The process for developing a new Mission Share funding plan began in late spring with a series of listening sessions aimed to find out what congregations had to say about the current formula.
In the current formula, Mission Share calculations are made by giving equal weight to Average Sunday Attendance, Operating Income and Operating Expenses as well as specifying 12.50% as the Mid Point Percentage. These three ratios are determined from Parochial Report data. A congregation’s Share Ratio is the average of the three ratios. Then all congregations are ordered from low to high by their Share Ratio.
The congregation with smallest Share Ratio is assessed at a rate of 6% of current Normal Operating Income, and the congregation with Share Ratio closest to average Share Ratio is assessed at rate of 12.5% of current Normal Operating Income. All other congregations are assessed at a rate defined by Share Ratio order on a straight-line graph connecting the lowest and highest rated congregations.
One of the primary concerns identified during the listening sessions was that Average Sunday Attendance is not a good indicator of a congregation’s ability to pay its Mission Share. Also, congregations need to have their Mission Share reduced due to their own financial strain.
The process began by establishing a 2017 Mission Share Baseline of $2,834,344. This baseline was calculated using the current Mission Share formula and 2015 Parochial Report data.
Seven different scenario changes to the baseline were considered, including a flat rate of 13.4%, the percentage required to produce the same Mission Share baseline amount.
An eighth scenario, a flat rate 10% Biblical Tithe, was also considered. The effects of 10% Flat Rate/Biblical Tithe:
- Total Mission Share amount to the diocese decreases by 25.36% ($718,724) from 2017 baseline
- 23 lowest income congregations would have increases in Mission Share amount of 6.6% to 66.7%
- All but one congregation would have double-digit % increase in Mission Share amount
- 39 highest income congregations would have decreases in Mission Share amount of 4.0% to 36.2%
- 11 of the highest income congregations would decrease over 30.2%
- Removes Average Sunday Attendance as a Mission Share Factor
- Gives equal weight to Operating Income and Operating Expenses
- Reduces Mid Point Percentage to 11.50%
- Decreases Mission Share for 89% of congregations
Keep in mind that the percentage decreases for each congregation are in comparison to what the Mission Share would be in 2017 if the current formula were kept in place. So while the percentage decreases, the actual dollar amount due may actually increase slightly from the 2016 amount.
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The Rev. David Getreu serves as Priest in charge at St. Philip’s, Circleville, and chaired the task force charged with examining the Mission Share Funding Plan.