Episcopal diocese cuts budget to offset contribution drop

Posted: Friday, April 16, 2004

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia has cut about $400,000 from its budget this year to offset a drop in donations largely from parishes upset by the denomination's first openly gay bishop.

As much as two-thirds of the revenue drop may stem from conservatives withholding contributions in protest of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who has lived with his male partner for years.

Robinson was elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire last June, then later confirmed at the denomination's national meeting in Minneapolis.

Southern Virginia Bishop David C. Bane Jr. voted at the national assembly against Robinson's consecration. Conservatives nationwide have vowed to withhold any donations to their diocese that could be sent to national church headquarters no matter how their local bishop voted.

The Southern Virginia Diocese will send only $100,000 to the denomination's national office, half of the amount sent last year.

Few dioceses have cut their denominational contribution as deeply, said Kurt Barnes, treasurer of the Episcopal Church. Exceptions are the dioceses of Dallas and Pittsburgh, which have refused to send any money.

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