The Standing Committee recently made a bold decision. They supported, in pricipal, using unrestricted savings as seed money for Hispanic ministries. This Saturday, the Diocesan Council followed through by recommending a budget that does just that. An investment of $120,000 could launch several Hispanic congregations this year and lay the groundwork for more next year. None of the savings devoted to this year's budget would come from sale of stocks or bonds. The resources we would devote to this mission are presently in money market accounts earning about 1%.
The remarkable growth of the Hispanic congregation of Todos Los Santos, accomplished through the leadership of Fr. Bernardo Iniesta Avila, in his spare time -- he is a social worker by day -- shows what can happen. The increase in membership, the vitality of worship, and the entusiastic participation of youth is truly dynamic.If Convention follows the lead of Standing Committee and Diocesan Council, the days of our stagnant membership level could be over.
Our Evangelism Budget is not just for the Hispanic community. Council has approved funding of the new Evangelim Committee's request for $15,000 to let people know we are here. This will follow an NPR sponsorship blitz during the final quarter of 2009.
But the best Evangelism efforts will fail unless when people come to our churches they see life in our congregations. That depends on the quality of ministry we do -- all forms of ministry. Most ministry is done by lay people. The quality of our ministry depends on Ministry Development.
Hiring someone to recruit, train, and coordinate a team of lay ministry developers is a budget priority. Diocesan Council supports this initiative as well. At last, we have a plan to empower Ministry of All Baptized without the Regional Vicars program we lost several years ago. This approach will cost roughly 25% of what we spent then. But I believe, in important respects, it will be even more effective.