On Nov. 17, at its fall meeting in Mississauga, Ont., the Council of General Synod (CoGS) approved the 2013 budget for General Synod. The 2013 budget is being viewed as “transitional” with a commitment to forge a more conservative budget and a fiscally sound expenditure plan for 2014.
The 2013 budget forecasts revenues of $11.59 million and expenditures of $12.82 million. Adjustments to revenue and expenses totaling $712,000 reduced the deficit from $1.12 million to $513,000.
With the approval of the board of directors of the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Canada-a group composed of CoGS members-unrestricted funds will be used to bridge this deficit.
It was also agreed that reserve funds from 2012 Sacred Circle would be used to relieve an anticipated 2012 deficit of $288,000.
In 2008, CoGS passed a resolution to eliminate deficit budgeting by 2012. Costs were reduced in 2010 through a restructuring that included layoffs, cuts to grants and ministry work, the closure of the library and reduced travel and meetings.
A return to deficit budgeting arrived sooner than expected, however, said the financial management committee (FMC) in its written report to CoGS. By the third quarter of 2011, revenues did not reach their projected levels, and $400,000 from an undesignated legacy of $2 million was used to finance the gap. The year ended with a deficit of $65,000.
At last year’s fall meeting, CoGS approved a balanced budget for 2012 and a balanced budget was forecast for 2013, with “no further staffing cuts” before 2016.
In its written report to CoGS, however, the FMC noted that “revenues have been declining more rapidly than expected” and as a result, anticipated deficits for 2013 and beyond “have materialized much earlier than expected.”
Many factors account for the drop in revenues, including a decline in diocesan contributions. Some 70 per cent of total budgeted revenues come from diocesan proportional giving and it is anticipated that by year-end, there will be a shortfall of $100,000.
In addition, anticipated revenue from Resources for Mission (RFM) are under budget by $379,000, and it is anticipated that it will take at least two to five years for the diocesan-based national stewardship campaign “Together in Mission” to yield significant revenues.
And while revenue from the annual Anglican Appeal is still higher than what was received in 2011, it is less than what was anticipated. A shortfall of $288,000 is expected by year-end.
The report also noted that revenue from the Anglican Journal is under budget by $260,000, primarily due to a shortfall in advertising.
Given 2011 performance and outlook on 2012, revenues for Resources for Mission and the Anglican Journal are “extremely conservative” in the 2013 budget, said the FMC.
The FMC has stressed the need for General Synod to work through an “intensive consultation process” within the next eight months “to determine the appropriate structures that will support balanced and sustainable budgets beyond 2013.”
The meetings leading up to a decision at the 2013 Joint Assembly in Ottawa include the national consultation on restructuring to be convened in January by the primate, and the spring meeting of CoGS.