It’s Saturday night and the legislative committee portion of General Conference 2012 has ended. The Western jurisdiction took a major hit late this afternoon. The General Council on Finance and Administration budget presentation included a new Episcopal Fund calculation formula.

The presenter was slick and well prepared. The basic premise was each jurisdiction should pay for its’ own Episcopal leaders. The illustration was the South Eastern Jurisdiction pays 1.4 million or 16% more than the cost of its’ bishops while the west pays 746,000 or 46% less than the cost of it’s bishops. It was called a subsidy and it got the attention of the delegates. Nothing could be done to stop the process.

We seem to have a portion of the church that will use any measures necessary to get what they desire.

In 2004 is was proportionally based membership and the Western Jurisdiction lost delegates and General board seats.  Now proportionality is bad. Membership is not relevant… Its pay for what you use.

No more bishops of the whole church.

No more pooling resources for the advancement of the church. No more connectional relationship through the Episcopal Fund. It’s everyone for themselves.  I’m looking for a bright spot… I’m not finding any.

The example has an estimated additional cost to our Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of $85,000 per year starting with the 2013 budget.  This will be a challenge for us and the another conferences in the Western Jurisdiction.  I am working to extract some commitments from GCFA around the exact details of the implementation. There is still hope until the plenary decides.

Tomorrow is Sunday and it will be a good day…. No meetings.

Good night,


Rev. Craig Parrish is the Conference Treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Conference and head of the PNW delegation to Tampa, Florida for General Conference 2012.

Photo Credit: Puzzles (one in a thousand missing) by Flickr user amala_tc


  1. I keep on thinking about the disciples and the arguments they had about keeping and spending the common money… I seem to recall them arguing over that quite a bit, and Jesus rebuking them properly. Of course, I could be wrong, but aren’t we supposed to be the UNITED Methodist church, meaning we love and support each other, not fight for our own menial ends and purposes?

  2. ouch! more and more I feel like we in the West are like the Districts in the Hunger Games. We need to fend for ourselves with few resources, and whenever we are summoned into their presence we get hurt.

    Are we really so powerful and our words so true for society that “they” are so afraid of us?

  3. It is unfortunate in one way, yet it makes it that much easier to fly on our own, since the “United” Methodist Church has choosen to move away from the Good News of God’s Love. On the other hand, now the PNW power folk understand what they have done to the small churches in our own conference. What goes around, comes around. Blessings

  4. That seems like such an odd way for a connectional system, not too mention the body of Christ, to behave. I hope they’re not planning on eliminating the Central Conference Pension initiative next.

    I guess that’s one way to rethink church.

  5. Ouch is right! I agree with JoDene and also with Homer. I was struck several years ago with what seemed to be a cogent and accurate comment: the United States has now become a mission field as the UMC grows quickly around the world. This CFA proposal certainly doesn’t present a shared mission perspective for our church, but rather a bottom line type culture bound type of thinking by the Have’s first.
    I thank our delegation for its faithfulness and Craig for his message and alerts. Blessings to you all.

  6. As a member of the SEJ – I agree with you! We need more unity not more division.
    I hope it fails in the plenary. I would also like to see us keep guaranteed appointments and remove boundary/AC lines so we are appointed wherever needed. Bet we’d need a set-aside bishop for that coordination!

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