Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MFI Watch: The Episcopal Presiding Bishop's Office seeks to raise $250-$500 million

In another indication that the dioceses are being marginalized out by a centralized office in New York City, the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church heard reports yesterday from their meeting at the Wyndham Portland Hotel from the "Mission Funding Initiative" (MFI) on its goal to raise $250-$500 million that would be authorized by the Presiding Bishop.

The Rev. Susan McCone, director of the MFI reportedly told the Executive Council that she has "identified 500 Episcopalians 'with a verified giving capacity' of at least $1 million each, one quarter of whom each have a potential to give $500 million and 15 of whom are include on Forbes list of billionaires." She questioned, however, whether the Executive Council and the Episcopal Church have the "spiritual will to see this process through."

The Rev. Charles Fulton, executive director of MFI denied that the MFI is attempting to do "an end run around local leaders," he said. However, McCone admitted that "raising such amounts of money in the current economy is difficult."

There are no comments yet from Episcopal diocesean bishops and standing committees and executive boards, as well as local parish vestries, on this development by 815 to aggressively pursue a "first-ever attempt to cultivate major gifts."

According to a press release from the Presiding Bishop's office, "Currently the money raised is intended for funds aimed at congregational development, leadership in ministry, global ministry, spiritual enrichment and communications," though no specifics were listed except to raise $30 million to buy a vacant block in Austin, Texas and move nondescript "archives" from their current location at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin to a brand new a "mission research center" built by the Presiding Bishop's office.

There was no registered comment from Bishop Andy Doyle or the Diocese of Texas on this proposed $30 million fund raising activity or what part the diocese will play in the funding and administration of the center that is proposed to be located in their diocese.

What is left unsaid is why the Episcopal Church now seeks to "cultivate major gifts" of up to $500 million and move significant budgeting and oversight authority away from the local dioceses and to the office of the Presiding Bishop in New York.

According to the Blue Book of 2006 General Convention in Columbus, in 2005 "the Executive Council established the Mission Funding Initiative as a component of the Office of the Presiding Bishop," and not the local dioceses.

The General Convention report states that:
The Mission Funding Initiative is charged to “seek a variety of ways to further the mission and ministry of the Church, including funding through foundation grants.” The Council also charged the Church Center staff to develop a mechanism for the review and approval of grant requests and to ensure their endorsement by the Presiding Bishop.
Originally, the proposal to create the MFI was in effort to meet the 20/20 evangelism goals set by the General Convention 2003, but that effort has been abandoned.


robroy said...

It makes me quite happy that the TEClub is hitting on rich members for $30 million to build a storage center for records that no one will read (except maybe George Conger).

Anonymous said...

Look at resolution A069 and A114. They need a budget allocation of $5 million to do this. That's a lot of fine liquor and caviar to coax those wallets to open.

JAMES said...

Texas perspective: this MFI proposal is flanking the move of the consortium[CEEP] to St Davids' Austin real estate. It is equivalent to moving an aircraft carrier battle group. This week Presiding Bishop Katherine is coming to Corpus Christi and San Antonio. Sister Chittister of Faith and Reason is coming next week to Trinity Cathedral, Houston, and Trinity University, San Antonio, sponsored by St Marks. Of the big guns, who pays dues to the Consortium [CEEP] and who does not tells you which way the wind is blowing. St Martin Houston is not a member, they are wealthy and they hosted the recent Southern Cone pep rally. New Bishop in the Yoop was good news. The new Pres at EDS was great news. Now some good news is coming to Texas. hofacker27@netscape.com Victoria TX

Gator said...

What a sinister photo! Good catch!

Fed Up But Good said...

Hi--the link to the ECUSA (re the 20/20 goals, end of your post) doesn't work--does 815 have someone working full-time to delete inconvenient webpages??

The Episcopal Church, right now, is at its lowest ebb ever. And it did this all to itself.

And yes, it's a sinister photo of KJS: the laywoman in a black suit pretending to be our consecrated leader. Disgusting.

But insofar as being our "first female Presiding Bishop," take comfort. Queen Louie the Bloated of Newark beat Goody Schorie to the title by decades.