Discretionary Funds of the Clergy
Did you know…?
At a recent vestry meeting, we shared some conversation about how we (the clergy) were experiencing a very sharp spike in the number of people in our community coming to Grace seeking assistance. Upon learning that the discretionary funds of the clergy were very nearly depleted, it was suggested that perhaps those funds could be renewed through funds from the regular budget. I explained that the source of funds for clergy discretionary funds, however, do not come from the regular annual budget but are provided for by canon (rules of the church by which we govern our common lives) in a different way. Those funds come from rather an old practice of the church where the ‘loose offering’ on the first Sunday of the month are designated as alms and offerings for the sake of the poor to be distributed by the clergy at their discretion. This was news to most vestry members who urged me to include this information in an upcoming newsletter. Discretionary funds also come from offerings made to the clergy at weddings and burials. Occasionally, parishioners will make a monetary offering and designate that it be given to the discretionary fund. For those who might be interested in such things, the canon directing this practice is Canon 14 of Title III (section f) of the national canons of the Church and has a very noble heritage. The canon reads: “the Alms and Contributions, not otherwise specifically designated, at the Administration of the Holy Communion on one Sunday in each calendar month, and other offerings for the poor, shall be deposited with the Member of the Clergy in charge of the Congregation or with such Church officers as the Member of the Clergy in charge shall appoint to be applied to such pious and charitable uses as shall be thought fit by the Member of the Clergy”.