A report of Orthodox Church in America finances for the first four months of 2009 is now available on the OCA.org web site.
The report was jointly issued by Acting Treasurer, the Rev. Michael Tassos, and Metropolitan Council Finance Committee Chair, the Very Rev. Matthew Tate.
The report was sent to members of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Council with additional information from Father Michael and commentary from Father Matthew. A link to Father Michael’s information may be found below.
Father Matthew offered the following comments concerning OCA finances from January through April 2009.
“There was a rumor in late spring that our income was running 20% behind budget,” Father Matthew said. “Thankfully this was and is not the case. The dioceses have been very faithful in remitting the ‘fair share’ even in these difficult financial times. We know that this is very difficult for some of the dioceses.
“Our recent request for donations for the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards was very successful,” Faher Matthew continued. “We received close to $60,000.00. This is, of course, earmarked for ministries. We did not budget any money for FOS, so this will be a great help in the ministry area.
“We have asked the Central Administration to take a really hard look at the departments and to make recommendations as to their efficacy at the next Metropolitan Council meeting,” Father Matthew added. “We find ourselves in the odd position of paying stipends and not funding programs. We definitely need more focus in this area.
“We have a number of areas where the line items are over budget for this point in the year,” he continued. “I will add that we are committed to hold the line on our budget figures. An example would be in Interchruch Travel (in the Department of External
Affairs). It appears that only $2,000.00 are left for the year. When this sum is spent, the travel will end. This is also true in several administrative offices line items. The staff will have to plan very carefully for the remainder of the year.
“This also means that we may have to upwardly revise the budget in a few areas,” Father Matthew stated. “An example would be Holy Synod. We will have a pretty clear picture when the compilation of May and June are completed, and will be ready to make any recommendations at the next Metropolitan Council meeting.
“As Father Michael pointed out, the legal budget is ‘wagging the dog,’” he continued. “We easily have already spent more than we budgeted, and are quickly eating into the cushion. This is definitely way beyond any estimates we were given for the first six months of the year. It appears that the first Kondratick suit will go to trial. The expenses are mounting and will continue to do so. The second Kondratick suit is just beginning, but it is of course costing money. We would ask the legal committee to do its best to give us an estimate of the potential expenses for the remainder of the year. This could very well mean the necessity to make draconian cuts in the budget at our meeting in September.
“In addition, this does not even begin to address the potential expenses should we lose the first Kondratick suit,” Father Matthew stated. “No one can really predict an outcome, but we must be prepared for any possibility. This too must be addressed at the September meeting.
“The unfortunate reality is that legal expenses are defining our budgetary reality,” he concluded. “At a time that we should be in full creative mode, we are placed in a defensive one. It will be important for us as a Metropolitan Council and a Holy Synod to do all that we can to move in a positive manner in every arena possible even as we are placed in a monetarily defensive posture.”