General Synod has set a budget of $9 million for 1998 – a figure representing an increase of less than one per cent over last year, according to synod treasurer Jim Cullen.
The budget consists of two sections – a voluntary apportionment and a mandatory assessment, which finances the administration of the church, including the primate’s office, archives and national meetings.
Seven dioceses gave more than asked for under last year’s apportionment, while the church’s three major fundraising appeals were hit hard by the postal strike, federal government spending cuts and the forces of nature.
Also affected by the postal strike was the Anglican Journal appeal, which raised $177,000 – well short of its $230,000 target, said the paper’s business manager, Larry Gee.
In his report to the Journal’s advisory board, Mr. Gee also pointed out that the Diocese of Toronto bumped the appeal from September to November, the month after its own diocesan paper’s appeal. The diocese’s decision was largely a result of problems in its own fundraising campaign, FaithWorks, which only achieved half of its $1.3-million target.
Another factor was a decision of the Diocese of New Westminster to permit the Journal appeal to be mailed only to previous donors. Bishop Michael Ingham cited diocesan appeals and concern over the editorial direction of the Journal as factors in the decision.
Mr. Gee said the appeal will be an annual event. “I can’t see how we are going to get around it. It has become … part of our budget.”
Anglican Appeal, which helps fund mission work throughout the Anglican Communion, raised about $510,990 in 1997, down from the 1996 total of $587,089. Co-ordinator Gail Holland said a shortfall was expected. “The total is down from last year, but we expected it would be much lower than it was,” she said.
Spring appeals were launched, she explained, just as widespread flooding hit areas of Quebec, Winnipeg and the Peace River – “so those areas ended up getting the lions’ share of donations.” The fall launch felt the postal strike. “In spite of all those obstacles,” Ms. Holland said, “I don’t think we did too badly under the circumstances.”
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund brought in $2.7 million in donations, an increase from $2.5 million raised in 1996. This eight-per-cent increase helped offset an eight-per-cent decrease in Federal government funding, said the fund’s director, Robin Gibson.
“We are grateful for the increased giving, especially when the government is cutting back,” said Mr. Gibson. “The bottom line is we aren’t much further ahead. We are looking at 1998 as the last major cut in federal funding.”
The fund supports relief and development projects around the world, as well as in Canada. In 1997, more than $104,000 in donations from Canadian Anglicans were earmarked for Winnipeg flood relief.
Nancy Devine is a freelance writer living in Aurora, Ont.