EVANGELICALS in Southwark diocese published details this week of an “alternative funding mechanism” for “orthodox” churches, which will be launched in June.
Details of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust were published on the Anglican Mainstream website on Wednesday. It says that the response of the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, to a meeting of about 100 Evangelical clergy and laypeople last month (News, 5 April) had been “unsatisfactory”. It continues: “As a result, the Southwark Good Stewards Trust has been established, to provide an alternative funding mechanism for churches within the diocese of Southwark, so that orthodox ministry and mission can be preserved and can flourish.”
It says that joining the Trust would not mean withdrawing from diocesan structures, and that churches that join would still be “fully paid up members of the Diocese”. It continues: “The difference the Trust brings is that it is seeking to promote orthodoxy, rather than subsidise revisionism. The Trust hopes that surplus funds will, in time, be used to support orthodox ministry in churches that would otherwise close.”
It is understood that churches that join the Trust would continue to pay costs to the diocese, such as the stipend, pension contributions, and housing contributions. Excess money, however, could be paid into the Trust, which would support churches that the trustees consider to be orthodox.
A condition of receiving funding would be to affirm the Jerusalem Declaration; applicants do not, however, need to be members of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, or to be Evangelical.
The statement insists that the Trust is not “separatist” (News, 27 April). “Separatism would be capping quota and paying nothing towards other churches, or paying only for Evangelical churches. The Trust seeks to support any orthodox parish church of the diocese.”