Proposed Canon:
Funding the Mission and Ministry of the Diocese

Fifth Draft – September 2010

Section 1.  Ten percent (a tithe) of the average of the past three years Net Operating Revenue (as reported on the Annual Parochial Reports) shall be the amount each congregation shall give in support of the mission and ministry of the Diocese.  By July 1 of each year, the Finance Committee shall give notice to each congregation of its ten percent contribution (based on its Annual Parochial Report) to the mission and ministry of the Diocese for the upcoming year.  In the event that a congregation has not filed a timely Annual Parochial Report, the Finance Committee shall substitute the most recently filed parochial report for its calculations.  Should the congregation subsequently file an Annual Parochial Report showing Net Operating Revenues differing from that used in the computation, the Finance Committee shall adjust the required contribution to the mission and ministry of the Diocese, as appropriate. Because of circumstances, a congregation may be unable to give the required ten percent and shall be afforded an appeal opportunity as described in subsequent sections.  Not later than September 15 of each year, all congregations shall acknowledge in writing to the Bishop their commitment to give ten percent or state their intent to appeal for the coming year.

Section 2.  Some congregations will desire to give more than ten percent. Thus, Diocesan Council will establish “Mission” accounts in the Annual Operating Budget to which congregations may contribute voluntarily above ten percent to support mission inside and outside the Diocese.  Diocesan Council will use monies from this account annually to fund mission work such as: revitalizing existing congregations, new church starts, college chaplaincies, companion-diocese relationships, and other mission work inside and outside the Diocese through the Annual Operating Budget.

Section 3.  Any congregation believing that it will be unable to give ten percent to the mission and ministry of the Diocese in the coming year shall file a written appeal to the Diocesan Council signed by the Rector (or Vicar or Priest-in-Charge) and Senior Warden no later than September 15.  An Assessment Appeal Committee, comprised of Diocesan Council members, shall meet with representatives of the congregation filing the appeal. In making its decision, the Assessment Appeal Committee shall review the congregation’s current financial reports, the stewardship education and practice in the congregation, the congregation’s particular circumstances, and other data considered relevant by the congregation and the Assessment Appeal Committee.  After such review, the Assessment Appeal Committee may reduce the percentage of the assessment for that congregation for that year or affirm that ten percent is the assessment. Such decision, and the reasons therefore, shall be communicated in writing to the Rector (or Vicar or Priest-in-Charge) and Senior Warden, the Bishop, and the Diocesan Council. The Assessment Appeal Committee shall operate pursuant to guidelines provided by the Diocesan Council. 

Section 4.  In the event that annual contributions from any congregation fall short of the ten percent assessment or the reduced amount set by the Assessment Appeal Committee for two consecutive years, any such congregation, if it is a parish, shall, by operation of this canon, have its status changed to that of a Mission of this Diocese.

Rationale. The people and congregations of the Diocese of Georgia acknowledge our need to give of our time, talent, and treasure for the work of Christ.  We embrace our heritage, expressed both in the Bible and in Tradition, of congregations supporting one another and joining together to accomplish the work of Christ.  We acknowledge our responsibility to support the episcopacy and to provide for the mission and ministry of the Diocese.  We recognize the tithe as the minimum standard of biblical giving and we acknowledge the important example our congregations provide to our members by practicing the tithe.  We have strong bonds with one another as members of the Body of Christ.  We therefore desire that funding of the mission and ministry of the Diocese be fair to all within a framework that promotes both compassion and accountability and where no congregation is required to contribute more than a fair share, and no congregation is allowed to contribute less than a fair share.