General Synod, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada, is anticipating “significant deficits” for 2009 and 2010, citing a decline in diocesan giving, increased travel costs, and fallout from the current global financial crisis resulting in an expected decrease in investment income.
Peter Blachford, General Synod treasurer, said he was not able to discuss details of the deficit at press time pending a report to the financial management and development committee, which met Oct. 17 to 18.
The Management Team of General Synod said, however, that “a detailed plan for financial recovery that will see the church in the black by the end of 2011” and generating surpluses in subsequent years has been laid out.
Details of the financial recovery plan had not yet been made public pending its presentation to the finance committee and the subsequent approval of the Council of General Synod (CoGS), the church’s legislative body, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 14 to 16.
“We spent considerable time scrutinizing the plan for recovery and members of Management Team are confident that it is realistic and something that can be accomplished,” said Management Team in a report to the church’s national office staff in Toronto. “It is not, however, a ‘quick fix’ and the next couple of years are going to require great care in how we allocate resources.”
Last year, CoGS approved a 2008 budget that already projected a net operating loss of $1.3 million. An undesignated bequest of $4 million from the Dashwood estate helped bridge the deficit, the seventh in as many years.
Mr. Blachford told a fall meeting of the Council of the North, a grouping of financially-assisted dioceses and areas from Canada’s North, that while both revenues and expenses “were tracking very much as expected” during the first eight months of the year, things changed considerably with “the current volatility of the world markets.”
Mr. Blachford gave several reasons for the projected deficit for 2008, including:
- declining estimates of proportional giving revenue to General Synod due to the continuing fiscal situations being faced by the dioceses;
- the elimination of projected budget revenues from unsubstantiated undesignated legacies (the finance department used to include in budgets projected income from wills based on average amounts of previous years);
- the initial establishment of a new development office of the Anglican Church of Canada;
- increased depreciation and real estate taxation expenses relating to the church’s national office at 80 Hayden St.; and
- increased costs of undertaking all the missions and programs directed by General Synod and CoGS.
Mr. Blachford assured the Council of the North that, notwithstanding the projected deficits for 2009 and 2010, its annual grant of $2.37 million would remain the same in keeping with General Synod’s decision in 2007 affirming that they “continue at no less than the current level for the next five years.”
The Council of the North includes the Arctic, Athabasca, Brandon, Caledonia, Keewatin, Moosonee, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon, the deanery of Labrador and a group of parishes in the central interior of British Columbia.
With additional reporting by Kelly Fowler, editor of Anglican Messenger, the newspaper of the dioceses of Athabasca and Edmonton.