News & Features : Archives September 2017
September 14, 2017
Six Episcopal bishops and a wide-ranging group of other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh leaders filed an amicus brief this week in the Supreme Court case challenging President Trump's Executive Order No. 13780, known as the travel ban. The executive order, which the faith leaders claim discriminates against Muslims on the basis of religion, is being challenged in court by the state of Hawaii and the International Assistance Refugee Project.
In the brief, the faith leaders argue that religious tolerance is "critical to the safety and well-being of our local and national community," and that because the travel ban "selectively burdens Muslim-majority countries while exempting comparable Christian-majority countries," the executive order "is anathema to this core tenet that all members of our coalition share." The brief concludes that the order violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of religion by Congress.
"The Episcopal Diocese of Washington and I believe our nation's security is imperiled, not secured, by policies that discriminate solely on the basis of religion," said the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Diocese of Washington and one of the signatories of the brief. "I'm proud to join this interfaith effort to urge the Supreme Court to overturn the travel ban, so that visitors to the U.S. and refugees, once fully vetted, may enter the country without discrimination on the basis of religion."
The interfaith coalition includes the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California; the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of Washington; the Rt. Rev. Andrew Dietsche, bishop of New York; the Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, assistant bishop of New York; the Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, bishop of Long Island; and the Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan of New York, as well as the National Council of Churches; United Methodist Church Women; Jewish congregations in New York, Washington, and Maryland; the Sikh Coalition; seven U.S. Franciscan provinces; United Church of Christ clergy; Union Theological Seminary; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, among others.
September 12, 2017
Human Resources Committee Report
Paul Barkett (HR Committee), John Jasin (HR Committee), and Kathleen Hall
Health Plan Updates: Council unanimously approved an array of 5 health plans from the Episcopal Church Medical Trust (ECMT). ECMT will eliminate several of its Anthem BCBS plans at the end of 2018 and introduce comparable Anthem BlueCard options. Council has approved two new Anthem plans now to allow it to take effect in 2018. The Kaiser options and Anthem BCBS Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) will remain part of the diocesan plan array. Both ECMT and the diocese will notify each person affected by these changes and will assist them in selecting a new plan. If you have any questions about these changes, please contact Kathleen Hall.
Lay & Clergy Compensation Table Updates: Council unanimously approved a recommendation from the committee to increase the clergy and lay salary tables by 2.4% effective January 1, 2018. The committee reviewed market data, projections and parish financial trends to arrive at this adjustment.
Finance Committee Report
Jim Jones (Finance Committee Chair) and Paul Cooney
Fiscal Year 2017 to Date: The finance committee reported to Council the current revenue and expenses for the diocese. Expenses are below budgeted levels forecast for this point in the year. Congregational giving is slightly behind forecast, but within historical norms. Overall, the committee believes we are on track to achieve budget targets by the end of the year.
Draft Fiscal Year 2018 Budget: The finance committee reported to Council the most recent draft of the FY18 diocesan budget that will be presented at regional assemblies this fall.
Items of note in the FY18 draft budget:
The budget is balanced
It maintains last year’s practice of reporting staff salaries within their respective budget categories.
It assumes a $150,000 increase of giving from parishes. This is $10,000 more than actual FY17 commitments.
The diocese remains committed to reducing its use of income from the Soper Fund for operations expenses. In the proposed budget, the diocese will increase the amount of available Soper income it holds in reserve for congregational growth grants to $150,000 ($120,000 was reserved in FY17).
The diocese will increase its giving to The Episcopal Church (AKA the wider church or national church) by $61,000 to bring our giving to the 14.75% of diocesan income. The diocese will increase this giving to 15%, when this level of giving becomes mandatory in FY19.
There is a proposed pool of funds (2.5% of eligible employee compensation) available for merit-based staff compensation adjustments.
The budget has an assumed 6% increase in health insurance expenses.
Diocesan Staff Changes: Bishop Mariann reported on preliminary efforts concerning alternative approaches to Church House staffing following the departure of Joey Rick, who has served as Canon of Congregational Vitality since 2012. Council offered its advice to the Bishop, and Church House staff will move forward with its work identifying how best to proceed.
Strategic Financial Resources Commission: The Strategic Financial Resources Commission has held two well-attended workshops on annual giving campaigns. These campaigns were well received and the commission plans to offer additional workshops on planned giving and capital campaigns. Julie Anderson, the SFRC program manager, has held interviews with each of the 17 congregations that applied for the pilot program. The commission is encouraged by the enthusiasm of applicants.
Regional Assemblies & Leadership Recruitment: Regional assemblies will take place during October and November. Bishop Mariann asked council to help identify persons interested in standing for election to positions of leadership in the diocese. View the offices open in each region and submit names for consideration online.
September 05, 2017
Dear Friends of the Diocese of Washington,
With mixed emotions, I write with news that Ms. Joey Rick, canon for congregational vitality, has accepted a new position as chief culture officer of PartnerMD in Richmond, Virginia. Her last day with us will be Friday, September 22.
Like all who love Joey, I am happy that this great opportunity presented itself just as she was sensing the need to live closer to her family in Richmond. But how we will miss her joyful Spirit-filled presence and wise, engaging leadership.
Joey has brought a remarkable range of gifts to her work, beginning with her extensive professional background in organizational development and leadership, and including her deep and mature Christian faith; her boundless energy and her amazing capacity to exude contagious joy wherever her ministry has carried her.
The scope of her work among us is nothing short of breath-taking. Joey has helped more than half of our congregations and their search committees through the clergy transition processes. She has lead highly-customized vestry retreats for many congregations. She helped to conceive, launch and administer the Congregational Growth Grant program. She helped to create the vision and serving as one of the ongoing presenters for the Genesis program for clergy in new calls. She conceived and administered what have become our annual Leadership Learning Days. She provided sound, practical coaching to innumerable lay and clergy leaders across the diocese. In more ways than we will ever know, Joey has tirelessly helped to equip the saints in this diocese in a way that has expanded our capacity, deepened our faith, and sharpened our commitment for Christian service.
We’re working with diocesan leaders to discern our way forward, but the first task is abundantly clear: to thank Joey for all that she has given us and pray God’s blessing upon her and her husband Don, as they embark on this new adventure.
I warmly invite you to an evening prayer service and reception in Joey’s honor on Saturday, September 16, 4 p.m. at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church (map).
At the service, we will present Joey with several gifts, including a EDOW Memory Box that we’d like to fill with your notes of thanks and blessings for her future. If you’d like to send your cards and notes to the diocesan office by September 13, we’ll place the in the box, or you can bring your offering to the service/celebration or mail it to Joey directly.
We want the celebration to be meaningful, with room for laughter and tears. It would be a great help to us if you could let us know you plan to attend, so we can plan accordingly.
I hope to see you on September 16.
September 05, 2017
Bishop of Washington at Tuesday Rally in Support of DACA:
"The president's decision is not the final answer on DACA"
Washington, D.C.--The Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, joined a group of immigration advocates, dreamers, and other faith leaders in front of the White House this morning at a rally in support of the DACA program and its recipients. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the president's decision to end the program in 6 months if Congress refused to act, Bishop Budde was among those who led the group in prayer. She offered the following remarks and concluding prayer.
"I speak to you on behalf of four interfaith leaders: His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington; Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, senior rabbi of Washington Hebrew Congregation; Imam Talib M. Shareef of Masjid Muhammad, The Nation's Mosque, and myself.
"Last week we sent a letter to Present Trump and members of Congress, speaking with one voice to state emphatically that our respective sacred texts and teachings are clear: supporting the dreams of young immigrants in the United States is consistent with the moral imperative of extending hospitality to the stranger, of caring for immigrants and children, and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
"Now that the president has acted, we will turn our attention to Congress.
"I want to speak now to the dreamers present: You are part of our communities, part of this country. I want you to know that you belong here. We love you; we are so proud of you; and we need your gifts, talents and hard work to help make this country live up to its greatest ideals. Your dream is the American dream of opportunity and diversity, of safe haven and of building a better life for ourselves and our families. The future of this country is in your hands. The president's decision is not the final answer on DACA. We commit ourselves to work with and alongside you for a better day.
"Let us pray: Gracious God, we hold before you the young people of our nation, and especially those who now must worry if the only country they know as home will banish them. Empower and sustain them in this uncertain time, as we do our part, in our time, to ensure all in our country recognize the treasure that they are to us, and how blessed we are by all that they are contributing now and long to contribute in the future to the building up of our nation. Give us all strength and courage; wisdom and humility; clarity and compassion for the living of these days. Amen."