Assessment Appeals

2020 Assessment Appeals Process and Guidelines
(Revised August 21, 2020)

Given the impact since March 2020 of the current COVID-19 pandemic on congregational life and finances, Bishop Marc Andrus and the Executive Council have approved that assessment appeals for relief will be granted in two rounds. Round 1 (with an application deadline of May 31st) has been completed, with ten congregations granted a total of over $221,000.  

Applications for Round 2 will be accepted up to September 30, 2020.   Again, as for Round 1, the Assessment Appeals Committee anticipates many more congregations than usual may be considering a request for assessment relief.  To ensure a consistent and transparent process in this unusual year, and to manage the workload of the Committee as it seeks to apportion fairly the finite resources of the Diocese available for relief, the Committee reminds all congregations of the appeal process steps laid out below. These steps are in accordance with the applicable sections in the Diocesan Constitution and Canons and in the Executive Council Bylaws (see the important links below).

Please note that both parishes and missions will be considered equally during 2020 for assessment relief appeals.  Also, no congregation that has received assessment relief in the past three years will be eligible to apply in Round 2 and in 2021, regardless of what the 2017 Assessment Appeals Guidelines stipulate.

If you wish to appeal for assessment relief, please carefully review the Guidelines to determine if your congregation qualifies and meets all requirements and criteria of the Guidelines, especially if the only reason for the relief request is the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown. If the congregation meets the Guidelines, follow the steps below, and submit all required materials to the Assessment Appeals Committee by the Round 2 deadline of  September 30.  No extensions in the application deadline will be given for Round 2, so that the Committee can complete its work by December 2020. 

Steps to appeal your assessment:

  1. If your congregation plans to appeal your assessment, you must file a written notice of appeal, including the amount for which you seek relief, with the Diocesan Interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Jim Forsyth by September 30. Emailing the written notice is sufficient and satisfactory. Jim’s email address is Also email/cc your written notice to Assessment Appeals Committee Chair, the Rev. Debra Low-Skinner, at and to the Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey, at by the September 30 deadline.
  2. Submit your complete appeals application by September 30.
  3. Items to be included in support of your appeal:
  • The completed 2020 Application for Assessment Relief (found in the important link below)

  • A written statement/cover letter explaining the reasons for your appeal and providing the dollar amount of relief you are requesting. The statement must demonstrate how the assessment appeals guidelines are met and give detailed responses to items 1-5 of the “Criteria” section of the Guidelines. The letter should also describe how the relief funds will be spent and whether or not the congregation has received any Diocesan financial support within the past two years.

  • A written statement as to what is planned with the assessment relief (e.g., expand outreach, perform deferred maintenance, increase visibility in neighborhood, etc.).

  • Parochial reports for 2018 and 2019.

  • Parish Annual Reports for 2018 and 2019. (Note: The Parish Annual Report is what is presented by the Rector/Vicar/Priest in Charge and Wardens as descriptions of the state of the parish/mission presented typically at the Parish Annual Meeting.  It is not the same as the Parochial Report.)

  • Complete year-end financial statements, including statements of all fund/account balances.

  • Projected 2020 budget and actuals to date as of August 31.

  • Vestry-approved Application for Assessment Relief. 

The deadline for completed applications for Round 2 is September 30, 2020.  The Assessment Appeals Committee will not consider requests for deadline extensions.

Once materials from all appealing congregations have been received, the Assessment Appeals Committee may set a date to meet in person or via teleconference with congregational representatives. The Committee will then make recommendations in the fall to the Executive Council, which has the authority to make decisions on assessment relief.

(NOTE: The assessment relief, if granted, will be in the form of a credit on the congregation’s assessment payment statement.)

Please contact the Rev. Debra Low-Skinner or Mr. Jim Forsyth with any questions about the assessment appeals process or guidelines. If you want to apply for assessment relief, but don’t think your congregation meets the guidelines, the Assessment Appeals Committee encourages you to contact the Canon to the Ordinary, the Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey at, to assist you in determining if an application is appropriate. The process is open to all parishes and missions, regardless of size. The guidelines are firm and will be applied equally to all congregations.

This information, including Assessment Appeals Guidelines as approved by Executive Council and Application for Assessment Relief, can be found on the DioCal website,, under “Resources” then “Finance and Operations” then “Assessment Appeals". These are also found in the important links below. In addition, there is an important link for the applicable Diocesan Constitution & Canons sections which describe the Assessment Appeals process (Section 18.03) and the Assessment Appeals Committee required actions (Section 18.04).

Important Links

Contact Information

Jim Forsyth
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Diocese of California

The Rev. Canon Abbott Bailey
Canon to the Ordinary
Diocese of California

The Rev. Debra Low-Skinner
Assessment Appeals Committee Chair
Christ Episcopal Church Sei Ko Kai, San Francisco