Magazine article Anglican Journal

Council Approves Break-Even Budget: Appeal and Diocesan Support Are Strong

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Council Approves Break-Even Budget: Appeal and Diocesan Support Are Strong

Article excerpt

Mississauga, Ont. Council of General Synod--the Anglican Church of Canada's governing body between General Synods--approved a break-even 2004 budget for the national church, but treasurer Jim Cullen warned that some dioceses face significant financial pressure.

Next year's budget, presented to CoGS at its regular fall meeting, predicts revenue of $10.5 million mad expenditure of $10.7 million, compared to expected revenue of $10.5 million and expenditures of $10.3 million in 2003. The current fiscal year is expected to end with a surplus of $226,000 that will be carried over into the next year for an overall 2004 surplus of about $22,000, said Mr. Jim Cullen.

"There is good news. Support from dioceses has been maintained and the Anglican Appeal is running 26 per cent ahead of last year as of November, 2003," Mr. Cullen said in presenting the budget to COGS. The Anglican Appeal supports the church's national and international mission work and represents about eight per cent of General Synod's financing. There is also continuing support for the Anglican Journal Appeal and other direct fundraising initiatives, he said.

However, Mr. Cullen added, "there are still difficulties and uncertainties." Contributing to the $25-million native residential schools settlement fund is putting a strain on some dioceses, he noted. In addition, dioceses are finding that insurance costs are rising (see related story p. 9) and some parishes in the diocese of New Westminster are withholding funds because they do not approve of blessing same-sex unions. Contributions from dioceses account for 84 per cent of General Synod revenue.

Mr. Cullen said revenue for this year is on track with earlier predictions of $10.5 million. Investment income continues to be a small portion of revenue (1 per cent) since "you need an investment to get a return," he said. In recent years, General Synod has drawn on its investment assets to pay legal fees associated with lawsuits alleging abuse in native residential schools. In 2002, such costs totalled $1.2 million.

"Some day," Mr. Cullen added, "I'd like to put money in to the Consolidated Trust Fund (General Synod's investment vehicle) instead of taking it out." The 2004 budget also provides for an average 2.75 per cent pay raise for General Synod staff, which is below the anticipated inflation rate for 2003.

Rob Dickson, chair of the financial management and development committee, noted that to avoid borrowing costs, "it is extremely important" that dioceses attempt to spread their contribution to General Synod throughout the year rather than making a single payment at the end of the year. The expected 2003 surplus is primarily due to finance charges that were expected but not needed, he said.

About half of the national church's expenditures (the same proportion as 2003) is expected to go to Council of the North grants, (which support northern dioceses) and mission work in Canada and abroad, now called partnerships. Council of the North grants are forecast to total $2.5 million (unchanged from 2003), and partnerships expenditures are expected to be $3.0 million, compared to $2.9 million this year. An increase of five percent will go to the indigenous healing fund, which supports counseling and cultural projects in aboriginal communities.

The third-largest expense is the communications and information resources department, which includes the Anglican Journal and its circulation and database department, MinistryMatters magazine, the www. …

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