Diocesan Council delved further at its June meeting into addressing the financial needs of parishes and youth programs, by providing direct relief to some and allocating more funding to others.

The meeting on Monday evening, June 8, 2009, at Calvary Episcopal Church, Shadyside, marked the second month in a row Council awarded financial grants.

Members made good on a mission grant of $5,200 for youth ministry at St. Peter’s, Brentwood. In March 2008, under the former diocesan leadership, the parish had received approval for a similar grant, renewable for up to two additional years. However, St. Peter’s received only a portion of its 2008 grant and until now, nothing for 2009.

Council also approved its second grant to the Diocesan Youth Initiative. The Rev. Chuck Weiss reported on plans for a Diocesan Youth Day kick-off event to take place Saturday, August 22, 2009, in North Park. Council approved a grant of $1,000 to help with those expenses.

At the recommendation of the Budget & Assessment Committee, two additional parishes received downward adjustment of their 2009 assessments. Council has previously granted similar reductions to a small number of parishes.

Increased health insurance costs were also on Council’s agenda.

Council had previously approved an agreement with the Church Medical Trust to provide clergy and lay employees with medical, dental, and vision insurance from July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010. This allowed for a transition from the previous coverage arranged by the Diocese before the October 2008 convention. However, since the number of insured participants is now smaller, expenses are somewhat higher.

To help parishes with the increased cost in the remainder of 2009, Council passed a plan to allow bridge grants to assist parishes that can demonstrate financial hardship due to the higher premiums.

For 2010, parishes may take those costs into consideration when making requests for assessment adjustments. Rectors, Wardens, and Treasurers may contact Diocesan Administrator Joan Gundersen for further details.

Convention Details Unfold

The Convention Planning Committee reported its progress on the Annual Diocesan Convention which will take place at Trinity Cathedral on Friday evening and Saturday, October 16 & 17, 2009.

Friday evening will include Evening Prayer in the Cathedral at 7:00 p.m., followed by a reception. The business meeting will begin Saturday morning. The downtown Courtyard Marriot has set aside rooms for participants who wish to stay in Pittsburgh Friday night. Two pre-convention informational meetings are also being planned.

Approval of business to be presented at Convention will dominate Council’s agenda when it reconvenes later this summer. The next meeting is set for August 24.

Based on reporting by the Rev. William L. Geiger, Vice-President of Council and Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Indiana.