Mississauga, Ont.-The Council of General Synod (CoGS) has approved a balanced 2012 budget for the national church of $12.698 million.
At its Nov. 18-20 meeting here, a balanced budget was also forecast for 2013 with “no further staffing cuts” before 2016.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that declining revenues coupled with cost-push inflation could mean that General Synod will once again face a deficit budget in 2014. This deficit could balloon to $1 million by 2016, according to a report submitted to CoGS by the church’s Financial Management Committee (FMC).
In 2011, a balanced budget was achieved through major restructuring that included staff layoffs and the elimination of some programs. “If we’re not able to stabilize revenues,” warned General Synod treasurer Michele George, “we’re back to the drawing board.”
Response to the report ranged from expressions of concern about what decisions need to be made to calls for action to examine and possibly redefine church structures. Before it ended its meeting, CoGS passed a resolution setting aside two full days “to consider clear directions and a plan for the efficient utilization of financial, staff, and structural resources” to help achieve the priorities and practices set out in Vision 2019, the church’s strategic plan.
Of major concern is the decline in proportional gifts from dioceses. These constitute 67 per cent of budgeted revenue and are currently falling at an annual rate of three per cent, said FMC chair Rob Dickson. There is no indication that this decrease-which began in the 1990s as church attendance declined across Canada-will be reversed. Without new revenues, said Dickson, in 2014 CoGS will be faced with the reality that “there will need to be a reshaping of the national program in some way or another.”
FMC noted in its report that a balanced budget in 2012 would not have been possible without support from the Ministry Investment Fund (MIF). The MIF was established in 2008 to limit the use of unrestricted bequests to bridge deficits. In 2011, the MIF was funded by 80 per cent of such bequests. The MIF allocates up to $250,000 a year “to provide funds for initiatives that ensure the ongoing mission and ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada.” The MIF is expected to have a balance of $3.6 million by Dec. 31, 2011. A balance of $2 million must be maintained.
The 2012 budget forecasts revenue of $12.698 million, expenditures of $12.766 million and a surplus of $4,512. It also provides additional funding of up to $173,000 from the MIF, a contingency reserve of $300,000 and $268,640 for the Together in Mission (TIM) initiative. TIM is a nationwide fundraising initiative of the Resources for Mission that involves a partnership between General Synod and dioceses and has a goal of raising $25 million over five years. CoGS approved a motion authorizing the use of the funds for TIM, which were previously allocated for the Resources for Mission initiatives and were unspent in 2011.
In its report, FMC said that General Synod’s management team is “committed to maintaining budget equilibrium” and is aware that “future financial stability” depends on steady revenue growth. “In this context, the work of the Resources for Mission department (formerly the department of philanthropy), in partnership with dioceses, is critical,” said the report.
Under the 2012 budget, the Council of the North received a grant of $2.263 million, down from last year’s $2.416 million. This amount reflects the Council’s proposal that its grants be reduced by 5 per cent per year over the next five years. The Council is a grouping of financially assisted dioceses that promote the mission and ministry of the church in Canada’s north.
Other details from the 2012 budget include sources of revenue:
Diocesan Proportional Gifts $8,411,108
Anglican Journal $2,093,000
Investment income $150,000
Resources for Mission $1,049,031
ABC Publishing $97,560
Other Revenue (including cost recoveries, rental income, cost sharing and projected grant revenues) $897, 071
Relationships (Ecumenical and Interfaith, Anglican Global Relations): $855,697
Indigenous Ministries: $439,648
Sacred Circle: $225,000
Faith, Worship and Ministry: $417, 212
General Secretary’s Office: $1.414 million
General Synod Reserve: $250,000
Primate’s Office: $411,655
House of Bishops: $121,900
Lambeth Reserve: $2,000
Anglican Journal: $2.467 million
Web Services: $232,067
Anglican Video: $219,985
Central Services and Administration: $227,300
Financial Services: $727,191
Service and Support: $273,833
Property Management: $355,200
Information Technology: $139,153
Resources for Mission: $1.287 million