Town Hall meetings on 2013 budget: The focus is on listening

Budgets…It’s the same thing every year, right?

An organization puts out a draft budget and then you get asked for your opinion.

This year, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota is trying something different. This year, you get to speak first.

In just a few weeks, Episcopalians in Minnesota are invited to attend one of three meetings to help determine the priorities for the 2013 budget.

The meetings are set for:

(The April 17 meeting will be webcast.)

Setting priorities
“We’re hoping to have conversations prior to the draft budget being put together,” said the Rev. Doug Sparks, chairman of the Joint Finance Committee, made up of members of the Trustees and Council, along with Bishop Brian Prior. “We want to invite people to come and talk about what we might or ought or should fund. What are our priorities?”

The Joint Finance Committee was created late last year to better reflect the relationship and need for financial coordination between Council and Trustees. The 2011 combined budget was a first step in moving toward a more integrated budget for Council and Trustees.

This year, the focus turns to bringing even greater clarity to the numbers in the budget.

“We’ve lived with a structural deficit for a number of years now,” Sparks said. “One of the things that those of us who have been involved in the process believe is that we can’t continue to sustain that.”

Annual Convention in September
In addition, this is the first year that Convention for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota will be held in September, to more closely align with the program year used by many churches, said Chris Winter, Missioner for Management. That has meant moving up various deadlines and increasing the importance of timely parochial reports.

After the Town Hall meetings, the Joint Finance Committee will create a budget to be presented to Council in June and then to Convention in September.

Looking forward to this new process, Winters reflects, “Instead of creating something without input, we’re trying to listen, listen, listen.”

Article written by Jamie Mair, Christ Church, Woodbury.


  1. Steve

    If we can’t make the meeting is there anywhere we can email comments?

  2. Katherine

    Jamie Mair! Following your posting was a video with a man in pajamas in the background so I CLICKED IT thinking it was another video story production…yours. I had no idea it was a YouTube advertisement for the new Optima car…complete with fairies, girls in bikinis, chrome wheels, drag racing, a bucking rhinoceros, pixie dust and more! What a sandman’s dream to wake us up for budgets and balance sheets! Anyone else get the same YouTube video following Jamie’s post? Listen, listen, listen… My son asked, “”Mom. what are you watching that has that heavy metal music?” I said, “It’s on our diocesan website,” to which he replied, “Hit their LIKE button!” Then my curious teen came over to view the ad and said, “Maybe they are going to raffle off an Optima at diocesan convention and this is the preview.”
    Am anxious to hear about all the conversation…on the finances.

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