THE Synod approved the Archbishops' Council's Draft Budget and
Proposals for Apportionment for 2014 on Monday afternoon.
Andrew Britton, who chairs the Archbishops'
Council's Finance Committee, began his last budget speech to the
Synod by acknowledging that the past six years had been a "very
difficult time for parishes, dioceses, and the national church
"As a Church, we have shared the pain suffered by the national
and global economy since the onset of the financial crisis, and in
the subsequent recession," he said. However: "the Church has come
through that period better than many other organisations, and
rather better than was feared five years or so ago."
He said that there was "an urgent need to appeal to our
membership, especially to the new members of growing churches, to
support the many new activities being undertaken in parishes".
The Revd Christopher Hobbs (London) was
concerned about the reduction in the planned contribution to
Churches Together in England; and questioned whether the reduction
of funding for Fresh Expressions, from £100,000 per year to £40,000
per year, would be enough.
Sister Anne Williams CA (Durham) welcomed
funding for lay training, and suggested that work could be done to
help people to discover their talents. She also called for support
for the Church of England's uniformed youth organisations, saying
that "the Church Lads' and Girls' Brigades bring lots of children
into the church, but also their parents."
Canon Peter Spiers (Liverpool) said that a
glass door had been installed in his church so it looked open. "One
of the unintended consequences is that when we are preaching, we
look out and see lots of people, and realise that, for many people,
we are irrelevant."
He questioned the reduction in funding for Fresh Expressions.
"For every one person involved in Fresh Expressions, another four
come along. . . We should be investing in Fresh Expressions, and
not putting the majority of our resources into traditional
expressions of church."
Julie Dziegiel (Oxford) said: "The most
effective way of promoting stewardship is to tell the congregation
what the money is spent on; not during the annual meeting, but in
services where the message can be reinforced by the preacher."
Tim Hind (Bath & Wells) suggested that the
Church had been "bounced into" having a mission-agency pensions
fund. The Church ought to support the agency by giving it a grant;
pension funds should be supported by the "responsible
Peter Bruinvels (Guildford) spoke as a Church
Commissioner. He wanted to praise both the education department and
legal department, and suggest that their allocations were
insufficient. With regard to the latter, he reminded the Synod of
safeguarding incidents, and the "substantial number of potential
claims", along with clergy-discipline claims: "Any of these cases
could cost at least £500,000."
The Revd John Dunnett (Chelmsford) spoke to
counter Mr Hind's comment about funding the mission-agency pensions
fund. First, there was "something symbolic" about this support,
reminding the Church of its "ties". Second, it enabled clergy to
move from parish posts to mission agencies with "relative ease".
Third, it was a "very effective multiplier", encouraging others to
add to what was given by the Church. He also wanted to suggest that
the mission agencies were "responsible employers".
Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield) was grateful for
the increase in the grant to the Anglican Communion Office, which,
she said, was "very much appreciated". "The work of the Anglican
Communion relies on contributions from provinces and Churches
across the world," she said. "The Church of England is the largest
contributor. . . There are parts of the world where contributing
anything at all is impossible."
The Revd Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich) echoed
the thanks given to Andrew Britton and the Archbishops' Council for
the money designated towards youth evangelism.
Joy Gilliver (Chichester) was pleased with the
focus on discipleship and lay ministry, and wanted to know whether
the extension of common awards in the training of Readers and
clergy in CME 4-7 would be voluntary, as this training was funded
by the dioceses rather than nationally.
Linda Ali (York) thanked the Synod and the
Archbishops' Council for building work with black-majority churches
into the budget; as well as work to extend vocations among
minority-ethnic people. But she expressed a cautious note about the
work of the mission agencies. Mrs Ali formerly chaired USPG (now
called Us); and said that the "work of mission agencies has fallen
off the agenda of parish churches. We need to ensure that we don't
sideline mission agencies, whose work is vital these days."
The Synod approved £13,066,150 for training for ministry;
£10,088,945 for national support; £1,269,161 for grants and
provisions; £739,500 for mission agencies' clergy-pension
contributions; and £3,953,896 for the CHARM scheme.
The proposals for apportionment to the dioceses were also
A PRESENTATION on the Church Commissioners' annual report followed
on Monday evening.
The First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas
Whittam Smith, confirmed that the Commissioners' fund was valued at
£5.5 billion at the end of last year. This was despite its having
always been assumed that the absolute requirement to meet pensions
would mean that the size of the fund would decline over time. The
target was inflation plus five percentage points.
There was a risk of complacency, but, he said, "We just have to
do the work to create real growth." Two themes were becoming more
important: financing and participating in research into church
growth, and "trying to become more intentional in the way that our
distributions are made".
The Commissioners were spending £300,000 on inquiries into
church growth, and had just finished a programme of giving grants
to churches in deprived areas, which were doing "extremely well".
Another new initiative was joining a consortium bidding for more
than 300 branches of RBS. This would mean a five-per-cent market
share of the SME market, and a two-per-cent share of UK personal
Two American firms were leading the consortium, and the other
investors were Standard Life and Rothschild Investment Trust. If
successful, the aim was the establishment of a strong regional bank
that would trade as Williams & Glyns.
The aim was twofold: to make a good investment, and to make a
good bank. At the moment, they were involved in an "enormous
programme of due diligence", including looking into IT systems,
which were "notoriously poor" at RBS. Until the end of May, the
fund was 12.7 per cent ahead: it was going to be "quite a good
year". But the risk of the eurozone's breaking up, and the
dangerous situation in the Middle East remained.
Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) asked whether
the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) would be publishing
its review on climate change and would pay specific attention to
concerns about oil and gas.
Mr Whittam Smith said: "I would think so." The relationship with
the EIAG was "getting better and better".
Tim Hind (Bath & Wells) requested a comment
on the implementation of the Living Wage, and what impact that
might have on jobs.
Mr Whittam Smith said that the Commissioners were committed to
the Living Wage, but that there were "quite a few special
difficulties". For example, the Hyde Park estate employed many
porters and gardeners. What they were paid was fixed in the terms
of the lease with tenants, and could not be loaded on to tenants;
so the Church would have to pick it up separately. This would be
The Revd Dr Patrick Richmond (Norwich) observed
that 40 per cent of stipendiary clergy were due to retire this
decade. Could the pension fund cope with this? Mr Whittam Smith
said that the clergy pension scheme was "very, very well
Penelope Allen (Lichfield) asked would the
Commissioners assure her that they would not invest in future? Mr
Whittam Smith could not give this assurance. There were two
approaches that could be taken to firms engaged in "activities
which can be disapproved of": refusing to address, or entering into
Paul Hancock (Liverpool) asked about the level
of the commitment to the RBS consortium.
Mr Whittam Smith explained that RBS had been ordered to sell the
branches by the EU as part of the understanding of the British
Government when it poured £14 billion into RBS. In terms of the
Commissioners' investment, the "lot size" was "within our normal
boundaries", and they hoped to own shares for a "long time".
The Archdeacon of Nottingham, the Ven. Peter
Hill (Southwell & Nottingham), asked whether there could be
more money for churches in deprived areas, and if so, when?
Mr Whittam Smith hoped that there would be more.
Paul Neville (Wakefield) asked for assurance
that the Commissioners would support churches undertaking essential
repairs. Mr Whittam Smith confirmed that this would be the case
under the chancel-repair scheme.
Sally Muggeridge (Canterbury) asked whether the
Commissioners could consider keeping open some of the churches in
the process of closing. Mr Whittam Smith said that the number of
churches being made redundant was small, 17 a year. He said: "You
could make an argument to say it could be more. Not all are in the
right places, and there are other ways of doing church."