KATHY BLAIR AND DIANE PAQUETTE
A proposal to review salaries of the primate and bishops, a discussion of the Anglican Journal's coverage and a decrying of hate crimes against gays were among resolutions passed by the new Council of General Synod.
Council also passed a $16-million budget at its biannual meeting in November near Toronto.
Treasurer Jim Cullen told the gathering he expects there will be a deficit in 1998 of about $160,000, attributed entirely to legal costs associated with lawsuits over residential schools. While $20,000 was budgeted for legal costs in 1998, the final tally was expected to be about $130,000 for the year, the same amount budgeted for 1999.
Mr. Cullen is unsure whether $130,000 will be enough to pay this year's bills. If not, the church might have to look to other sources, including endowment funds.
Despite ongoing uncertainties over the final tally on lawsuits, the church has to maintain its programs, Mr. Cullen said. "We decided while we can't grow in those areas, we're not going to cut back at this stage."
Extra dollars have been put into the church's healing fund, set up to deal with the legacies of the residential schools. The church budgeted $38,000 for healing in 1998; that rises to $113,000 this year.
Dioceses are being asked to contribute an average 1.5 per cent extra to the national budget this year.
The Primate's World Relief and Development Fund plans to spend about $4.6-million delivering assistance to countries around the world.
Other highlights of the council meeting included:
Members unanimously approved a motion from the faith, worship and ministry committee which condemns bigotry and hatred of gays and lesbians. The resolution's mover, faith committee member Canon Helena-Rose Houldcroft, said it was important to address the growing incidence of hate crimes against gays and lesbians, including the recent brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, an Episcopalian layman in Wyoming.
"That kind of human degradation was just beyond me," Ms. Houldcroft said.
Officers of General Synod have been authorized to continue negotiating to redevelop the national office at 600 Jarvis St., Toronto. Mr. Cullen explained that the most recent offer from developers would cost the church $1-million, whereas the church has been seeking a no-cost option. The proposal involves tearing the current Church House building down and constructing a new building with seniors' condominiums above. …