The diocese of New Westminster has decided to draw from a reserve fund to make up for the budget shortfall caused by an ongoing protest at eight parishes opposed to same-sex blessings.
Delegates to a special synod held Jan. 18 in Vancouver approved a proposal that a projected deficit of $395,000 over the next five years be offset by dipping into the Diocesan Growth Fund. That fund, which usually receives about $200,000 per year from parishes, helps develop new ministry and aids struggling parishes.
Should the eight parishes reconcile with the diocese, the budget situation would improve once they resumed paying their apportionments to the diocese, noted business manager Mike Wellwood in an interview.
The parishes suspended their diocesan payments – which amount to 19 per cent of total parish assessments of $1.54 million – after New Westminster’s synod last June approved the offering of blessings to homosexual couples.
The parishes had sent their diocesan payments directly to the church’s national office in Toronto, but, at the request of the diocese, General Synod has not cashed the cheques, saying it would set a bad precedent of a special relationship between individual parish churches and the national office. The special synod defeated a motion that would have approved the remittance of parish apportionments to the national office.