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Author Topic: At'tn. GOAA Parishes: Re. National Ministries Committment for '10  (Read 665 times) Average Rating: 0
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Basil 320
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« on: January 21, 2010, 03:25:05 AM »

Help!

I just started my 3rd stint in the past 30 years on the Parish Council of my parish.  I have always been a strong advocate in support of the Total Commitment program of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOAA).  Most of our parishioners, while reluctantly approving annual budgets that include this support for the Holy Archdiocese, are critical of the amount of money that our parish appropriates for this purpose, and my advocacy for this line item.  I feel I understand the financial needs of the greater church, the Archdiocese, its ministries, and our Holy Metropolis. Our parish has been a stand out in our support for the Archdiocese, though, thankfully in recent years, our Metropolis has brought many of the parishes up to an acceptable level of support.

I offered this lead in as a perspective, because this year, for the first time in my involvement in parish administration, I am incensed at the assessment that our Metropolis has assigned to our parish.  In this year that America continues to experience the worst recession in over 60 years, our Metropolis is asking for financial support which is 30.3% higher than the 2009 amount.  While there is an appeal process which we will participate in, I've found that the Metropolis has been assessed a commitment of $200,000.00 more than 2009.  Therefore, I can't understand how our appeal will be granted to any reasonable, affordable amount.  Frankly, given the amount of the incease assessed to our Holy Metropolis, I can understand why they are assigning such an increase to our parish.

Therefore, I have looked at what the Archdiocese publishes on its website for the National Ministires Total Commitment revenue. It seems the last Clergy-Laity Congress approved a $685,000.00 (+10.4%) increase in Total Commitment revenue compared with 2009!  The fact that it is approved by the Clergy-Laity Congress does not move me, frankly, because the Congresses are so slated in favor of the archdiocesan leadership.  Yet, how can they reasonably expect a parish with a history of giving over $50,000.00 of our $650,000.00 annual budget to National Ministries; to add over $30,000.00 in one year is beyond my reasonable comprehension, especially in light of the economic atmosphere.  By the may, our parish is in an area of general economic decline, without prospects for improvement.  While all parishes experience financial issues, as an example of why this increase is such a strain for my parish, we have a deteriorating Portico, the main entrance to our church, that needs at least $60,000.00 to repair; ($200,000.00 to replace), which we have not done, for the 5 years this repair has been needed, due to lack of funds.  (We keep yellow construction tape around it to minimize access.)

A few of the parishes in our area are going to meet within the next month or so to plot a strategy to address the ridiculous assessments.  I hope we can attract Archdiocesan Council members to this meeting.  I can't understand what is causing this massive increase.  Could it be the expense of the Ecumenical Patriarch's visit?  These visits are typically covered by donations from dedicated wealthy contributors.  Is it the clergy sexual abuse settlements?  Archbishop Demetrios, in an interview in "The National Herald," claimed they were being paid by dedicated wealthy contributors.

In light of the status of the economy, I would expect the Archdiocesan Council to exercise its interim administrative authority, and reduce the Archdiocesan budget.  I would also expect the Holy Eparchial Synod of Bishops, to likewise recommend a budget reduction for 2010.  If need be, services will have to be reduced. Perhaps staff lay offs would, unfortunately, be necessary.

I am wondering what other GOAA parishes are experiencing in regard to the 2010 National Ministries Assessment.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 03:30:30 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 06:29:33 PM »

Simple logic applies here: Pay what your community can afford.

Did you intend to say that the commitment was $20,000 more in 2009 rather than $200,000?   Huh  Otherwise, one could infer that every penny was going to the Archdiocese.
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 07:26:44 PM »

We have no problem with our assessment.  Of course, we're usually on the higher end of the ladder (which is unusual because we're in the middle according to membership), which is not the case this year.

For anyone reading the thread who wants to know how this is done/what we are talking about:  the Archdiocese splits up the national ministries budget amongst the 9 districts (8 metropolises - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, New Jersey, San Francisco, Pittsburgh + the Archdiocese District in NY), and then each Metropolis determines how their portion is to be split amongst the parishes, ranking them according to their 2-year average spending (adjusted, and with certain things excluded).  The money is paid directly to the Archdiocese, which then pays: Metropolis expenses (building & utilities, Metropolitans, personnel), Archdiocesan expenses, & ministries expenses (from Internet Ministries to Philoptohos to SCOBA).  Some Metropolises have a reputation for paying in full and on time (Chicago), some have a reputation for paying a significant amount less, and doing so late (Pittsburgh used to have this reputation, but that is fading thanks to the work of our chancellor).
« Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 07:28:47 PM by Fr. George » Logged

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Basil 320
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2010, 11:57:09 PM »

SolEX01,
My reference to "$200,000.00" was to the amount of the increase the Archdiocese added to the total they want the Metropolis to collect.   The amount of the increase they are expecting of my parish is $30,000.00 more than the $56,000.00 plus, that we gave in '09. Also, you can't get away with only paying what you determin you can afford.  There are sanctions in the new ('05) Uniform Parish Regulations, including dismissal of Parish Council members, not ratifying Parish Council elections, etc.  Further, even if they don't impose sanctions, the Archdiocese always carries the delinquent balance and they lay for, when they can get you.  In 1980 (or so) we had made arrangements to have an assistant priest assigned to us, and the week before he was scheduled for the assignment, they called from New York and told us we had a delinquent balance from two years earlier that we'd have to pay up in full, if we wanted the assistant priest assigned to us.

Fr.George,
I'm surprised your parish hasn't been affected.  I'll have to look at the whole Metropolis list.  We used to be similar with you.   I think we're both among the large parishes in our Metropolis, exceeded by only two others, possibly.

However, it's the 10.4%, $685,000.00 increase ($16,625,000 for '09; $17,250,000 for '10), in the National Ministries budget that I am wondering if anyone understands, or can justify in this recessionary year.  At least in our metropolis, our chancellor has brought most of the parishes up to a fair share level.  I don't know how well they have more fairly been collecting nationally.  So, it's not like the increase can be attributed to bringing the slackers in line.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2010, 12:02:14 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 12:44:01 AM »

SolEX01,
My reference to "$200,000.00" ....

OK, I didn't notice the increase applied to assessments for the Pittsburgh Metropolis; I understood what you said as the entire $200K was coming from your church.   Embarrassed

was to the amount of the increase the Archdiocese added to the total they want the Metropolis to collect.   The amount of the increase they are expecting of my parish is $30,000.00 more than the $56,000.00 plus, that we gave in '09. Also, you can't get away with only paying what you determin you can afford.  There are sanctions in the new ('05) Uniform Parish Regulations, including dismissal of Parish Council members, not ratifying Parish Council elections, etc.

Now I understand why a whole bunch of Churches sued various Metropolitans since 2005 when Parish Council members were removed, et al. 

Further, even if they don't impose sanctions, the Archdiocese always carries the delinquent balance and they lay for, when they can get you.  In 1980 (or so) we had made arrangements to have an assistant priest assigned to us, and the week before he was scheduled for the assignment, they called from New York and told us we had a delinquent balance from two years earlier that we'd have to pay up in full, if we wanted the assistant priest assigned to us.

Bully tactics....   Sad
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Basil 320
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 05:58:01 PM »

No more current information about this year's planned increase of 10.4% in the GOAA's Total Commitment revenue in the National Ministries budget?
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 06:03:46 PM by Basil 320 » Logged

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