After three years of work, a simpler, clearer and fairer formula determining each parish’s DM&M (Diocesan Mission and Ministries) was approved at the 2017 Niagara Synod.
In reviewing the old formula, DM&M Committee Chair the Reverend Canon Richard Moorse said the committee found many parishes were having difficulty understanding the calculations, the process was complicated, there was often confusion regarding the definition of some deductions which leads to inconsistent interpretations by parishes and 75% of all submissions contained inaccuracies.
After researching practices in other dioceses, the committee decided this question would be the basis for any new formula: “What expenses are necessary for every parish to operate?” Accordingly, they identified the following as “common expenses to all parishes”: worship and ministry space, ordained leadership, housing for clergy and licensed lay workers and outreach expenses.
“These are necessary for every parish, no matter the size. All deductions then would be related to these common ministry expenses,” continued Richard.
Because the new formula standardizes allowable deductions for parishes, facilitates calculations and places all parishes on an equal footing, the DM&M can be reviewed on one page.
“Our goal is to eliminate misunderstandings and misinterpretations and better reflect a variety of parish realities. Above all, we seek to create a method that is fair and transparent while greatly simplifying the calculations,” Richard wrote.
In his report to Niagara Synod, Chair of the Financial Advisory Committee the Reverend Deacon George Henry maintained, “The new formula, will lower the annual assessment to smaller less affluent parishes while increasing the assessment to the larger more affluent parishes and will be revenue neutral to the Diocese.”
Several workshops to explain the formula in greater detail were held prior to the November Synod.
“We realize that this is an important change, and one which will impact every parish and so we ask for your prayerful discernment as we seek to share the many gifts God has given us in an effective and faithful way,” concluded Richard.