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ECUSA: Financial Expert Says Figures More Spin Than Reality


News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

The income dip of six percent recently reported by the Executive Council of the national Episcopal Church is closer to somewhere between10 to18 percent, says a financial expert and an alumnus of the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania who has looked at the figures.

There are two fundamental errors in the Florida news release: The first is that ECUSA says the National Church has pledges of $16 million from 51 dioceses, along with pledges of future support from another 33 dioceses totaling $8.1 million. These two figures total $24,100,000 not $26,446,000 as claimed. To this total is added "Other Income of $18,554,000 [Trust Funds, etc] to yield the total ECUSA budget of $42,654,000, said Oliver Conger, a former Philadelphia company president now resident in Florida.

Two dioceses - Pittsburgh and Dallas - have refused to send any money to the national church in protest,"

The more than 7,000 congregations of the Episcopal Church receive $2.14 bill ion in offerings a year, and forward a portion to the national church. Individual dioceses are asked to send 21% [up from 17% in 00-03] of their income to ECUSA, but about half of the dioceses who have already made their financial pledges to the national church fall below that threshold.

"ECUSA says revenues are down about $3,027,000 from the original budget projection of $48,000,000", but the real reduction truth is $5,373,000 using ECUSA's own figures, says Conger. This figure is calculated by adding the $24,100,000 with the estimated "Other Income" [Trust Funds, etc] of $18,554.0 00 to yield total projected income of $42,654.000 - not the original Budget of $48,000,000 or the spin version of $45,000,000.

"Income is down $3,027,000 to $5,373,000 from the original request $29,446, 000 making the reduction at least 10-18% of ECUSA's diocesan asking, not 6 % . It is far more honest and correct to compare changes in "asking" when measuring the actual decline than to use the total budget to yield the smaller number," said Conger.

Conger said his analysis was based on ECUSA's own statements from the Florida Meeting. However, no calculation was performed to estimate the millions of dollars wasted in legal fights to keep money and property under the control of the ECUSA

Conger made several other comparisons: "Louis Crew's 01 analysis of total diocesan Income for 01 of $147,2 79,404 when compared with ECUSA's current diocesan estimate of $140,219,000 [x 21% to equal the original asking of $28,445,998], would indicate a decline in diocesan income over the past three years of $7,060,400 [about 4.8%
decline when inflation was about 9% for the period]. Thus the actual decline to stay even with 01 figures is about 13.8%+/-.

"Another way to measure dissatisfaction within the pews, with revisionist Bishops and ECUSA would be to take 10% of the parishes' $2.14 Billion total income which would yield $214,000,000 to the dioceses - not the current estimated $140,219,000 [34.5% shortfall]. Then apply 21% of ECUSA's asking to the $214,000,000 which yields $44,940,00 0 versus the current estimated $24,100,000 [46.4% shortfall].

With many of the older pew sitters dying off in the next five years and not being replaced, there will be a smaller giving base and perhaps over half of the 7,000 parishes will fold.

The pruning will cut to the bone. Over the past twenty years, one study has shown that the evangelicals [who believe in the authority of the Bible and Christ] have grown from 25% of the population to about 47% in the United States.

It is thought that in another ten years this growth will surpass 57%. Revisionists, who have no gospel are heading down a slippery slope to oblivion, some might say Hell itself. Their type of religion just doesn't "sell", concluded Conger.


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