Category Archive : Finance membership

Liz Truss bemoans ‘defensive’ trade stance caused by EU membership

Some companies and government workers remain “on the defensive” on trade, with the UK having spent nearly 50 years in the European Union, the Secretary for International Trade said.

In a speech on Tuesday, Liz Truss explained how the UK’s post-Brexit business strategy will increasingly be to attempt to secure business with eastern growth markets in India and elsewhere.

“In order to get these opportunities, we have to let go of some of our outdated assumptions and attitudes,” she added.

When asked to expand on her comment afterwards, Ms Truss said: ‘We have been in the EU for 50 years and it is only natural that, whether they are companies, people employed by the government and others, there are certain ideas that have been shared and promulgated and are still present in certain circles.

“What I want to do is go from the defensive mindset that says ‘what are we losing’ to the offensive mindset that says ‘this is what we can win’.

“Sometimes there can be a lack of self-confidence. “

Speaking to the Policy Exchange think tank, the International Trade Secretary said Britain had a choice between seizing opportunities in growing markets or staying “in our comfort zone”.

Ms Truss said “protectionism” would not protect living standards and that trade was needed to curb rising inflation “through the power of economic openness”.

When asked where the government draws the line between trade and human rights in relation to China, she said the country is “a very important trading partner”.

But the cabinet minister said trade with China must be “reliable, stable and in accordance with international rules.”

“I explained how important it is that the trade we do underpin our values ​​of free enterprise and democracy,” added Truss.

The Department of International Trade’s International Trade Outlook report, released on Tuesday, found that “the global economic center of gravity is moving away from Europe” and heading towards the Indo-Pacific.

By 2030, three of the world’s four largest economies will be in the Indo-Pacific region, the report predicts, with the region expected to account for 56% of global GDP growth and 44% of global demand growth. import over the next 30 years. years.

At the same time, global demand for UK digital and financial services is expected to double over the next decade, with demand for digital services expected to increase by 117%, the department said.

Ms Truss said: “We are building a global network of next-generation trade agreements that are advanced in services and digital trade, and forging closer economic ties with markets in East Asia and Asia. -Peaceful.”

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Canadian Imperial (CM) to operate Costco’s card business in Canada

In order to diversify its portfolio in the space of daily rewards, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM, commonly known as CIBC, is preparing to acquire Wholesale company CostcoCOST’s existing portfolio of Canadian co-branded credit cards. Costco’s credit card portfolio in Canada has over $ 3 billion in its outstanding balances. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CIBC shares edged up after the acquisition was announced, sparking investor optimism about the deal.

Capital One Financial Corporation COF, the current issuer of the Costco-branded credit card in Canada, is entering into an alliance with the retail giant.
Mastercard will remain the exclusive payment network for the Costco co-branded credit card in Canada and will also be accepted at Costco warehouses nationwide.

CIBC and Costco have also signed a long-term agreement that makes the first exclusive issuer of the new Costco Mastercard cards in Canada. The transaction is expected to close in early 2022, subject to customary closing conditions. Subsequently, the bank will begin issuing the new CIBC Costco Mastercard to the reformed wallet and accept new applications, both online and at Costco Canada warehouses.

The new CIBC Costco Mastercard will offer great rewards for purchases at all Canadian Costco warehouses and on That aside, it will serve as a Costco membership card. It can be used in stores around the world that accept Mastercard. Current Capital One Costco Mastercard holders can continue to use their card until they receive their new CIBC Costco Mastercard. Cash back coupons will be mailed to eligible cardholders in January 2022.

The deal comes as no surprise, as CIBC CEO Victor Dodig said during the company’s August 2021 earnings call, which the lender intended to invest in non-travel cards to exploit increased consumer spending at the end of the pandemic. This acquisition will allow the Toronto bank to expand its credit portfolio and attract customers from Costco’s large membership base to its Canadian retail banking franchise. This will likely increase its market share in the payments space.

Pierre Riel, Senior National Executive Vice President, Costco Canada, said, “Our CIBC members and clients expect us to provide them with payment options that meet their needs. With enhanced offerings, such as cutting-edge digital capabilities, robust features, and bigger rewards, our members will have even more ways to get the most out of their membership. “

Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Group Head, Personal and Commercial Banking at CIBC, said: “This investment builds on the positive momentum we have established as we execute our strategy, build deep and lasting relationships with our clients. customers and develop our business. . We look forward to welcoming Costco members to CIBC, and we are committed to providing a great customer experience and getting more out of their business through our expert advice and industry-leading solutions as we bring them to life. let’s help achieve their ambitions. “

Shares of this company currently Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold) have risen 36% so far this year on the NYSE, outperforming the industry’s 15.4% rise. You can see The full list of Zacks # 1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks today here.

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Canadian Imperial has grown in the United States through strategic acquisitions since it purchased Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc. in 2017. In the same year, the company acquired Geneva Advisors while in 2019 it acquired took over Cleary Gull and Lowenhaupt Global Advisors. In June 2021, it purchased a minority stake in Chicago-based Loop Capital in order to further expand its presence in US capital markets.

The aforementioned agreements as well as its organic growth efforts continue to support Canadian Imperial’s finances, which are currently under the weight of lower rates. In addition, the company faces stiff competition from other Canadian banks, including The Toronto-Dominion Bank TD, Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada among others.

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Golden Globes Group elects new Board of Directors

2019 Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais rolls out the red carpet outside the Beverly Hilton Hotel on media preview day. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., The voting body behind the Golden Globes, elected a new board of directors on Tuesday.

The HFPA said its 85-member organization elected a newly expanded board with 12 internal members, five of whom had never served on the board before. Two-thirds of new directors are women.

The new board will now select three outside directors who are not members of the HFPA under a new set of reform regulations recently approved by the group and drafted by law firm Ropes & Gray.

This decision is the first change of leadership of the HFPA since the besieged group promised “transformational change, “earlier this year.

It follows the association vote last month approving a list of reforms and measures aiming to address controversies who have long dominated the association, as well as overhauling the organization, expanding membership with an emphasis on diversity and restoring credibility with the entertainment industry.

“Our bylaw vote in early August was an important signal to the industry that we intend to keep our reform promises,” HFPA Chairman Ali Sar said in a statement. communicated. “Today’s election results build this new, stronger governance structure for the HFPA. We are convinced that with this new Board of Directors and soon a new President, responsibility, diversity and inclusion will be at the heart of everything we do.

All new board and committee members will receive training on diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership for their respective roles, the HFPA said. He also announced the appointment of three non-members to an accreditation committee that will oversee a new accreditation process for HFPA members.

After a Time survey in February brought to light allegations of financial and ethical breaches and pointed out that none of the then 87 members were black, the group is committed to making radical changes. In March, a contingent of powerful entertainment advertisers implemented a boycott, preventing patrons from participating in HFPA activities. In May, NBC ended airing of the 2022 Golden Globes after Netflix severed ties with the organization “until more significant changes are made.” Amazon, WarnerMedia and Neon, the independent studio behind “Parasite,” followed the streamer.

While the HFPA has made expanding its ranks a goal of its reform efforts, the new board was elected just weeks after the organization voted on its new statutes and before the admission of any new member. As a result, the directors were pulled from its existing membership pool – a step that raised eyebrows from those pushing for significant changes, including the composition of the group’s leadership.

Once formed and a chairperson selected, the HFPA Board of Directors will then appoint its very first CEO. The role of the CEO will include overseeing and directing the daily activities and business affairs of the association; they will sit at the discretion of the board for a one-year term, in accordance with the provisions set out in the the new statutes of the association.

The CEO is part of a new C-suite that will include a CFO, director of diversity and director of human resources, signaling the association’s intention to implement a professional management layer for the group to nonprofit that has so far governed and managed itself.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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SK Global Software wins Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle Award

SK Global Software is honored by Microsoft for achieving exceptional sales and innovation.

SK Global Software, a Microsoft Dynamics ISV offering specialized complementary solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 / Dynamics AX ERP platforms, won the prestigious Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award. Membership in this elite group is based on business accomplishments that rank SK Global at the top of the Microsoft Business Applications Global Partner Network. Inner Circle members have achieved a high standard of excellence in delivering valuable solutions that help organizations achieve increased success.

2021/2022 Inner Circle members are invited to the Inner Circle Summit in March 2022 as well as virtual meetings between July 2021 and June 2022, where they will have a unique opportunity to share their strategy and network with senior executives from Microsoft and their fellow partners.

This recognition of Inner Circle for Microsoft Business Applications coincided with Microsoft Inspire, the first annual partner event, which took place July 14-15, 2021. Microsoft Inspire offers the Microsoft partner community the opportunity to learn on the company’s roadmap for the next year, making connections, sharing best practices, discovering the latest product innovations and learning new skills.

“In a year of profound business transformation for every business and industry on the planet, it is extremely gratifying to be able to recognize Microsoft Business Applications partners from all corners of the world who have accelerated the digital transformation of our shared customers and leads to unmatched customer success. “said Cecilia Flombaum, head of the Microsoft Business Applications Ecosystem.” Our Inner Circle members are chosen based on their business performance as well as their ability as an organization, whether it is create intellectual property, develop solutions or focus on digital transformation. Microsoft is honored to recognize SK Global for its achievements over the past year, dedication to customers and innovation around the Microsoft cloud .

SK Global Software is dedicated to empowering finance and treasury teams around the world to operate more efficiently, using solutions that provide additional security and automation. By collaborating with Microsoft teams, SK Global maintains strong expertise in the Microsoft platform to deliver innovative solutions, solid services and unmatched value to their customers. SK Global is proud to be certified for Microsoft Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle Award Dynamics 365, recipient of the annual Inner Circle Award for the past five years, a member of the Presidents Club for over 12 years and Microsoft Gold -Partner of competence.

SK Global Software offers worldwide implementation, training and consulting for small, medium and large enterprises using enterprise applications. SK Global specializes in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP platforms, to develop and deploy solutions, such as Banking and Treasury Automation Suite, that help large global companies across all industries to get to market faster and to achieve continued success.

About SK Global Software

Founded in 1995 with a new global branding in 2015, SK Global Software is a software development company known for providing valuable enhancement to the Microsoft Dynamics channel, with a focus on automating global banking and treasury operations. . Our customers and partners are our top priority and our mission is to provide unmatched software and support services. We work hard to create and maintain high quality software and long-term, respected relationships with Dynamics user and partner communities.

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Foreign exchange reserves now exceed US $ 7 billion


Minister of Finance Colm Imbert. –

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said TT’s total foreign exchange reserves now exceed US $ 7 billion.

In a tweet published on Tuesday, Imbert said: “TT’s foreign exchange reserves have just been increased by the equivalent of $ 644 million, following a worldwide distribution by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of rights special edition (SDR) “.

He said this was designed to help countries cope with covid19 foreign exchange (forex) demands.

As a result, he said, TT’s net foreign exchange reserves have now returned to over $ 7 billion.

In a subsequent tweet, Imbert said: “The additional US $ 644 million in SDR from the IMF gives the government more flexibility to inject US dollars into the commercial banking sector for distribution to the public and to make more forex available through the ‘EximBank for the manufacturing sector. sector and importers of essential goods.

In an Aug. 2 statement, the IMF said its board of governors had approved a general allocation of SDRs equivalent to US $ 650 billion to boost global liquidity.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said: “This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in IMF history and a boost for the global economy in this time of crisis. unprecedented.

She added, “The SDR allocation will benefit all members, meet the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence and promote the resilience and stability of the global economy.

“This will especially help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the covid19 crisis.”

The IMF has said the general SDR allocation will come into effect on August 23.

“Newly created SDRs will be credited to IMF member countries in proportion to their existing quotas in the fund. “

TT has been a member of the IMF since September 16, 1963. The IMF has a total of 190 member countries.

The IMF said about $ 275 billion of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.

Georgieva said, “We will also continue to actively engage with our members to identify viable options for the voluntary channeling of SDRs from the richer member countries to the poorest and most vulnerable to support their recovery in the event of a pandemic and to achieve resilient and sustainable growth. ”

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See the original post below.

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert said Trinidad and Tobago’s total foreign reserves now exceed $ 7 billion.

In a tweet published on Tuesday, Imbert said: “TT’s foreign exchange reserves have just been increased by the equivalent of $ 644 million, following a worldwide distribution by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of rights special edition (SDR) “.

He said this was designed to help countries cope with covid19 foreign exchange (forex) demands.

As a result, he said, TT’s net foreign exchange reserves have now returned to over $ 7 billion.

In an Aug. 2 statement, the IMF said its board of governors had approved a general allocation of SDRs equivalent to US $ 650 billion to boost global liquidity.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said: “This is a historic decision – the largest SDR allocation in IMF history and a boost to the global economy in this time of crisis. unprecedented.

She added, “The SDR allocation will benefit all members, meet the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence and promote resilience and stability in the global economy.

“This will especially help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the covid19 crisis.”

The IMF has said the general SDR allocation will come into effect on August 23.

“Newly created SDRs will be credited to IMF member countries in proportion to their existing quotas in the fund.”

TT has been a member of the IMF since September 16, 1963. The IMF has a total of 190 member countries.

The IMF said about $ 275 billion of the new allocation will go to emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.

Georgieva said: “We will also continue to actively engage with our members to identify viable options for the voluntary channeling of SDRs from the richer member countries to the poorest and most vulnerable in order to support their recovery in the event of a pandemic and to achieve resilient and sustainable growth. “

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ASGA partners with Ai Group to strengthen member services

Maria Cave and Kym Oakley from the national employers’ association Ai Group have been added to the Australian Sign & Graphics Association (ASGA) team to support member services.

“Following a review of our administration and support services and to ensure that ASGA adheres to best practices, ASGA has partnered with Ai Group to provide secretarial, administrative, financial and advisory services. ASGA General Manager Michael Punch said in the monthly newsletter of the National Retailers Association.

“Maria Cave (administration, finance, data management and reporting) and Kym Oakley (governance and submissions, and oversight of member support operations) of the Ai group are now part of the ASGA team to help cope with the load. increasing administrative.

transparent asga logo“The new service works in conjunction with our current support services:

Michael Punch (member contact and event management)

Liz Bouzoudis (marketing, communication and website)

Hicksons Avocats (Legal and business advice)

Glenn Hain (Risk and Compliance Advice)

John Watters & Tina Mavris – AusSIP (Industrial Education).

“ASGA looks forward to providing the best possible service to its members while leveraging the technical resources and support already on offer,” said Punch.

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New SDR allocation could increase foreign exchange reserves

India’s foreign exchange reserves could rise on Monday, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) crediting additional Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) into each country’s accounts as part of its $ 650 billion global liquidity surge. India is expected to receive around $ 17.94 billion based on its current IMF quota.

India had SDRs worth $ 1.54 billion on its total foreign exchange reserves of $ 619.4 billion as of August 13, according to the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). However, due to India’s 2.76% quota in the IMF, India could receive $ 17.94 billion of the $ 650 billion in new SDR allocations, bringing the total SDRs of the country at $ 19.48 billion.

The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF, composed of the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound sterling and the yuan, and allocated to its members in proportion to their quota. An SDR is currently valued at $ 1,416.

A new issue of SDRs is expected to help least developed and developing countries facing currency shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the move has recently drawn criticism from many economists, as it would lead to biased allocations in favor of developed countries that need it least, with the US, EU and UK receiving in they alone almost half of the new cash. In contrast, low-income countries are expected to receive only about $ 21 billion in cash.

Arvind Virmani, former India representative to the IMF and former chief economic adviser to the finance ministry, said the new SDR allocation made little difference to India, although it was money free. “It’s not part of India’s consolidated fund. It enters the RBI balance sheet to the credit of the ledger. When RBI buys foreign currency, its rupee balance sheet goes down. But in this case, RBI does not have to pay anything for the SDRs, ”he explained.

On its website, the IMF said that once allocated, members can hold their SDRs as part of their foreign exchange reserves or sell or use some or all of their SDR allocations. “Members may exchange SDRs for currencies freely usable among themselves and with prescribed holders. Such an exchange can take place as part of a voluntary agreement or as part of a mandatory designation scheme on members with sufficiently strong external positions, which serves as the ultimate safety net for the SDR market. Since 1987, the SDR market has operated on the basis of voluntary arrangements without the need to activate the designation plan. Members of the IMF may also use SDRs in a range of other transactions permitted among themselves (loans, payment of bonds, collateral) and in operations and transactions involving the IMF, such as payment of interest and repayment of bonds. loans, or the payment of quota increases. , “It said.

India initially opposed the idea of ​​a general SDR allocation but softened its position at the last minute at the last G20 meeting, giving the proposal the green light. India has an “open mind” on the issue, although the general SDR allocation does not replace structural quota and governance reforms, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said during the 43rd meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee on April 8. We observe that SDR allocations are asymmetric, with up to 62% going to advanced economies and only 3% to LICs (low income countries). In this context, why not then proceed with a limited allocation of SDRs targeted at LICs? We are open to discussions on the deployment of SDRs for LICs to support healthcare and economic recovery. Priority should be given to modalities for channeling existing stocks of SDRs to LICs on principles that are fair and successful with all members, ”she said.

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Acadiana Inbox for August 22, 2021 | Business

The Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants honored several regional CPAs for their contributions to the profession and to their community.

From Broussard, Robin leblanc, who operates a CPA firm, received the Women to Watch Emerging Leader Award 2021 for her passion for education and mentoring in her firm, her community and the organizations where she volunteers.

From the Baton Rouge region, Bridget kaigler, Director of Taxes at Amedisys Inc., received the Distinguished Public Service Award, for his leadership, impact, involvement and innovation as a volunteer in various organizations; Daryl purpera, pastor of First Central Baptist Church, the Special Recognition Award recognizing 11 years of service as Louisiana Legislative Auditor; and Layne McDaniel, owner of a CPA firm, the Special Recognition Award for his dedication to strengthening financial literacy of all ages, especially those in underserved communities, as a leader and volunteer with Junior Achievement of Greater Baton Rouge and member founder and supporter of the Louisiana Jump $ tart Coalition for Personal Finance; Brandon Lagarde, a director with Postlethwaite and Netterville where he leads the Tax Services Group, Distinguished Service Award recognizing services rendered to the association and its members as a frequent speaker on tax topics, sharing knowledge with CPAs and other professionals and testifying on behalf of organization during legislative sessions.

From the New Orleans area, Vanessa Claiborne, President and CEO of Chaffe & Associates, the Women to Watch Experienced Leader Award 2021 presented in conjunction with the American Institute of CPAs to recognize women who demonstrate characteristics that have enabled them to become inspiring leaders in the profession and in their communities; Guillaume “Ted” Mason III, CPA and LaPorte business advisors President and CEO, Lifetime Member Award for over 38 years as a leader, champion of innovation and professional development and mentor to CPAs; Darla Saux, Special Recognition Award for her eight years of service as the now retired Executive Director of the Louisiana State Council of CPAs to protect the public and maintain the integrity of the CPA designation.

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LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. will report for the second quarter of 2021

SHENZHEN, China, August 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (“Lexin” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: LX), a leading online consumer and finance platform for consumers and next-generation users in China, today announced that it will release its results unaudited financial statements for the second quarter ended June 30, 2021 before the opening of the US market on Wednesday August 25, 2021.

Management of the Company will host a earnings conference call at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time on August 25, 2021 (7:00 p.m. Beijing / Hong Kong time on August 25, 2021).

Participants wishing to join the conference call must register online at:

Please note the conference ID number 6393426.

Once registration is complete, participants will receive the calling information for the conference call, an event access code, and a unique registrant identification number.

Participants who join the conference call must connect at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.

In addition, a live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the Company’s investor relations website at

A replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the end of the live call until September 1, 2021, by dialing the following phone numbers:

United States: 1 855 452 5696 or 1 646 254 3697
International: 61 2 8199 0299
Access code to the replay: 6393426

About LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. is one of the leading online consumer and finance platform for consumers and next generation users in China. The Company provides a full range of consumer, financial and business services, including financial technology services, “buy now, pay later” (“BNPL”) services and member benefits through its platform. e-commerce. Fenqile, BNPL product Maiya, and membership platform The Card. The Company works with financial institutions and brands both online and offline to provide a comprehensive consumer ecosystem that meets the needs of young professionals in China. Lexin uses advanced technologies such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence across all of the Company’s services and operations, which include risk management, loan facilitation and near matching. instant user funding requests with offers from the Company’s many financial partners, and other consumer and financial services.

For more information, please visit

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For investor and media inquiries, please contact:

LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.

IR inquiries:
Patricia cheng
Phone. : +86 (755) 3637-8888 ext. 6258
Email: [email protected]

Media inquiries:
Limin Chen
Phone. : +86 (755) 3637-8888 ext. 6993
Email: [email protected]

SOURCE LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.

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Diocese of Vermont faces ‘financial cliff’ and launches study on collaborative diocesan models – Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The Bishop’s message landed in the inboxes of Episcopalians in Vermont last month with a hopeful subject, “Building a bridge to the future”. But the main thing was disastrous: the diocese of Vermont is heading towards a “financial cliff,” one expert concluded, and budget cuts alone will not prevent the fall.

“Cutting costs is just a short-term survival strategy that will help us build a bridge to our new future,” Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown said in his July 21 message. She also announced a new working group that will examine long-term strategies to support congregations and ministries in the diocese, and she raised the prospect of greater collaboration and resource sharing with New Dioceses. Hampshire and Maine. “While I know this news may surprise some of you, the challenges to the financial sustainability of our ministry have been in the works for decades, and we will not solve them overnight,” she wrote. .

Bishop of Vermont Shannon MacVean-Brown. Photo: Diocese of Vermont

MacVean-Brown later said in a telephone interview with the Episcopal News Service that there was no question of merging with any other diocese, but she felt compelled by the assessment of her diocese’s finances to speak candidly about the urgent need of a different way. The challenges facing her diocese are similar throughout the Episcopal Church, she said, and she remains hopeful.

“This is the mission of Jesus. What would Jesus want us to do right now, and how can we use all of our resources to do this work? MacVean-Brown told ENS. “I don’t know the result. … I just know that we are going to talk about the realities and do something new, and that we are going to trust God to be with us.

The new Vermont Task Force for Hope, Revitalization, Innovation, Vitality and Effectiveness, or THRIVE, will study organizational models being tested by other episcopal dioceses. In particular, MacVean-Brown highlighted the ongoing partnership between the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and West New York. Bishop Sean Rowe, who oversees these two dioceses, addressed the new Diocese of Vermont task force at its first meeting on July 26. MacVean-Brown began discussing options with the Bishops of New Hampshire and Maine.

MacVean-Brown has led the Diocese of Burlington since September 2019. His predecessor, Rt. The Rev. Thomas Ely, was bishop for 18 years, following what the diocese described as a model of a “bishop in partnership” who sought to empower local leaders.

“It’s more than just the money,” MacVean-Brown said. “It’s much bigger than that. It goes back decades.

The diocese of Vermont is one of the smallest in the Episcopal Church, with approximately 5,700 members baptized in 2019, according to the most recently published church data. It has 10 full-time clergy and 45 congregations. Diocesan records indicate that most congregations operate without full-time clergy, and all but three report an average Sunday attendance of less than 100 faithful.

The predominantly rural state has a population of 624,000, fewer than all other states except Wyoming, and 94% of Vermonters are white, according to the US Census Bureau. Residents aged 65 and over make up 20% of Vermont’s population, and MacVean-Brown, the diocese’s first black bishop, noted to the ENS that many church members are older adults.

Vermont’s membership trend mirrors that of the region and the wider Episcopal Church, which saw an 8% drop in membership from 2014 to 2019. Vermont is part of the Church’s Province I, which encompasses the seven dioceses of New England, and these dioceses recorded an average decline of 12%. members over the past five years. Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and western Massachusetts have seen plate and income pledge decline from 3% to 7% in those five years, while Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island recorded five-year increases of 4% to 8%.

Financial hardship is always an uncomfortable topic in the Episcopal Church, MacVean-Brown said, and Church policy is not a reliable guide. “It doesn’t say anything about what happens when a diocese cannot support itself financially, so there is this expectation that it will not happen,” she said. “And I think that because we haven’t talked about it; it is indisputable.

The Diocese of Vermont’s membership has declined by about 13% in the five years ending 2019. While its budget has hovered around $ 1 million in recent years, its income from Plate and Promise donations have gradually declined by more than 3% since 2014, creating a long, unsustainable period. long-term budget deficit, according to the financial adviser that the diocese hired this year to take a closer look at its financial outlook. For now, the diocese says it is keeping its finances stable thanks to federal pandemic assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program, but the financial consultant has concluded that by the first quarter of 2023 , “diocesan expenses will far exceed income”.

MacVean-Brown anticipated the verdict. When she applied for this position in 2018, the diocese says in his bishop research profile he planned to maintain his existing model of leadership, but also hinted at financial difficulties and suggested that high expectations would be placed on the new bishop of Vermont. “We are inevitably on the verge of some important and intimidating acts of faith that will require special attention, creative ideas and the willingness to bond with one another in love,” the diocese said in the introduction to his research profile.

In the “Bishop We Seeking” section of the profile, diocesan leaders said they had considered other leadership options, such as a part-time or provisional bishop or sharing a bishop with another diocese, but they eventually chose to recruit another full-time bishop. .

“We recognize that our next bishop must have an innovative spirit, ready-made energy and, as one person so aptly called it, a sense of holiness,” said the diocese. “We don’t know what finances will look like in the future, and what other creative bishopric structure might turn out in the future.”

In her interview with the ENS, MacVean-Brown said such cautionary language caught her attention, and although she took the opportunity to lead the diocese, she felt it was important to face tough financial realities with honesty and openness.

“I’m no money genius,” she said, but about a year ago she took a closer look at diocesan finances and saw a point of crisis looming. Until then, she said, the dire financial outlook had been obscured by layers of the diocesan bureaucracy, including many finance-related committees. To get an expert’s opinion, she signed a contract in early 2021 with Stephen Burnett, a former partner of the professional services company Deloitte who had chaired the finance committee of the Diocese of Atlanta for 27 years.

“I didn’t want to be right,” MacVean-Brown said. “I don’t want to be right, but I need to know.”

Burnett’s assessment confirmed “problems ahead” for the diocese. Following his recommendations, the bishop and other diocesan leaders decided to cut spending as a preliminary measure, including refusing to fill a vacant position.

In the past, the diocese has made cuts to balance the budget, to continue to deal with the need for further cuts, MacVean-Brown told ENS. She had to seek new ways to support the clergy, develop lay leadership, and develop episcopal ministries while rethinking the organizational and financial strategies of the past. Merely “managing the decline” will not work, she said. “It significantly decreases our ability to be present in our communities. “

The partnership between the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York is a model of innovation. Since 2018, they share a bishop, combine administrative functions and pursue joint ministries. The Dioceses of Eastern and Western Michigan established a similar partnership in 2019, and in Wisconsin, the Dioceses of Eau Claire and Fond du Lac are in the early stages of expanding their outreach efforts. collaboration while sharing a bishop. Another example is the Diocese of Western Kansas, where Rt. Reverend Mark Cowell has served as Bishop since December 2018, while retaining some of his pastoral duties.

MacVean-Brown began speaking regularly with the Bishop of New Hampshire, Robert Hirschfeld, and the Bishop of Maine, Thomas Brown, about how their dioceses can work together more closely. Options she cited include staff sharing and collaboration in ministries across the region while allowing each diocese to maintain its own identity. Although New Hampshire and Maine Demographically resemble Vermont, each state has twice as many inhabitants as Vermont and twice as many Episcopalians – about 11,000 in each of the two dioceses.

At the same time, the Diocese of Vermont is proud of his recent achievementssaid the bishop. At the start of the pandemic, a few dozen Episcopalians who met regularly to pray on Zoom established a new online congregation they call the Green Mountain Row Abbey. In addition, about 40 people registered for a secular preaching course offered by the diocese this year. The diocese recently received a grant from the Episcopal Church to support a ministry in Killington that works with a local Indigenous community. And MacVean-Brown commended members of the diocese for facing the uncomfortable subject of the pro-slavery views of the first bishop of the diocese, the right. Reverend John Henry Hopkins.

She takes history to heart by Matthew 14 of Jesus calling Peter from the boat to walk towards him on the water, despite the probability that he would drown. “He had to make a conscious effort to get out of the boat in the storm,” MacVean-Brown said, suggesting that faith would move the church forward as well.

“Instead of staying in that boat out of fear, he went out to go to Jesus, so that’s what we’re going to do. “

– David Paulsen is editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Egan Millard contributed to this story.

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