Creation care, youth outreach among priorities emphasized in session on 2025-27 budget

Zena Link, at bottom, a member of the Task Force on Creation Care and Environmental Racism, speaks during the Joint Budget Committee’s listening session. The session was led by the Rev. Patty Downing, chair of the Joint Budget Committee. Photo/ENS

By David Paulsen

Episcopal News Service

The public phase of the Episcopal Church’s budgeting process for 2025-27 got underway on April 17 with an online listening session hosted by the church’s newly created Joint Budget Committee.

The 20 people who testified during the hourlong session on Zoom, from bishops to lay leaders, exemplified the wide range of current Episcopal ministries while underscoring several of the church’s top priorities, including creation care, LGBTQ+ rights, Indigenous ministries and youth outreach. Each spoke of the need to devote adequate funding to those priorities, at a time of some uncertainty about the church’s financial outlook for the coming years.

The Rev. Everett Lees spoke first, highlighting how Christ Church in Tulsa, Okla. where he is vicar, recently celebrated Easter with over 600 worshippers, but “it’s not just numbers,” Lees said. “It’s people whose lives have been transformed through the witness of the Episcopal Church, its commitment to inclusion and its commitment to justice, and I want to see more of that throughout the church.”

Lees raised concerns that the churchwide budget has been too skewed toward administrative costs, and he advocated spending more money on directly supporting the needs and priorities of local worshipping communities. Others echoed those sentiments in calling for greater financial support of new and growing ministries.

“We need the church budget to prioritize new ministry development,” said the Rev. Nurya Love Parish, a priest in the Diocese of Western Michigan who created Plainsong Farm in 2015 with local support and backing from the Episcopal Church’s church planting program.

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