Dioceses announce millions in aid for cash-strapped parishes

Published May 23, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit church finances from a number of directions at once. Restrictions on public gatherings have meant an end—for now, at least—to traditional collection-plate offerings. Falling stock markets have cut the investment income of both parishes and other levels of church organization, and of parishioners themselves; their reduced investment income, combined with a dramatic spike in unemployment, has eaten into the ability of many parishioners to give. Meanwhile, many parishes have also lost rental income with the shutdown of businesses and other groups that use their space.

In response, some dioceses have taken steps intended to help struggling parishes. The following is a sampling of measures of which the Journal was aware as of press time.

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

An aid package estimated at $1.3 million, including:

  • The waiving of parish allotment payments for March, April and May
  • Payment by the diocese of all payroll costs of all stipendiary clergy in April and May. (Parishes that have $500,000 or more in the Diocesan Consolidated Trust or other investments will be required to repay the diocese)
  • Authorizing the management team and two members of diocesan council to make decisions regarding requests from parishes whose needs are not addressed by the above measures
  • This authority is to end Sept. 1, 2020, unless another date is determined by the diocesan council

New Westminster

A roughly $2-million aid package including:

  • Suspension of assessment payments from April 1-Aug. 31 for all parishes
  • Payment by the diocese of the salaries of all stipendiary clergy through to the end of May (excepting parishes with more than $750,000 in the Diocesan Consolidated Trust Fund or other investment funds)
  • Allowing parishes to withdraw up to 20% of their capital in the diocese’s Consolidated Trust Fund to pay their operational expenses

Central Newfoundland

  • A “time of jubilee,” allowing parishes to skip remit assessments to the diocese in April, May and June
  • The diocese was planning a time of jubilee prior to COVID-19
    The jubilee period also focuses on foundational ideas from the Book of Acts and includes prayer, visioning and parish engagement

Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Offering a direct payment subsidy for employees of the diocese for the four months following April 1
  • Allowing parishes to make emergency withdrawals from the diocese’s Anglican Joint Investment Trust


An estimated $3.6-million aid package with:

  • A “time of jubilee” for parishes through April and May, in which they will not be required to pay allotments to the diocese, or pay clergy stipends, housing and other benefits


  • Making parish contributions towards diocesan mission and ministry assessments voluntary as long as worship services in the diocese are suspended
  • Offering interest-free loans of up to $10,000 to parishes
  • Waiving interest charges to parishes on outstanding accounts (payroll, insurance or assessment costs) and old debts
  • Creation of a new fund to help parishes facing severe financial difficulties


  • Joelle Kidd

    Joelle Kidd was a staff writer for the Anglican Journal from 2017 to 2021.

  • Tali Folkins

    Tali Folkins joined the Anglican Journal in 2015 as staff writer, and has served as editor since October 2021. He has worked as a staff reporter for Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His freelance writing credits include work for newspapers and magazines including The Globe and Mail and the former United Church Observer (now Broadview). He has a journalism degree from the University of King’s College and a master’s degree in Classics from Dalhousie University.

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