From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: General Board Approves Common Budget Covenant

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Wed, 25 Jun 2003 13:34:19 -0400

American Baptist News Service (Richmond, Va. 6/24/03)--The proposed Common
Budget Covenant of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. and Its
Related Corporations and Regions was adopted here today by the American
Baptist General Board by a vote of 115 yes, 0 no and 1 abstention.

With General Board approval, the proposed Common Budget Covenant now will be
forwarded to the other covenanting organizations, the national boards and
regions. Approval by all of them is necessary for the covenant to become

The new Common Budget Covenant and the related Operating Guidelines are the
result of a process spanning a decade that has included review of the
existing Budget Covenant and the ultimate development of the proposed new
covenant the General Executive Council felt is more responsive to mission
priorities and giving opportunities.  The Covenant had been presented to the
General Board for first reading in November 2002.  In April 2003 the General
Executive Council in approving several changes to the Common Budget Covenant
determined that those changes did not alter the scope and intent of the
first reading document.  

The new covenant presents two plans, the United Stewardship Plan and the
Flexible Stewardship Plan.  The GEC proposal calls for each of the 34
American Baptist regions to choose one.  The United Stewardship Plan follows
the general pattern of the current Common Budget Covenant, with United
Mission a core component and with UM funding to American Baptist regions
increased to 65%.  Under the Flexible Stewardship Plan local churches may
determine the percentage allocation of their mission dollars and
individualize their mission giving.

The Operating Guidelines, which contain the protocols for implementing the
principles outlined in the Covenant, will become effective when the Common
Budget Covenant is fully approved.  Those guidelines are designed to be
changed more readily than the Common Budget Covenant and provide the
opportunity to be more responsive to changing situations and values.  The
Common Budget Covenant empowers the General Executive Council to approve
changes to the Operating Guidelines. 

Each covenanting organization will consider and vote on the Common Budget
Covenant and report the result of that vote to the general secretary by
November 5, 2003, one week prior to the November meeting of General Board.
Upon report that all of the covenanting organizations have approved the
Common Budget Covenant, the General Board, at its November 2003 meeting,
will be notified that the Common Budget Covenant will become effective Jan.
1, 2004.

Richard W. Schramm
Deputy General Secretary for Communication
American Baptist Churches USA
P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851

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