Friday May 26, 2023
Dear Friends in Christ,
Your Diocesan Council has been hard at work in the 2024 budgeting process – both convening as a committee of the whole in discussing each item in the budget and as members of working groups between Diocesan Council sessions. These working groups, which we’ve been calling “pillar groups” are made up of members of Diocesan Council and Standing Committee and each one focuses on a respective pillar of our mission statement – proclaiming the good news, forming disciples, serving others, and striving for justice – as well as the Finance Committee building the administrative pieces that support the work of mission. Together, we have reviewed all of the 2024 Budget submissions that so many of you sent in to us. Thank you all so much for your incredibly thoughtful work!
After much deliberation, for this 2024 budgeting process, Council made some guiding decisions which we used, along with the focus of the pillar groups established in February:
- We wanted to focus on budgetary suggestions which benefited congregations right here in The Diocese of West Missouri.
- Given the fact that the Diocese will be, hopefully, electing a new bishop at Convention 2024, we didn’t want to add more staff to the Diocese at this time — that should be a decision made by Diocesan Council and the new bishop after they are ordained and consecrated in 2025.
What do these decisions mean for the 2024 budget submissions we received and reviewed that were not included in the 2024 budget draft at this time:
- We are holding on to these submissions and will re-address them as we prepare the 2025 budget.
- Whatever we do not use in the 2025 budget will be provided to the new bishop and Diocesan Council as they work to prepare the 2026 budget.
What is very clear from the revamped expense side of the budget is that we are trying to focus on:
- What we give away (some of which is canonically required)
- Tying the requests to the four pillars (which you can see in the titles in the budget) developed during the joint retreat held by the Diocesan Council and Standing Committee. These pillars support the revised Diocesan Mission and Vision statements developed during 2022:
Mission: As the Body of Christ, we seek, serve, and save the lost by proclaiming the Good News, forming disciples, serving others, and striving for justice
Vision: God’s just and peaceful beloved community built on our shared love of God and one another
You will notice in the linked 2024 Budget Draft Expenses that we have centralized (and increased!) our grants available to churches and ministries all around the diocese, honing in on our missional commitments as stated in our mission statement, as well as making more funds available for properties — with emphases in sustaining our properties that are in need of repair as well as making our churches more accessible for those with disabilities.
This first draft of the 2024 budget includes expenses only. Now that we have a ballpark figure for our expenses, we can focus on structuring the funding for our new and renewed ministries in the 2024 budget and beyond.
Your review and input into this first draft of the expense side of the 2024 budget is crucial in our moving forward as a Diocesan Council to bring to Convention 2023 a budget which reflects the mission and ministry focus for the Diocese, built from the ground up and with input from all around the Diocese. Each Deanery Council will be the vehicle for reporting feedback for future drafts of the diocesan budget. Share your opinions with your deanery delegates, and the Deans will report back to Diocesan Council with the feedback collected through the deanery council meetings.
This message comes with my deep thanks not only to all who submitted a budget request but to the members of the Diocesan Council, the Finance Committee and the Standing Committee who have worked on and will continue to work on this budget.
Blessings and love,
The Rt. Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce
Bishop Provisional of West Missouri