Committee chair Monica Patten
The Council of General Synod has authorized the launching of a fast-track process to produce a new financial strategy for the Anglican Church of Canada.
The process, generated by uncertainty around the costs of settling the residential schools crisis and its potential impact on the church’s ability to raise funds in the future, represents a new style of financial planning for the church.
Monica Patten of Ottawa, chair of the Anglican Appeal sub-committee, said the finance committee was making the proposal now because “a strategy to support plans as they are developed is needed, and this discussion before General Synod will increase awareness, knowledge and commitment.”
The motion to accept the proposed process passed easily at the council meeting in Mississauga, Ont., in November. Finance committee members said they are confident that donors will come forward to provide funding especially earmarked for the new process, which is expected to cost about $105,000. No funds for the process will come from the existing Synod budget.
The process begins immediately with the selection of an outside facilitator and with logistical planning.
Significant future funds are needed, Ms. Patten said, “no matter what.”
Sketching out the rationale for quick action, she said that General Synod assets have been significantly reduced, and that Anglican Appeal and planned giving donations are dropping because of donor uncertainty about where money is going.
In his budget presentation, Jim Cullen, treasurer of General Synod, said that Anglican Appeal forecasts have been slashed from $600,000 for the year 2000 down to $450,000, and reduced even further to $350,000 for the year 2001. “People are asking can we guarantee that the money received will be going to programs and not to legal settlements,” he said. “And of course we are guaranteeing that. But a lot of notes are coming back with ‘I’m sorry, we will be giving our money elsewhere this year.'”
Ms. Patten also noted that several dioceses have suffered a sharp reduction in their asset base and resulting cuts to income. “There must be future commitment to program and healing for indigenous people. There is rebuilding to be done,” she added.
Although the new strategy will be for the Anglican church across Canada, finance committee members say they have also been concerned that church fundraising efforts have been too piecemeal in the past. “(The finance committee) has long believed that an integrated approach to revenue generation is needed,” Ms. Patten said.
Mr. Cullen said finance committee members are unanimous in their support of the proposal. Implementation committee members are Ms. Patten, chair of the Anglican Appeal sub-committee, Brian Hartsook, an experienced fundraiser with a background in financial development, Canon Philip Poole, rector of Trinity Church, Aurora, Ont., and chair of the planned giving subcommittee and Mr. Cullen.
The process will include brainstorming sessions at two provincial gatherings with a mix of clergy and lay Anglicans. One session will be in Calgary or Edmonton and another in Montreal or Ottawa – both in late January and February. A national dialogue in Toronto will follow, which will include representatives from the previous two gatherings, some members of General Synod and other groups with a stake in the outcome.
In an interview, Mr. Cullen said, “We want to make sure we get a broad spectrum and that our indigenous people are involved in this process all the way through.”
The finance committee will report its findings to the next meeting of CoGS in March and then to General Synod next July.
Ms. Patten stressed that the new process is not another national fundraising campaign. “It is not a proposal for a fundraising campaign, it is not intended to undo good work such as proportional giving, and it is not a desperate attempt to keep something going.”
Bishop Donald Harvey of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador and a finance committee member, speaking in support of the new process, said, “There are no sacred cows; it’s a fresh approach and everything is open for discussion.”