In South Dakota, a diocese largely funded from the Episcopal Church in New York, budget cuts are forcing the elimination of a mission vicar position - a cluster of Indian Reservation congregations will not have their own priest. But the diocese will be adding a second bishop in the coming year.
The bureaucrats recently eliminated medical and travel funds for overseas missionaries. Then, they failed to deliver on about $400,000 in already budgeted funds for Native American ministries.
The New York leadership will not respond to requests by several Bishops for an accounting of the amount and sources of lawsuit dollars.
While the national church's New York bureaucracy spends millions of dollars on lawsuits and life support for itself, it is alienating and eliminating congregations.
Bishop David Bena offers an opinion piece on the continuing litigation in Virginia and all over the country, as the Episcopal Church leaders in New York insist on suing traditional congregations rather than negotiate with them. Bishop Bena writes:
Our churches were undergoing amicable property settlement negotiations with the Diocese in January 2007 when it and the Episcopal Church abruptly broke off those discussions. They then filed lawsuits against our churches, our ministers, and more than 100 volunteers serving on our vestries (governing boards)...
Pitting Christian against Christian in court does nothing to save one soul, strengthen one family, or help one person in need -- and literally millions of dollars that have been going toward legal fees would be much better spent in serving those true missions of the faith.
hat-tip: Baby Blue Online
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Newark (across the river from the NYC headquarters of the Episcopal Organization-or-whatever) is running out of money. This is a diocese where Bishop John Spong made a name for himself by denying just about everything that Christianity teaches and emptying the churches of people. You can read more over here. A taste:
Projected pledge income was below budget for 2008. Almost half of the outstanding pledges at the end of 2007 remain unpaid. Over 40% of 2007 pledge reconciliation forms remained outstanding. Council received $503,000 in income so far; this was against an anticipated income of nearly $952,000. This income deficit was $448,000, over 45% under the projected income for year to date.
A few dioceses are standing up for what's right and going on record against New York's efforts to eliminate people. You can read about some of those efforts here, here and here.