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Making every possible effort

by Michael Ford last modified 25 Jun, 2021 02:37 AM

Introducing the Annual Report and Accounts to Diocesan Synod, the Chairman of our Diocesan Board of Finance said they told the story of a year which was a hugely challenging across the world and that "the size of our deficit, in a year when we had planned for a reduction, makes for sobering reading".

Nigel Salisbury warned Synod members, who were attending the June Synod via Zoom, that we are not out of the woods financially:

"As we approach the half-way point of 2021, I need to be clear that we have a hard road ahead of us and - you know this as well as I in the context of your own parishes - 2021 is going to be every bit as difficult as 2020."

But thanking the parishes for all they had done and were continuing to do, he said it was not all bad news:

"In the circumstances I think we can be proud of just what was achieved in this Diocese as referenced in the report.

"Our financial position was not as bad at year end as at one time we thought it might be.

"I think it’s also fair to say that we are probably in no worse or different a position from most other dioceses, many other not for profit and commercial organisations, or indeed the country itself."

He added that he could give reassurance that "many of the building blocks to achieve a sustainable balanced budget for the future are already in place".

However, this would be reliant on matching if no surpassing the levels of parish share payments made before the pandemic. Parish Share pays for and supports our clergy. It is essential to cover that cost for the sake of our churches.

Nigel told Synod:

"It’s not a matter of the parishes and the Diocese having separate destinies – our fortunes are inextricably linked, as part of one Body and one Church.

"Last year we said to parishes “pay what you can and don’t worry too much about what you can’t.

"This year we are asking parishes to make every possible effort to pay share, so that we in turn can continue to fund parish stipendiary clergy and support at broadly similar levels to the recent past.

"Otherwise, we are faced with a very different future in terms of clergy deployment – some dioceses are already following that route with substantial reductions.

"We have been at pains to avoid making radical cuts but what happens now depends so much upon continued parish support."

The chairman summed up his introduction with a prayerful appeal:

"By the grace of God, we will overcome the current challenges, looking back in due course perhaps with gratitude that the difficulties of this period have forced us to work together and adapt, in a way that may not have happened otherwise."

A presentation and summary of the 2020 Accounts followed the Chairman’s introduction - the script is available here, and slides here.

You can also read the Chairman’s introduction in full here.

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