Stop defunding children, youth, young adult, and campus ministries
This petition had 449 supporters
It has come to our attention that the recently-made-public budget for DFMS includes significant cutbacks to all Formation, but specifically to Young Adult and Campus Ministry. This troubles us.
We went from over $3 million over 3 years to $286,000-- a 90% decrease.
The rationale for this is unclear. What is stated in the budget is that this is work best done by the provinces and the dioceses. While that may indeed be the case, the problem is that funding for these ministries at the local level (with a handful of exceptions) doesn't currently exist, and the elimination of these funds at the national level makes no provision for how dioceses and provinces may go about taking up the task of now funding them.
At the present time, our Province 8 struggles to fund our annual retreat for college students, and is able to do so because of grant monies we receive from DFMS. For many of our students, this will be the only contact they have with Episcopalians their own age.
Several dioceses in our province have little or no college ministry program to speak of. If they have a young adult ministry it is faltering, at best.
This reliance on local-ministry alone would be fantastic if local ministers were, in fact, empowered and funded to do ministry. At present, they are neither. Leadership and resources are needed from the larger structure for these ministries, and this budget does not permit this. The ministries that are funded by the DFMS budget include: "PROV", the Young Adult Festival, the Chaplain's Conference, the Young Adult Summits, etc., which are properly funded by said budget since they draw students and Chaplains from across the country. Should this funding disappear, local ministries would be unlikely to fund them since they are regional and national in nature, and thus they will be eliminated - a tragic loss indeed.
In a time when the refrain of the wider church seems to be, "Where are the young people?" these cuts strike us as worse than counterproductive. The youth of the church, young adults, all the children of God are not the distant future of the church, they are its present, and to so disinvest in them is to give up on the hope to which God calls us.
For this reason, we the undersigned are calling on the Program, Budget and Finance Committee and all of General Convention to reject this budget as it stands, and to rewrite the budget in a way that invests our resources in our present and future hope: the formation of our youth, young adults and campus communities. We do not merely want to see the $3 million replaced - we want to see a true, substantial amount invested in children, youth, and young adults ministries. Additionally, we ask that the budget process be substantially revised so that in the future, the process is more open and transparent, so that all members of our communities are enfranchised.
In God's peace and hope,
Today: The Rev. Jocelynn is counting on you
The Rev. Jocelynn Hughes, Provincial Coordinator of Campus Ministry for Province VIII needs your help with “The Episcopal Church (aka Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society): Stop defunding children, youth, young adult, and campus ministries”. Join The Rev. Jocelynn and 448 supporters today.