The national office of the Anglican Church of Canada reported a deficit for the fourth straight year in 2006, but the shortfall, at about $486,000, was less than half the $1.1 million loss recorded in 2005. Revenue shortfall primarily came from the operations of the Anglican Book Centre, said treasurer Peter Blachford in an interview. The Toronto bookstore reported revenue of $2.46 million and expenses of $2.96 million in 2006, compared to revenue of $2.89 million and expenses of $3.11 million in 2005. “The bookstore used to make a profit, but sales continued to flag,” said Mr. Blachford.
The bookstore’s fortunes changed earlier this year, as Lutheran publisher Augsburg Fortress agreed to manage the outlet – and the financial risk – and pay rent to General Synod. “In 2008, that line will be revenue, period,” said Mr. Blachford.In the annual financial report presented to the General Synod meeting, income from dioceses – the major portion of revenue for the national office, also called General Synod – was down slightly at $8.71 million, compared to $8.73 million. Total revenue declined to $13.71 million from $14.0 million.
The Anglican Appeal, the church’s flagship fundraiser, was down to $426,000 from $500,000. The financial management and development committee is analyzing the reasons for the Anglican Appeal’s decline and “we are going to map out a strategy on a multi-year basis,” said Mr. Blachford.
On the bright side, General Synod received a larger contribution ($514,000, compared with $142,000) from bequests and investment income rose to $97,000 from $77,000 due to a change in investment managers.Expenses were also down, as a result of cost-cutting by various departments at the national office, to $14.20 million from $15.10 million.Overall, the 2007 financial picture is “tracking extremely well, ahead of where I would have budgeted,” said Mr. Blachford. However, he added, that he is concerned about diocesan contributions in 2008. Conversations with some diocesan treasurers indicate that some dioceses, which he declined to name, may be considering reducing their grants to General Synod.Mr. Blachford also said he hopes that the days of seeing “the glass half-empty” will end with the planned establishment of a new financial development office in Toronto. “We’ve cut as far as we can rationally go. This church is blessed with resources and it’s time to make that mind-shift from scarcity to abundance,” he said. (In his opening address, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the primate, noted that the national partnerships department has cut the number of liaison staffers for global relations from three to one – now with responsibility for the entire world – and urged the General Synod meeting to review that cut.)He also noted that General Synod is in line to receive about $1 million as a refund when the revised residential schools agreement with the federal government goes into effect. That will probably take place later this year.