More mainline money problems

Episcopal Church treasurer Kurt Barnes had some bad news for church executives over the weekend. Like almost everybody else, the church's investment fund dropped 33 percent in 2008, to just about $363 million.

That led to some cutbacks for the church as its executive council drew up a budget for 2010-2012 at the same meeting.

According to Episcopal News Service: "The draft budget calls for increasing the draw on endowment income from 5 percent to 5.5 percent, deferring debt repayment, freezing church center salaries in 2010, cutting most non-personnel church center costs by 9 percent and slightly reducing personnel costs."

Somewhat more surprising is the church's decision to cut the .7 percent budget line dedicated to the Millennium Development goals, which aim to reduce poverty and disease throughout the world and which the church has heavily promoted.

The church stresses, however, that the church has and will continue to spend much more than .7 percent on the MDGs. Still, church leaders have chastised the U.S. government for not agreeing to the MDG budget line.

The Church of the Brethren was hit hard last year too. It lost $119 million, bringing the value of its endowment down to $320 million.