Offerings to ECUSA Dip Following Gay Bishop's Consecration

TAMPA Fla. -- Following the consecration of the openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, several dissenting dioceses and individual parishes have been withholding their funds to the national church, causing what the Episcopal Church called an “anticipated dip?in revenue.

Kurt Barnes, treasurer of the ECUSA and Russ Palmore, of the ECUSA Office of Administration and Finance, released the specific numbers during a conference on Monday, Feb. 9 2004, in Tampa Fla.

According to Barnes, the reduction was well anticipated, and hence are “almost not material?in the effect on church operations.

"The reduction is well below what nay-sayers and doomsdayers were predicting last August," Barnes said.

The administers crafted the budget in August ?the same time New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who has lived with his male partner for years, was first confirmed by the Episcopal General Convention.

The final numbers showed a 6% decrease in funding, down $3 million from the anticipated $48 million. The dip is likely due to the Pittsburgh and Dallas dioceses refusing to send money to the national church in protest.

Bruce Mason, spokesman for the American Anglican Council, a conservative group of Episcopalians, said the reduction in financial support for the national church might be slight this year but that doesn't mean it will remain so.

Mason said some dioceses have tapped endowments to make up for parishioners' cutbacks.

"The bottom line is, people are withholding money," he said. "It's a gradual thing that will trickle up from the pews to the national office. This has been something that has torn the Episcopal Church apart."