Magazine article Anglican Journal

If Revenue Declines, 'Very Hard Decisions' over Money Likely

Magazine article Anglican Journal

If Revenue Declines, 'Very Hard Decisions' over Money Likely

Article excerpt

The likelihood that the church's revenue will stagnate in coming years means it might want to think carefully about its priorities, Fraser Lawton, bishop of the diocese of Athabasca and a member of the financial management committee, said in a presentation to Council of General Synod (CoGS) November 11.

"The trends as we go forward, looking ahead over a number of years, suggest that we need to be mindful of what appears to be a probability of declining income," Lawton said. "It might be wise for us to think about what are the critical things... Why do we exist as General Synod? What is our purpose, what is the priority in terms of funding?"

More than 90% of General Synods net income comes from the dioceses, Lawton said, but almost all of them are "having some conversations" about their own financial future. Given this, he said, "if everything continues as is, the day is going to come when we're going to have to make some very hard decisions."

In a presentation on the proposed 2018 budget, General Synod Treasurer Hanna Goschy noted that over the past few years, diocesan contributions had "hovered" in the range of $8.4-$8.5 million, but added that it would be very important to keep an eye on the level of giving in future years.

A document on the 2018 budget presented to CoGS states that earlier this year, "a number of dioceses signaled inability to give at the same level as they had in previous years." A total of $8.42 million in diocesan giving is forecast for this year, with $8.31 million budgeted for next year. For 2022, $8.19 million is projected.

Despite this forecast decline in diocesan contributions, slight surpluses are projected for this year through 2022, the document

For 2017, a surplus of $26,800 is forecast--and this is after a number of transfers to and from internally restricted funds, such as a transfer of $460,000 to the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation, are taken into account; the projected surplus before these transfers, Goschy said, is $408,000.

The main reason for this surplus, she said, was expense savings; a number of General Synod positions were unfilled for the time covered by the budget, resulting in savings from salaries and benefits.

The proposed budget for 2018 projects total revenue at $10.9 million, down from the $11.1 million forecast for 2017.

One of the significant items in the 2018 budget is the hiring of two new full-time suicide prevention workers in the Indigenous ministries department, Lawton said. …

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