Conference supports 2017 budget
June 21, 2017 / By Kathleen Christiansen
Budget discussions at the 2017 Annual Conference started a day earlier than scheduled on June 1 thanks to a surprising and historical motion to the Consent Calendar.
Pastor Nate Lang of the Cornerstone District made a motion to move the budget report to the Consent Calendar. After discussion and debate, his amendment was supported.
As there was a question as to whether or not this amendment is or is not in constitutional order, Upper New York Area Resident Bishop Mark J. Webb committed to researching it and reporting back to the Conference on June 2. The vote was then called on the Consent Calendar, which was approved.
At the start of plenary June 2, Bishop Webb revealed the findings of his consultation.
“Yesterday a motion was made to place the budget on the consent calendar,” he said. “That motion was supported by well over 2/3 of those voting. The motion to place the budget on the Consent Calendar was in order and when the Consent Calendar as amended was adopted, you took action on all the Consent Calendar items, including the 2018 budget. The 2018 budget was approved by your action yesterday.”
Bishop Webb said that consultation with the Conference chancellor and several other bishops revealed that in The Book of Discipline, paragraph 64, it states “The Council on Finance and Administration shall recommend to the annual conference for its action and determination budgets of anticipated income and proposed expenditure for all funds to be apportioned to the churches, charges, and districts.” It does not prohibit action on the budget by consent.
The consultation also found that under General Rule 33, “Action from a legislative committee shall be placed on the Consent Calendar if: The item is neither a constitutional amendment nor one having financial implications; and adoption of 985 Consent Calendar by vote of the Conference shall be deemed action al all calendar items on the Consent Calendar.” Since the Annual Conference is not a legislative committee, this rule on financial implications does not apply and the budget can be placed on the Consent Calendar.
After Bishop Webb told the crowd they could repeal his decision or ask for reconsideration of the Consent Calendar, several called for reconsideration and debate ensued.
A call for reconsideration of the Consent Calendar was not supported, and the Consent Calendar and budget therefore remained supported.
Those against reconsideration asked why we would want to reconsider a budget that is less than last year and pointed out that attendees were given ample time to consider and review the budget prior to AC session. Those in favor of reconsideration said that hard work was put into creating this document and it would be nice to know how the Conference arrived at certain numbers.
Emily Allen, laity from the Cornerstone District, called the question.
“This is fun, isn’t it?” Bishop Webb said.
Reconsideration of the Consent Calendar was not supported, which meant both the Consent Calendar and the budget were supported.