Budget cuts will be felt around world

By on October 1, 2000

General Synod budget cuts announced this summer (see September’s Journal) will have wide-ranging effects, domestically and internationally, according to interviews with church officials.

The national church is reducing jobs, grants and programs as it struggles to meet legal costs incurred as the result of numerous lawsuits brought by former students at Native residential schools. Compounding the problem this year has been a drop in some dioceses’ givings to the national church.

Perhaps the most visible loss will be the closure of the resource centre at the national office in Toronto. The centre had maintained a collection of videos, pamphlets and recordings on a wide variety of subjects. Co-ordinator Annie Kakooza advised individuals, parishes and diocesan staff on which materials would support such initiatives as preventing child sexual abuse or the start of a Bible study group. The materials were lent free of charge.

Ms. Kakooza, who was born and raised in Uganda and trained as a librarian in Wales, came to Church House 11 years ago, when resource material was scattered among various departments. “We had to set up the resource centre from scratch. We needed to have one-stop shopping,” she said.

Her job was eliminated and she said she will look for opportunities that use skills she’s developed in library work, training and human resources. “Although I understand the need for the resource centre to close, I’m a bit sad. I think I’ve given a lot to the church and I’ve grown spiritually and professionally,” she said. The collection of several hundred videos and printed materials will be scattered among departments and diocesan resource centres, she said. During her tenure, she said, she made her position more “consultative,” advising callers on which materials would be appropriate rather than simply taking orders.

Those seeking information from the national church archives or the library may see those departments operating at reduced hours, said archivist Terry Thompson. “There will be significant cuts to service,” she said. Since one job in each of those departments was cut from full to half-time, both departments are conducting a survey to see how to cope. Currently, they are open from 9:15 a.m.to 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday to Friday.

Starting with the January issue, the Anglican Journal plans to reduce its base number of pages to 12 from 20. The church’s national newspaper is under a new acting editor, Vianney (Sam) Carriere, who will also continue to edit MinistryMatters, the church’s publication for clergy and lay leaders. In addition, the department of information resources suspended the development of broadcast documentaries by Anglican Video.

Information resources director Douglas Tindal noted that a recent production, The Power Within – Healing Through Prayer, on faith healing, was broadcast on the ABC network in the United States.

Editors of diocesan newspapers, at their annual meeting last June in Montreal, appointed a three-man task force to consider how diocesan papers could continue to publish under a worst-case scenario – the bankruptcy of General Synod and closure of the Anglican Journal. The Journal now distributes the diocesan papers, maintains their circulation lists and qualifies for higher postal subsidies than the local papers would on their own.

One less apparent change for the average Anglican might have been the elimination of the position of Eco-Justice Co-ordinator, held by Joy Kennedy, who came in 1989 to work at Church House from the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Ms. Kennedy provided an Anglican voice at Canadian and international social justice groups and gatherings. Last year, she was the Canadian representative at a meeting of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network in Seoul, Korea, where 24 provinces of the Anglican Communion were represented. The group collected reports on social justice issues around the world, including the debt burden in developing countries, religious persecution and regional conflicts.

Also, Ms. Kennedy said, “I worked with ecumenical partners to develop “Building A Moral Economy,” a three-year training program for anyone interested in understanding how economic systems work. It set the stage for Jubilee.” The Jubilee initiative, advocates debt cancellation for the world’s poorest countries.

The loss of Ms. Kennedy means “we will not have staff participation in global justice issues; we will rely on ecumenical staff,” said Ellie Johnson, director of Partnerships.

The total amount of grants distributed by Partnerships, the Canadian church’s international department, was cut to $1.19 million from $1.56 million. The funds went to provinces in the Anglican Communion in Africa, Asia and Latin America and those provinces will be deciding how to cope with the reduced amounts.

Another position eliminated in this round of cuts was that of mission co-ordinator for Africa and the Middle East, held by Stuart Brown. Dr. Johnson said that Partnerships will have to find a different way of allocating and monitoring the use of grant money in those parts of the world.

Dr. Johnson said she has heard from several bishops and clergy in developing areas who stress that “our relationship is not based on money.” One of them, Canon George Tibeesigwa of Uganda, was in Toronto for the Anglican provincial secretaries meeting in September and commented, in an interview, “material things come and go but the principle is the essential relationship in Christ.”

Faith, Worship and Ministry’s budget was cut by 18 per cent, to $354,000 from $431,388. Rev. Barbara Liotscos left as consultant for ministry and worship to take a position as archdeacon of Kootenay and executive assistant to the archbishop of British Columbia and Yukon.

“We won’t be going to a number of things (Ms. Liotscos) went to,” said Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director of Faith, Worship and Ministry. She noted that Ms. Liotscos was involved in consultations about the possibility of developing a new liturgy and about theological education. However, Ms. Liotscos’ position was not eliminated, she also noted, and may be filled after General Synod meets next summer.

The 11 dioceses that make up the Council of the North (Arctic, Athabaska, Brandon, Caledonia, Cariboo, Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Keewatin, Moosonee, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon) are deciding how to cope with lower grants, said Jim Cullen, treasurer of General Synod.

There was no immediate information on specific programs that might be cut in the North. Total grants, which go to northern dioceses in need, will be reduced to $2.5 million in 2001 from $2.76 million in 2000.

Author

  • Solange DeSantis

    Solange De Santis was a reporter for the Anglican Journal from 2000 to 2008.

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