Episcopal Church legal bills result in deficit of $2.5 million

From The Pew Forum:

The Episcopal Church has spent nearly $2 million on legal expenses this year, more than four times its budgeted amount, and will run a deficit of $2.5 million in 2009, according to the church’s news service.

The denomination’s Executive Council, meeting in Helena, Mont., this week (Oct. 20-24), budgeted $450,000 for legal expenses in 2008 but spent $1.97 million, according to Episcopal News Service. The well-heeled denomination is engaged in a number of costly legal battles with conservatives who’ve left the Episcopal Church but seek to retain parish property.

Also, the stock market decline has decreased the value of the Episcopal Church’s endowment funds by 30 percent, said church treasurer Kurt Barnes.

The church anticipates $54.6 million in revenue for 2009 and about $57 million in expenses, according to ENS. The church ran surpluses of $1.2 million in 2007 and $2 million in 2008, the news service reported.