[The Episcopal News] In 2024, the Diocese of Los Angeles will begin to enforce assessments on parishes for the Mission Share Fund, as voted on at the 1996 special diocesan convention and reaffirmed at the annual convention in 2011. This shift is from the expectation that each parish will give 12% of normal operating income (NOI) to enforcing the required giving level.
In recent years parishes have contributed to the MSF on a voluntary basis, with 12% contributions expected and 15% encouraged. Because many parishes have not met that threshold, the diocese has struggled to maintain the staff, structures and services required to support the ministries of its congregations.
Bishop John Harvey Taylor has established an Assessment Review Committee (ARC) to help parishes get their Mission Share Fund commitments to the mandatory level. We are formulating a process that will ensure that parishes are neither punished nor shamed if they cannot pay, and others will be asked to carry their fair share of the responsibility to the diocese.
A few people have asked us why an assessment is necessary, a question to which there are both theological and practical answers.
It is in the nature and polity of Episcopalians that we share out of the abundance of the blessings God has granted and bestowed upon us. As responsible and mature Christians we understand the necessity of collaborative and interdependent mission and outreach, an evangelical truth that St. Paul talks about in his Epistles to the Galatians and the Romans:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. … Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another.” —Romans 12:9-16)
“My friends, … bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” — Galatians 6:2
Sometimes the poorest among us put the wealthy to shame with their generosity. It is the missions, parishes and institutions of the diocese that keep the witness to the risen Christ alive and tangible in our secularizing age.
Please note that mission congregations in the diocese will continue to contribute 10% of their plate and pledge and an additional 5% of plate and pledge earmarked for savings (3%), sabbatical (1%), and Christian education (1%).
Currently 28 of our 61 parishes already contribute the required 12% of NOI.
The diocese expects that all parishes that are able will contribute their fair share of 12%. The question of how we reach a fair and equitable Mission Share Fund will be explored and discussed more fully and in greater detail at our annual diocesan convention Nov. 10 – 11.
We hope you will ask questions and raise any concerns at the upcoming deanery meetings. If you would like to speak to someone ahead of time, email the Rev. Rachel Nyback, chair, at email@example.com
The 12% Assessment Review Committee
The Rev. Rachel Nyback
The Very Rev. Canon Ian Davies
Canon Ann Seitz