THE Archbishops’ Council’s draft budget and proposals for apportionment for 2011 were approved on Saturday evening.
Introducing the debate, Andrew Britton (Archbishops’ Council), who chairs the Finance Committee, said that he had presented the 2011-15 financial strategy last July when the Church was feeling the effects of the economic crisis. The 2011 budget was the first to implement this strategy for limiting the financial demands on the dioceses and parishes.
Increases were proposed in each of the five votes, in much the same shape as proposed last year: significant increases for Votes 1 and 5, and severe restraint on Vote 2. Mr Britton welcomed the news that the Pensions Board had entered into a loan arrangement with the Santander Bank to provide ongoing finance for the CHARM scheme (clergy retirement housing).
Robin Stevens (Chelmsford) paid tribute to the work of the National Stewardship Officer, Dr John Preston. He hoped that Synod members and others would give in a generous way to God’s mission.
Peter Bruinvels (Guildford) said that the proposed cuts to the Education Division were “extremely disappointing”. He also criticised the £10,000 cut to the Legal Division.
The Bishop of Dudley, the Rt Revd David Walker (Southern Suffragans), said that the Santander money would keep things going for about three years. Capital receipts would accrue to the Pensions Board: he hoped that the profits from selling houses would eventually reduce the amount of money needed elsewhere. Going in with a private lender meant costs going up in the early years.
Lucy Docherty (Portsmouth) expressed concern about a proposal to change the way that support for hospital chaplaincy and liturgy were delivered. The work of chaplains looked to be squeezed by both the NHS and the Church.
The Synod took note of the report.
It went on to debate Vote 1, £12,065,500 for training for the ministry.
Bill Nicholls (Lichfield) expressed surprise that the cost of clergy training was projected to go up from £10 million in 2007 to £12 million in 2011. He had expected the figure to go down.
Mr Britton responded that he hoped for a clear lead from dioceses on the number of clergy in their plans in the medium term. He did not want there to be more people training than dioceses could employ. One factor was a shift from course to college training, which was more expensive.
The vote was carried.
The Synod then debated Vote 2, £10,140,735 for the work of the Council generally.
Canon Carl Turner (Exeter) expressed disappointment that the National Worship Development Officer was not being replaced.
Mark Russell (Archbishops’ Council) praised the hard work of the staff of the Church, who served with a real sense of vocation.
Vote 2 was carried, as were: Vote 3, £1,554,700 for grants and provision; Vote 4, £847,250 for inter-diocesan support and mission agencies’ pension contributions; and Vote 5, £3,415,550 for the CHARM scheme.
The Synod then voted to approve the apportionment to the dioceses set out in the table in GS 1781.