News from the Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
November has arrived, and many congregations are finishing their annual stewardship campaigns and finalizing the budget for 2023, including support for the Presbytery. As a reminder, Presbytery’s budget is funded by three major streams. The first is per capita apportionment. Per capita for 2023 is $20.25 per active member, $1.00 more than 2022. It is based on the active membership total the session reported in the annual statistical report at the end of 2021. The $20.25 is divided as follows: $9.85 for General Assembly (up 87 cents from 2022), $1.50 for the Synod of South Atlantic (unchanged), and $8.90 for CFP (up 13 cents from 2022).
Per capita has been affected by membership losses of 2,673 active members over the preceding two years. This means the Presbytery will receive $23,789.70 less in per capita than prior to the onset of the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, the Finance Committee began to implement a plan to raise per capita with a $1.25 increase in CFP per capita in 2020. But with the onset of COVID-19, the planned increase for 2021 was shelved, and due the lingering nature of the pandemic and the financial pressures it has created for our congregations.
The second funding stream for the Presbytery budget is unified mission pledges. This stream is the most significant one for helping the Presbytery balance its budget. These funds are divided as follows: for every dollar given, 79 cents supports CFP, 1 cent supports the Synod, and 20 cents supports the mission of the General Assembly. Since 2018, mission support to the presbytery has dropped by almost $75,000 per year.
The discussion about what Presbytery’s per capita ought to be is affected by the mission support we receive. The Finance Committee is concerned that if the per capita is raised too much too quickly, it will impact the amount received in mission support. This is perhaps the main reason we have not followed the pattern of presbyteries like Tampa Bay, which has a per capita above $35.00 per active member.
The third stream which supports the annual budget is investments. Certain items in the budget – New Church Development expenses (including 1001 new worshiping communities and fellowship groups, around $95,000), the Microgrant program ($20,000), Church Revitalization grants (new; budget amount in development) – are funded from designated investment accounts. Any deficit in the budget is funded from the Presbytery’s discretionary fund. This fund was created in 2012 from proceeds from the sale of the presbytery office buildings, and has been supplemented over the years with funds received from congregations that were dismissed, and the sale of the Westminster DeLand property.
2022 has been a rough year for our investments, with a decline of over 24% through the first three quarters. This is after positive earnings of 28.75% in 2021, so we are still ahead through the pandemic. We have the funds available to support the 2023 budget, but we need our sessions to continue the level of support provided in previous years. We are grateful for this support, and recognize the challenges that our sessions continue to face, which, as I have previously written, appear to be three main issues:
Again, the Presbytery is thankful for the partnership we have in mission with our congregations. Some of the issues surrounding the 2023 budget and beyond will be addressed over the next year by the Transition Team now working to assess the staffing and other needs for the Presbytery, in light of my intention to retire as of September 30, 2023. Your prayers for this Team are appreciated, as they assess our needs, and plan for the best way to address them moving forward.
Executive Presbyter / Stated Clerk
Rev. Dr. Dan Williams