Today – Sunday February 5th, 2012 – was Vestry, the parish’s annual business meeting. And I spoke in favour of apportionment. For those of you who don’t know what apportionment is here’s a brief summary. In the Anglican Diocese of Huron each congregation is connected to each other. We share many things, including the ability to fund ministries like Huron Church Camp, Huron Church News and Huron Hunger Fund. We also fund the salaries of professional staff members that deal in legal, financial and personnel matters. Areas of expertise that few if any congregations are equipped to deal with on their own. Moreover we pool together to pay the salaries of the bishops.
Long time friends will know that I continue to struggle with the patriarchy represented in this diocesan structure with power and decision making flowing down from the bishops. But recently when a friend asked “Why do we have to pay apportionment anyway?” I found myself answering fervently. I know that our parish has benefitted greatly from the treasure trove of knowledge that resides in the building beside the cathedral. How many times have the members of the Ascension’s Executive Team phoned for clarification or advice on trust funds or loans? Twice in this past year the Director of Administrative Services has come out to Parish Council to give advice – this is in the evening on his own time. I know that the payroll person keeps tremendous records so that she can cheerfully remind a forgetful Warden of a previous salary or the percentage rate of a salary recent increase. The Financial Analyst is always cheerful and prompt in his answers to confusing finance questions. He helpfully makes suggestions no one at the local level had considered. Never do any of these skilled people make you feel stupid. I know this because 10 years ago when I was Warden I was the forgetful person asking the dumb questions. As an individual parish we could never afford such expertise on our own. We are blessed to have access to and the support of these capable people.
So today, there I was asking for our parish to make paying our apportionment as much a priority as paying our local bills. And this despite the fact this money also goes to support the hierarchical tradition of centralized, predominately male control of the church that is so contrary to my personal beliefs. Such is the breadth of the Anglican Church that it allows me question somethings, value others and still belong.