In its final meeting prior to the 180th Diocesan Convention, diocesan Executive Council met at Waycross and approved a 2018 budget for consideration by the convention October 26-28. The council-approved budget will begin undergoing additional review at deanery meetings starting this week.  The approved budget is based on a 14% apportionment, up from 13.75% in 2017, and an effective draw on the endowment of 5.25%. Clergy Compensation Guidelines for 2018  were also approved. 

Bishop Baskerville-Burrows reported significant progress on a series of Listening Sessions around the diocese, with three remaining on the schedule (deacons, staff and SE region). “There has been an incredible consistency of message, hopes, and dreams,” she said. Table conversations are planned for diocesan convention to discuss the summary report being prepared by consultant Susan Czolgosz and there may be continued conversations in the spring. Executive Council will also further delve into the results at its overnight planning meeting November 10-11.

Executive Council also continued the discussion began at the June meeting about its role, function, and representation, including the desire to fill a youth position on Council that has been vacant for many years.                     

Canon Bruce Gray reported on the upcoming retirement of Waycross Executive Director Van Beers and progress that has been made to seek an interim and initiate a process for selecting a permanent director.  Naming a permanent director is expected to take about a year.  Canon Gray also updated the council on Pathways to Vitality and the work of the Rev. Erin Houghland with the three pathways congregations—All Saints, Indianapolis; Good Samaritan, Brownsburg; and St. Timothy’s, Indianapolis.  Pathways workshops related to church vitality will be offered during diocesan convention.             

The council also affirmed the decision of the Global Missions Commission to distribute remaining Haiti emergency funds to a project designed to help 100 families impacted by Hurricane Matthew work with an agronomist and re-establish their crops.  Any remaining funds in the Haiti or Global Missions Commission budget this year will go to support the Lunches and Lessons initiative at St. Andre’s School in Mithon. The current goal is to support 303 children in the Lunches and Lessons project at $99 per child and funds are still being raised throughout the diocese.  

In other mission-related news, the council discussed the recent hurricane disasters and the fulfillment this week of a $10,000 Episcopal Relief and Development gifts match initiative by St. Paul’s, Indianapolis.  Relief, recovery, and rebuilding in many of the impacted areas is expected to take years and more initiatives may be considered by the council as the crisis continues to unfold.  In the meantime, gifts to Episcopal Relief and Development for hurricane relief can be made online at support.episcopalrelief.org/hurricane-relief or checks can be sent to the diocesan office, marked for hurricane relief. 

The council voted to fund Episcopal Fund for Human Needs (EFHN) ministries at the same rate in 2018 as they received in 2017.  The ministries will be reminded in a communication that the diocese is undergoing a period of transition with some anticipated changes in financial structure but that the diocese is committed to supporting outreach programs.  

The council discussed the upcoming Diocesan Convention and a number of new opportunities—including several unique learning and fun experiences—being planned for convention.  For more information on the 180th Diocesan Convention at Jeffersonville and New Albany October 26-28, go to indydio.org/#horizon.       

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