NH Churches Launch
State Budget Accountability Project
Religious Leaders to Monitor Impact of Budget
on State's Most Vulnerable
CONCORD, June 23, 2011 - What will happen in New Hampshire communities as a result of deep state budget cuts to take effect July 1? A unique initiative gets underway next month that will help answer this question about the most vulnerable populations in the state, led by the NH Council of Churches.
The Council, whose over 600 NH churches include Protestant, Episcopal, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions, will work with pastors, social ministry leaders, interfaith service leaders and others to gather data for the Faithful Budget Accountability Project.
"We heard repeatedly from legislative budget writers and other policy makers throughout this session that churches and charities can and should provide all basic human services slashed from the state budget," said Tom Chininis, pastor at St. Philip's Church in Nashua who chairs the Public Policy Committee of the NH Council of Churches. "Unfortunately, that's not realistic; even in good economic times, funds are difficult to raise. Churches play a significant role in meeting human needs in our communities, but do so working in tandem with government, not as replacements. We want to understand, quantify and communicate back to legislators at the next opportunity the human impact of budget cuts made in the name of efficiency and living within our means."
Local church participants in the Faithful Budget Accountability Project will receive a simple monthly electronic survey, asking about the types of requests for assistance they see in their community and whether the participating church or agency is able to meet those needs. Information will be collected about new programs that respond to needs, collaborative efforts going on among churches in communities, and in particular, data on unmet needs of individuals and families that church leaders see.
Joining the Council's ten member denominations in promoting participation in the Project are the NH Sisters of Mercy Justice Team, Lutheran Social Services and other faith-based providers.
Participation in the Faithful Budget Accountability Project is open to all religious and social service ministry leaders. More information is available at the Council's website, www.nhchurches.org.
About the New Hampshire Council of Churches: The New Hampshire Council of Churches, 10 member denominations, works together for peace, for the poor, and for the care of the planet. Rooted in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the NHCC inspires congregations and people of faith to unite in good works that build a culture of justice, compassion and peace.