****** ^^^^^ wrote: > When Ben+ Benitez was our diocesan, he encouraged adoption of the > "Freedom of Choice" plan which allowed local parishes to reduce > their share of the diocese's contribution to TEC's missionary > budget and "redirect" resources to local outreach efforts. I > objected loudly then that it was not an either/or situation and > that the national church did things we couldn't do locally. I am delighted that you opposed the Benitez initiative. Its effects are still very much with us in our common life. Please do not grow weary in your prophecy. The case is even stronger if you remember that TEC is not a "national church," that we are also 11 dioceses outside the USA, that all 111 of our dioceses have missions worldwide. Attacks on the budget of TEC diminish those missions. The Diocese of Texas refused to pay $831,286.67 of TEC's asking in 2004, the latest year for which we have complete figures. Instead of paying the 21% asked of everyone else, the Diocese of Texas paid only 7.1% of your $6,006,127 intake for that year. (See the official accounts of all diocesan askings and payments at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/Diocesan_Covenant_Commitments.pdf) In contrast, many dioceses who received far less in 2004 gave the full 21%. Yet deputies from Texas came to convention with their heads up, participated fully in the convention which the rest of us helped to subsidize. Nine persons from the Diocese of Texas have accepted appointments to Interim Bodies whose work the Diocese of Texas dramatically short-changes. And Texans routinely brag about the resource of Camp Allen. Many dioceses could afford fancy conference centers if they took $831,287 per year away from our common life. I wonder how much more we could do collectively to help with missions around the world were the Diocese of Texas less stingy and more willing to pay their share of the load. The Bible says that of those to whom much is given, much shall be required. That text has replaced a few verses in Leviticus in holding the distinction of being buried for all but bible scholars in these hard times. I hope that Texas will continue to participate fully in our work even if you choose to pay so little of the cost. We need you; we need your talents, and your points of view. I hope the Diocese of Texas will continue not to give until it can give out of joy, never out of shame. God does not like givers who frown. The bounty is God's, not ours. Faithfully, Louie Newark deputy Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew
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