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Delegates pass CFA budget, ignore Florida's call for no increase (July 22, 2004)

Delegates pass CFA budget, ignore Florida's call for no increase (July 22, 2004)

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Delegates pass CFA budget, ignore Florida's call for no increase

July 22, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140     Orlando  {0118}

An e-Review Feature
By Michael Wacht
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Rejecting a plea by the Florida Conference to hold the line on spending, delegates to the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference passed the budget proposed by the jurisdiction's Council on Finance and Administration (CFA), which includes a 4.8 percent increase for the 2005-2008 quadrennium. The total budget is a little more than $8.65 million.
Bishop Kenneth Carder, CFA chairperson, presented the quadrennial budget saying CFA worked with the budget committee of the Southeastern Jurisdiction Administrative Council (SEJAC) to reduce the budget from an initial proposal that represented a 24 percent increase.
"We worked to bring the budget into what's realistic in terms of receipts and good stewardship," Carder told delegates.

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. — Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker presides over the discussion of the budget proposal brought before delegates July 13 at the 2004 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference by the jurisdiction's Council on Finance and Administration. Photo by Woody Woodrick, Mississippi Conference, Photo #04-0048.

The Florida Conference presented a resolution passed at its 2004 annual conference event affirming the jurisdictional restructuring process already begun and requesting CFA and SEJAC "fund priority needs...with no increase in budgeted funds over the 2005-2008 quadrennium."
The Rev. Dr. Anne Burkholder, Florida's director of Connectional Ministries and an author of the resolution, said the proposal came out of a desire to "challenge the system to be more effective and more focused in what it does."
"This place [Lake Junaluska] is such an incredible gift in some ways and such an incredible burden in other ways," she said. "I am a member of SEJAC and a property owner at Lake Junaluska. This is not out of a lack of appreciation for Lake Junaluska and the work that is done here, but out of a different understanding of the work we're called to."
Burkholder said the repetition of work and structure at the general, jurisdictional and annual conference levels does not work in the 21st century church. "It's about conforming versus collaborative work," she said, adding the jurisdiction needs to hold the line on funding until the restructuring effort gains clarity about the work of the jurisdiction.
Anne Travis, a lay member of the Holston Conference, said the resolution seemed like two combined efforts dealing with restructuring and funding. Terry Muse, another lay member of the Holston Conference, expressed concern that cutting program funding would result in more serious problems for the jurisdiction.
Carder defended CFA's budget, saying the increase is "modest compared to the needs."
Delegates voted to support CFA's recommendation of non-concurrence with the Florida resolution.
CFA's proposal also recommended changing the jurisdictional apportionment formula to the formula used by the General Council on Finance and Administration to determine World Service Fund apportionments. This was in response to a directive given by the 2000 jurisdictional conference.
The Rev. Thomas Grieb, a member of the Kentucky Conference and chairperson of the financial administration standing committee, said there was significant debate over whether to support that proposal. "We had a divided house, but decided to follow the World Service Fund formula," he said. "It will be a hardship on three conferences, but relief for the others."
A minority report presented by seven members of the financial administration standing committee, including three from Florida, proposed a more equitable sharing of the budget increase, with most conferences receiving a 3.4 percent increase and North Georgia receiving the largest increase at 17.1 percent.
The minority report was accepted and adopted by the conference.
The two conferences that would have borne the brunt of the apportionment increase under the original plan were North Georgia at 30.2 percent and Florida at 21.2 percent. Four others would have received an increase of less than 10 percent, and Red Bird Missionary Conference would have received a 22.6 percent decrease.
Delegates also approved an amended recommendation to establish The Lake Junaluska Dam and Lake Restoration Fund during the 2005-2008 quadrennium. Each member of each annual conference is being asked to give $.50 to the voluntary fund, raising money to restore the Lake Junaluska dam and bring it in line with strict North Carolina structure codes.
A recommendation to replenish the SEJ contingency fund was amended to include a cap of $400,000 in the fund and approved. The fund will receive money from jurisdictional apportionments when they are received in excess of 82 percent. Once the $400,000 goal is met, money received will support SEJ programs and ministries.
Delegates approved the recommendation for strong accountability and an approval process for budget overruns.
Raúl Alegría was nominated as SEJ treasurer for the remainder of the current quadrennium and for the 2005-2008 quadrennium. The nomination was precipitated by the resignation of treasurer David Snipes, who was commended for his work by CFA.


This article relates to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.