Diocese of North Carolina announces plans for funds from sale of former diocesan office building

Posted May 2, 2024

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] Since the sale of Diocesan House at 200 West Morgan Street in September 2023, the Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman and the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson formed, and have been working with, a diocesanwide task force to discern the appropriate use of the $8.8 million net proceeds from the sale, currently held in an interest-bearing account.

Together, with approval from the diocese’s governing bodies — Diocesan Council, Standing Committee and Trustees — the task force has decided these funds will be used to support two areas: $3.8 million to cover the lease and ongoing support of the new diocesan offices, and $5 million to support new and existing projects and ministries relating to diocesan mission strategy priorities through grants, matching funds, seeding of projects and revolving loans.

“The work of our mission strategy and our journey to Becoming Beloved Community has always been about, first and foremost, the work happening in our churches and diocesan ministries,” Rodman said. “As possibilities for the proceeds from the sale of Diocesan House were discussed, conversation returned again and again to the work happening within our churches.”

The disbursement will be offered in three phases of approximately six months each.

In the first phase, $3 million dollars will be designated specifically for historically Black and Latino congregations, as well as churches with an annual operating budget of less than $100,000. All these churches will be directly contacted by members of the diocesan congregational vitality team and invited to submit proposals and requests for funding. Proposal forms are available on the diocesan website.

The second phase will designate $1 million dollars, and any church may apply for these funds, provided the proposed use is to fund works or projects done in collaboration, whether the partnerships are with Phase I-eligible churches, other Episcopal churches, community partners or other organizations. The only criteria is that the applying church be a church of the Diocese of North Carolina and a partner in the proposed mission strategy related work.

The third phase will offer the last $1 million with no application restrictions.

The decision to offer funds first to churches that include historically Black and Latino congregations was intentional, as one way of living into the Biblical principle that Jesus taught, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

The diocese encourages all members to read “Initial Report: The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina’s History of Institutional Racism (Founding through 1960)” by the Rev. Rhonda M. Lee to understand why this approach was taken. As the report makes clear, funds and resources the diocese has today are directly traced to historical actions by and within the diocese.

“Our hope is that by offering funding from the sale of Diocesan House in this way, two things may happen,” Rodman said. “First, we will make a right beginning as we address and continue to reckon with our racial history. Second, we hope congregations, whether alone or in partnership, will have the space to dream and discern and then realize those dreams. The goal of this process is to provide congregations and ministries with the resources and the tools they need, and the chance to build relationships, to create opportunities for ministries and partnerships that can make a difference in their communities. In keeping with the original hopes of the sale of the building, we encourage congregations to consider projects and partnerships that address the need for affordable housing.”

Details of the plan are available on the diocesan website.