Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Photo: Art Babych
Staff at the national offices of the Anglican Church in Canada learned more yesterday about the impact of the financial cutbacks and the new look of Church House and its programs.
Although it was announced Oct. 5 that most departments will be affected, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, filled in more of the details of the restructuring that will take effect Nov. 1.
The Partnerships department, from which four staff positions were cut, effectively has been closed. Its work – focused in three program areas – Partners is Mission, EcoJustice and the Anglican Healing Fund — will be partly done in partnership with other churches and overseen by staff in two newly created positions: a co-ordinator of global relations within the Anglican Communion and a co-ordinator of ecumenical interfaith and government relations.
Some of the impacts of the Partnership cut are:
· The International Internship Program for Theological Students will end.
· The Volunteers in Mission program will end.
· Grants to international partners will end.
· Companion dioceses programs will continue although they may be overseen in a different way.
Indigenous Ministries and the Anglican Healing Fund will remain unchanged. “We’ve chosen to invest as much financial resource as we can in healing and reconciliation in Canada in the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] TRC and in working ecumenically with respect to matters of eco-justice, peace and global [issues,” said the primate.
Archbishop Hiltz said global partners understand that the Anglican Church of Canada no longer has the financial resources it once had. “What they’re saying to us is that our partnership is more than the money. ‘It’s your care for us, it’s the relationships, it’s the prayerful support, it’s the solidarity visits that you make. It’s knowing that we’re not standing alone here,’ he said.
He added that advocacy work, speaking out on environmental issues, for example, may be more effective when done ecumenically. “There’s more strength in a collective voice,” he said.
Another casualty of the cuts is the General Synod library. Beginning in 2012, there will no longer be a full-time librarian on staff at Church House. 2011 will be spent determining how best to maintain services, including online databases. These databases archive material such as official statements from the Anglican Church of Canada, resolutions from Lambeth conferences and the Anglican Consultative Council and articles from the Anglican Journal.
In all, 14 positions have been affected by the restructuring. Ten positions were eliminated. In some cases, staff were offered different or new positions; six staff received layoff notices.
The new organizational model looks more like a diocesan structure, said Archbishop Hiltz, adding that his office will oversee departments connected with ministry and mission such as Faith, Worship and Ministry and Indigenous ministries. The general secretary will oversee finance, philanthropy and communications.
“It enables our church to move toward a balanced budget for 2011, and presumably 2012,” said Archbishop Hiltz, noting that the management team does not foresee further layoffs next year. “We think we’ve achieved a structure that reflects a capacity to live within our means and that’s a huge achievement.”
The cuts are the result of a 2009 decision that the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to eliminate deficit budgeting by 2012. Deficits have been reduced each year since. The amount left to be cut from the 2011 was expected to be $1.1 million, but information on the actual amount is not yet available. The draft budget is subject to approval by the Financial Management Committee and the Council of General Synod (CoGS).
Archbishop Hiltz noted that 80 to 84 per cent of General Synod revenue depends on contributions from dioceses. These contributions have been declining at a rate of about three per cent per year since 1992.
Over the last three years, 23 staff members have been laid off. The next year will be used as a transitional year to evaluate the restructuring.