An early, unaudited draft of General Synod’s financial results for 2012 expects a lower than anticipated budget deficit for 2012, the financial management committee (FMC) has said in its written report submitted to the Council of General Synod (CoGS).
Although final results are not yet certain pending a completed audit, FMC said, “It is reasonable to expect that the deficit will be in the neighbourhood of $100,000.” A deficit of $287,680 had been forecast for that year.
However, “although 2012 will likely end up more favourably than anticipated four months ago, the outlook for 2013 has not changed,” said the report submitted by committee chair, Rob Dickson. The fall meeting of CoGS had approved a “transitional budget” with a deficit of $513,000.
This April, the primate, general secretary and treasurer are to meet with the FMC chair and General Synod directors/co-ordinators to identify areas for “cost-savings,” with the goal of developing a balanced budget for 2014. Dickson said the FMC reaffirms the direction set by CoGS in November 2008 for a balanced budget for 2014 and beyond, “taking into consideration the historical decline in proportional giving.”
CoGS, at its spring meeting March 14 to 17, did not discuss the budget pending an audited statement. The results will be reported at this fall’s meeting, said diocese of British Columbia Bishop James Cowan, a member of the committee.
In its written report, FMC said the 2012 figures were helped by the following factors: diocesan giving was higher than forecast since one diocese “made a significant contribution for amounts owing from a prior year”; the Consolidated Trust Fund was refunded overcharged investment management fees of $183,311; and the Anglican Journal had “a strong final two months.” General Synod also received a “large bequest” in December 2012, which had specific restrictions, it added. “A portion of the bequest is specified for global relations, and some part of it will likely be recognized as income for 2012.”
How 2012 will finally shape up will depend on the fourth quarter, where “large variances in proportional giving commonly catch up,” said the report.
Meanwhile, CoGS was presented with the revised Statement of Investment Policy and Goals of the Anglican Church of Canada Consolidated Trust Fund, which included changes for the section on corporate social responsibility.
Cowan explained that the guidelines have been amended to enable the investment manager to use Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) screens, but would not make the task “too restrictive” or “too difficult.”
Some CoGS members raised questions about whether the changes affected the original intent not to have ethically questionable investments in General Synod’s portfolio. “There’s nothing that says one of the priorities is care for the earth. There’s nothing about environment irresponsibility,” said the Rev. Lynne McNaughton, from the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia.
The issue of SRI is likely to be raised by some members of General Synod when it meets this July, said Cynthia Haines-Turner, from the ecclesiastical province of Canada, and “we really need to explain fully the implications.”
Cowan said that all the members’ questions and concerns could go back to the next CoGS meeting in the fall. He also said that while General Synod will be presented with the revisions as part of the FMC report, it is not being asked to vote on the matter.
CoGS also ratified the grants approved by the Ministry Investment Fund (MIF), totalling $95,590 for 2013. Grants were allocated for a three-year chaplaincy program to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, the Anglican Journal, youth initiatives and Marks of Mission projects, among others.
The MIF was established in 2008 “to limit the funding of operational deficits with unrestricted bequests to the national church,” and is administered by the primate and the general secretary, in consultation with the General Synod treasurer.