Finances concern bishops

Published December 1, 2007

London, Ont.
Several bishops criticized the national church’s budget process, complaining that financial statements were only received just before the budget presentation at the General Synod governing convention last June.

“There were two substantial budget documents at General Synod and nothing was circulated in advance. An executive officer brought this to my attention and was quite excited about it. How can you present this material and not give the time to get into it? The financial statements of the national church deserve more time,” said Bishop Percy Coffin of the diocese of Western Newfoundland.

“This concerned my treasurer and staff,” concurred Bishop Ron Ferris of Algoma. “It is shocking to have a $10-million budget and no financial representation in the convening circular (distributed in advance to General Synod delegates). We were shocked by the absence of financial information,” he said.

Bishop Cyrus Pitman, of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, said it “appeared to be dealt with very quickly at General Synod. If I went to my synod in that manner, it wouldn’t be well received.”

Treasurer Peter Blachford, in an interview after the house of bishops meeting, said that generally the church’s audited financial statements are not included in the convening circular, which was mailed in early May for the June 19-25 meeting. “This year, we needed to finish the audit, then send the draft (financial) statement to the audit committee, and then there is the production step. The statements were there at the start of the General Synod,” he said. The firm of Ernst & Young audits the national office’s financial statement. The audit for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006 was completed this year in early April, said Mr. Blachford.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate , asked the bishops who are members of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), which governs the church between triennial General Synods, to raise the matter at the next council meeting (scheduled Nov. 16-18; for up-to-date CoGS coverage, please visit


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