New Westminster has cut contributions to General Synod in the wake of a shortfall of funds caused by the refusal of eight parishes to contribute to the diocese, says diocesan business administrator Mike Wellwood.
The parishes object to a diocesan decision last June to offer blessing to same-sex couples.
Mr. Wellwood said there will probably be a special synod in January to discuss finances.
The eight parishes are withholding about $27,000 a month from the diocese, which usually remits 26 per cent of its parish revenue to General Synod, Mr. Wellwood said.
The eight parishes ?really want to support the work of the national church, such as Council of the North, but there is a crisis situation in our diocese,? said Rev. Ed Hird, rector of St. Simon?s, North Vancouver, one of the dissenting parishes.
?The idea is to express our dissent and protest at the decision of the synod to approve same-sex blessing,? said Rev. Timothy Cooke, record of St. Martin?s, North Vancouver, another of the eight parishes.
The eight dissenting parishes sent part of their diocesan assessments directly to General Synod, but Bishop Michael Ingham, asked General Synod not to deposit the money ? about $10,000. General Synod treasurer Jim Cullen said he is holding the cheques ?until we sort this out.?
Diocesan chancellor George Cadman told the diocesan governing body at a meeting in early September that allowing parishes to give directly to the national church would set ?a very dangerous precedent.?
New Westminster also decided to save about $32,000 a year by not replacing a half-time chaplain at Vancouver General Hospital who retired, said Mr. Wellwood.
New Westminster is cutting its contribution to General Synod by $86,000 a year, he said. In 2001, New Westminster sent $656,000 to General Synod.
General Synod treasurer Jim Cullen said budget cuts due to the New Westminster action are not planned.
The eight parishes represent 20 per cent of New Westminster?s $1.5 million annual income from parish assessments. Last year, the diocese, which has 80 parishes, had total income of about $2.3 million from parish assessments, fundraising campaigns and investments, Mr. Wellwood said. He estimated a deficit this year of $110,000 to $120,000. Last year, there was a surplus of about $2,000.