestry following the final liturgy and coffee hour/reception. If distance, travel or scheduling issue prevents meeting on that day, special arrangements for meeting a weekday meeting before or after the visitation should be made with my office.

THE LITURGY OF THE DAY

I anticipate that all visitations will be celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.

When there are no baptisms, confirmations, or receptions, the liturgy on the day of the bishop’s visitation should include the renewal of baptismal vows. This should be substituted for the Nicene Creed at all services, even those that are otherwise Rite I. 

The Proper of the Day will be used, even when initiation rites are to take place, and normally the liturgical color will be that of the day.  Any departure from this should be discussed before the day of the visitation. For visitation during “ordinary time” that will include one or more of the rites of initiation, any of the following texts may be substituted for the second (epistle) reading:  Romans 6:3-5 (6-11); Romans 8:14-17; Romans 12:1-8; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:7, 11-16.  If these substitutions are made, please inform the Bishop’s Office no less than one week before the visitation.

The Revised Common Lectionary (Episcopal Edition) is the norm in the Diocese of Indianapolis. If it seems appropriate to use other readings, please clear it with me well in advance of the visitation.

I am always pleased to sing as much of the liturgy as desired.

To emphasize my pastoral relationship, my preference is to wear the vestments of the parish. I will bring a plain cassock alb, mitre, and pastoral staff and will wear the chasuble for the entire liturgy. There may be exceptions when I will bring my own vestments—generally in the season of Eastertide, Pentecost Sunday or by prior arrangement. 

Because liturgical spaces differ and to accommodate well trained liturgical ministers, I will generally preside from the place/chair from which it is normally done. I prefer to stand for confirmations and receptions, so if offered at a pastoral visitation, the bishop’s chair need not be front and center except in unusual circumstances.

During the liturgy I would welcome the liturgical assistance of a deacon, senior acolyte or asissting lay minister. The details will vary, but will normally include such things as:

  • holding the Prayer Book/presider’s book so that my hands are free for liturgical gestures;
  • holding the pastoral staff when we are not in procession;
  • ensuring that my mitre is accessible or otherwise tending it during prayers, etc.
  • assisting with chrism at baptisms;

The Rector, Vicar, or Priest-in-Charge should make the necessary parish announcements. It may seem counter-intuitive but while it is always pleasant to be greeted, my preference is that you not use the language of “welcome.” Such language tends to imply that I am a guest and not the chief pastor of our diocese.   

It is important to remind the congregation that the undesignated offering goes to the bishop’s discretionary fund for support of emergencies and non-budgeted ministries that arise in the course of the year.

I will offer the offertory sentence.

A FEW OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

It is my hope that these details answer the general questions you may have—if not please do be in touch.  It is my desire that the visitation be a wonderful occasion in the life of the church.

As you may know, I enjoy taking selfies with members of the parish, clergy, etc. and highlighting the congregation using social media. It is my assumption that every parish has photo release forms on file for children. If you need forms please let my office know so that we can provide you a template.

Use of social media to communicate about the day is encouraged.  Live tweeting sermons is also encouraged.  My twitter handle is @JenniferBB.  If the sermon will be audio and/or visually recorded please let me know in advance of the visitation.

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Diocesan Special Funds

What are the Special Funds?

Originally, these were investments funds for special diocesan accounts such as the Grisbaum Fund used to support seminarians, the Congregational Development Fund, and other specific bequests and land sales that have been made since the formation of this diocese.

Starting in the 1970’s these funds were opened to congregations and other diocesan entities for their investment purposes.

Investments in these funds are in compliance with the national canons of the Episcopal Church and diocesan canon 13, Section 1(a).

Are there investment choices?

Yes.  There are two types of portfolios available:

  • A growth fund designed for long-term capital appreciation.
  • A balanced fund designed for balanced appreciation with an emphasis on regular and on-going income draws.

What constitutes the make-up of these portfolios?

These portfolios, as well as the diocesan Unrestricted Fund is divided into four asset classes: Stocks, Bonds, Cash, Other.  (Other includes such things as Real Estate, Foreign Investments, Commodities, etc.)  These classes are weighted in accordance with the purpose of the investment as noted above.

What are the holdings within these portfolios?  What is the investment philosophy?

These two questions go hand in hand.  The Investment and Finance Committee along with the diocesan investment manager, Justin Haskin of Grace Legacy Capital, determined several years ago that the most appropriate investment for the diocese was to invest in the broad market using index funds.  The advantages of this approach are 1) spreading the holdings over the broad market reduces risks; 2) since index funds are defined by their current value, they are unmanaged keeping the costs low.  In essence all those who are active in the market become the managers by their actions.  The only costs associated with index funds are the fees charged to group these shares into various sectors.

And that leads to the holdings. 

  • There are over ten funds of domestic stocks representing groups of income and growth stocks in large, mid and small cap issues plus dividend portfolios. Includes foreign stock holding allocations (publicly traded, liquid exchange traded funds.)
  • This includes both bonds and bond funds of differing durations and contains corporate grade, government bonds and convertible securities.  All bond portfolios are investment grade – no high yield or “junk” at this time.
  • Primarily real estate securities, known as REITs.  Also allows for small holdings in commodities.
  • Cash and equivalent cash securities.

How are these distributed within the two funds?

The distribution depends on the investment objective as defined above.  The higher the equities (stocks, etc.), there is the potential for high returns, but, likewise, greater volatility.   A portfolio with a large percentage of fixed income instruments (bonds, etc.) will produce a relatively steady stream of income, but without some opportunity to increase a portfolio’s capital value, the investment can easily fall behind the rate of inflation steadily diminishing its worth.  

Before adopting the current portfolio for the Unrestricted Fund, The Investment and Finance Committee undertook a detailed study examining the risk/reward of certain portfolio makeups.  The committee adopted a moderate approach which led to a broad division of securities into 60% equities and 40% fixed income instruments.   

The growth fund mirrors the diocesan Unrestricted Fund in this 60%/40% division.

The balanced fund is just the opposite at 40%/60%.  The same grouping of index funds exists in both funds, but in different allocations to meet the investment objective of each fund. The Investment and Finance Committee feels that to move out of this range can endanger the intended objectives of these two portfolios.

What are the investment fees?     

Fees are based on 1) the cost of a specific index fund and 2) the management fee charged by Grace Legacy Capital for managing the entire diocesan investments in all funds, including all trading costs, custodial fees, and administration costs.  The latter is based on the total value of the diocesan portfolios and since the majority of this is diocesan,  the diocese DOES NOT charge congregations any management fees.  The only congregational cost is that of the various index funds which are embedded in their fund structure with no additional fees required (similar to mutual funds).

How is the activity of an investment account tracked?

The diocese along with their accounting firm prepares quarterly reports.  These reports show income earned, capital appreciation (gains/losses) along with additions to and withdrawals from the investment.  The Investment and Finance Committee, which controls the investment policy, reviews all funds quarterly with the investment manager to monitor performance and determine if any changes should be made to asset allocations. 

How may one set up a special fund account?

Forms may be obtained through the diocesan administrator or online from the diocesan website.  The Treasurer or other members of the Investment and Finance Committee are available to advise applicants of the most appropriate portfolio.  Often this means going to the church and meeting with their finance committee.  Arrangements can also be made if the applicant would wish to talk with the investment manager.   

Transaction Procedures

An account within a fund may be established by completing a form and writing a check to the Diocese of Indianapolis.  All cash transactions are funneled through the diocese.  Principal invested starts earning interest the following month.  Earnings will be credited to withdrawals made during the month since the settlement of all transactions take place at the end of the month even if a payment is made earlier.  Withdrawals in excess of $50,000.00 require at least thirty days’ notice before being enacted.  Earnings are posted monthly and distributed quarterly unless instructions to reinvest have been chosen.  Activity statements are sent to investors quarterly.

Final Comments

At the end of 2016, there were 24 diocesan accounts invested in the Special Fund’s portfolios and 57 congregational accounts including Waycross accounts.  The availability of these funds is one more example of how the diocese offers financial assistance to its constituents. In addition to the low-cost loan programs offered through both the Revolving Loan and Grant Fund and the low-cost capital loan program administered by Chase Bank, the diocese is able to provide these two investment portfolios at minimum fees and in accordance with best investment practices to our congregations and diocesan partners.

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GETTING AROUND THE 180TH CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF INDIANAPOLIS

Historic building in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA

WELCOME TO SOUTHERN INDIANA!

GPS ADDRESSES AND BASIC VENUE INFO FOR GETTING AROUND THE 180TH CONVENTION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF INDIANAPOLIS

Note: A booklet with tourism information and additional map helps related to this community is available in the convention registration area and at the host hotels.

HOTELS AND THE RETREAT CENTER

Sheraton Louisville Riverside Hotel

700 West Riverside Drive
Jeffersonville IN 47130
 
Hotel Phone 812 284-6711
 
Parking is free and located on both sides of the hotel.

Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Louisville North

619 N. Shore Drive
Jeffersonville IN 47130
 

Hotel Phone 812-280-8220

Parking is free and located in front of room areas.

KYE’S CONVENTION MEETING SITE

500 Missouri Avenue
Jeffersonville IN 47130
 
Kye’s Phone 812-285-8500
 

Kye’s has two buildings attached by a courtyard.  Signage refers to Kye’s I and II. We are using both I and II for convention so park free in a lot on either side of Kye’s or in back of the facility and enter through the door most convenient to you.

ENDRIS LODGE AT LAPPING PARK

SITE FOR THE CONVENTION FALL WARM-UP EVENT THURSDAY 3 p.m.-7 p.m. EDST

FREE FOOD AND DRINK—EVERYONE WELCOME—POTLUCK ADDITIONS WELCOME

2404 Greentree Blvd. North
Clarksville IN 47130
 
Phone number if you get lost:  Kathy Copas, 502-345-6406
 
Endris Lodge is in Lapping Park via a winding road that goes through the middle of Wooded View Golf Course and then back about a half mile. Follow the signs! Park free anywhere around the lodge on any side and enter through the front door or the kitchen side door.

 

ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, NEW ALBANY

Thursday Evensong 7:30 p.m. EDST

1015 E. Main Street
New Albany IN 47150
 
Church Phone 812-944-0413
 

Free parking is available in a side lot adjacent to the parish house, as well on all of the streets surrounding the church, parish house, and carriage house.

ST. PAUL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, JEFFERSONVILLE

Friday 5 p.m. EDST Prayers and Bells for Opioid Victims, Eucharist 5:30 p.m. EDST

321 E. Market Street
Jeffersonville IN 47150
 
Church Phone:  812-282-1108
 
Free parking is available in the following locations:
 
  1. On the street in front of and alongside the church.
  2. In a very small gravel lot in back of the church.
  3. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church lot within a block of St. Paul’s at 315 E. Chestnut Street, Jeffersonville IN 47130
  4. First Presbyterian Church lot within a block of St. Paul’s at 222 Walnut Street, Jeffersonville IN 47130
  5. Wall Street United Methodist Church lot within a block of St. Paul’s at 240 Wall Street, Jeffersonville IN 47130

MINISTRY ON THE RIVER CHAPLAINCY VISITS WILL DEPART FROM THE JEFFERSONVILLE WHARF BOTH DAYS—Meet in the convention registration area one-half hour prior to your scheduled trip.

NOON FRIDAY ESCORTED VISITATIONS/DELIVERIES WITH OUR HOMELESS COMMUNITIES WILL LEAVE FROM THE AREA AT KYE’S WHERE KITS FOR THE HOMELESS AND POORLY HOUSED ARE BEING ASSEMBLED.     

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GETTING-AROUND-THE-180TH-CONVENTION-OF-THE-EPISCOPAL-DIOCESE-OF-INDIANAPOLIS