A new funding formula is a “major step” forward, says Archbishop David Ashdown, metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land. Photo: Art Babych
The Council of the North has unanimously approved a new formula for allocating grants from General Synod that support its member dioceses. These dioceses minister to Anglicans in Canada’s remote and isolated areas.
This constitutes “a major step” forward, says its chair, Archbishop David Ashdown, who is also diocesan bishop of Keewatin and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land. “It’s something we’ve been wrestling with for over 20 years to try to find a method that is equitable, transparent, accountable and realistic,” said Ashdown in an interview.
The Council’s grants committee, chaired by Bishop Fraser Lawton (diocese of Athabasca), presented the new formula at the spring meeting on April 20 to 21.
The Council includes bishops from the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior and the dioceses of the Arctic, Athabasca, Brandon, Caledonia, Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Keewatin, Moosonee, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. It also includes the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.
Under the new formula, dioceses will apply to the grants committee which will be responsible for reviewing the applications and making recommendations to the Council. Final approval rests with the Council and all approved applications will be required to submit an annual accountability report.
“If you don’t, you don’t get the grant for the next year,” says Ashdown. The new formula will apply to grants that would be disbursed from 2013 to 2015.
Previously, grants were allocated based on such factors as the number of clergy positions and the funds needed to support them. “There wasn’t enough money to go around to cover everybody, so we had more non-stipendiary positions,” explains Ashdown, adding that the new process has a “higher degree of accountability.”
In 2012, General Synod provided the Council with a grant of $2.26 million. During its fall meeting, the Council of General Synod (CoGS) approved a proposal from the Council that its grants be reduced by five per cent per year, with a review after three years, in light of the church’s budget constraints.
Meanwhile, Council bishops also approved Ashdown’s recommendation to choose the group’s next chair at its meeting this fall instead of next spring. Ashdown noted that while his six-year term would end at General Synod in July 2013, it would be good for the new chair to have a transition period by starting in January 2013.