Council of General Synod (CoGS), during its spring meeting here, approved a proposal to reduce the $10.7 million 2005 budget of General Synod by $415,000 following a shortfall in expected revenues from Anglican Appeal and the Anglican Book Centre (ABC).
“When all was said and done, we came to the conclusion that some of the (budget) assumptions we made earlier were weak,” said General Synod treasurer Peter Blachford. He said that Anglican Appeal exceeded its 2003 contribution level but fell short of projected revenues for 2004. “We ended up with $467,000 on a net basis against a projected $650,000,” he said.
As a result, he said the 2005 budget, which initially projected Anglican Appeal to bring in $850,000, was scaled down to $650,000. “Since we hadn’t hit the target we felt it was unrealistic to jack it up by 33 per cent,” said Mr. Blachford. “It would be a good way to balance the budget but we would be fooling ourselves.”
(The Anglican Appeal supports work in Canada’s North and overseas.)
Don Thompson of the diocese of British Columbia expressed concern, however, that pegging the Anglican Appeal revenue to $650,00 was “still ambitious.”
Mr. Blachford agreed that it was still “one of the weak points” in the budget but added, “if we took it down to $550,000 I won’t be able to stand here and say we’re not going to take away someone’s job.”
ABC, on the other hand, failed to bring in a projected revenue of $215,000 because of many factors, including the move of the bookstore (and the entire national church staff) from 600 Jarvis St. to its new location at 80 Hayden St. in Toronto, said Mr. Blachford. “ABC should be breaking even. If it makes profit, great.”
The share of Council of the North, a grouping of 11 financially-assisted dioceses, was left untouched at $2.5 million under the revised budget, as were the allocations for archives ($128,870), the house of bishops ($135,400) and provision for staff benefits ($176,000).
The communications and information resources department, received the largest cut at $176,000, broken down as follows: ABC Publishing ($130,000), Anglican Journal ($21,000), MinistryMatters magazine ($10,000), office administration ($2,000), media relations ($3,000), resource production ($5,000), meeting costs ($5,000) and Anglican Video ($10,000). ABC Publishing had an additional cut of $84,000 related to retail sales.
The General Secretary’s budget was cut by $98,000, with savings arising from the retirement of Archdeacon Jim Boyles, who retires this month. The appointment of his successor is expected to be announced in November, when CoGS meets for its fall meeting and approves the nomination.
The partnerships and financial management departments each had their budgets reduced by $40,000. Ellie Johnson, partnerships director, said her budget cut would mean a reduction in staff travel, the suspension of some grants to overseas partners, and reductions in educational resources from the healing fund and the areas of eco-justice, indigenous justice and indigenous ministries.
The primate’s office budget was cut by $10,000 and faith, worship and ministry department, by $5,000.