The 2004 budget for the national church, called General Synod, has been reduced by $307,000 to avoid a deficit due to lower-than-expected donations resulting from debates on the issues of same-sex blessings and payments to the residential schools settlement fund.
“The cuts will make the budget balanced,” said General Secretary Jim Boyles. “No surplus is anticipated.”
He assured that “there won’t be any major staff reductions but perhaps some adjustment of tasks” at the office of the national church in Toronto as a result of the reduced budget.
The officers of General Synod approved the new, scaled-down budget of $10.4 million (down from an earlier $10.7 million), which was recommended in late April by the national office’s management team and a budget review task force created by the Council of General Synod. The cuts should prevent a projected deficit of $241,592.
All departments at General Synod, the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada, are affected by the cuts. The primate’s office had its $394,790 budget reduced by $100,000, due to the retirement of former primate Archbishop Michael Peers and the resignation of his principal secretary, Rev. Michael Thompson, this month.
Partnerships, which received the largest disbursement ($3 million), took a $59,000 cut. Reductions were made to international projects, meetings, and invitations to international partners. The partnerships department includes the program areas of indigenous ministries, justice and healing, eco-justice, and partners in mission.
The Council of the North, a grouping of financially-supported dioceses which was allocated $2.5 million – the second largest budget item – will be spared any cuts. “It’s very difficult to reduce budgets on short notice,” explained Archdeacon Boyles in an interview. “It would also affect the stipend of clergy and support for the Council. It was pointed out that salaries in the north continue to lag behind salaries of the south.”
Other reductions include:
* $43,000 from the $1,315,661 budget of the communications and information resources department (which includes Anglican Journal). Among the areas cut were the Journal board, which will meet by teleconference for its fall meeting; MinistryMatters magazine will also reduce its size this fall.
* $20,000 from the financial development budget of $289,570, made possible by not filling a vacancy.
* $49,000 from the financial management budget of $1,752,591, which will include cuts in administration and expenses.
The new budget “will enable us to continue the work that General Synod has been doing but reduces its effectiveness and leaves very little flexibility in responding to new requests,” said Archdeacon Boyles.
In explaining the cause of the deficit, Archdeacon Boyles told the Council of General Synod meeting last March that donations to the Anglican Appeal had “dropped off significantly” due to payments to the settlement fund and the debate over same-sex blessings. Final figures for the 2003 Anglican Appeal showed a 7.5 per cent drop in donations – $731,832, from $790,885 in 2002.
In August, management team will begin working on the 2005 budget, which is expected to incur a deficit of $754,000.