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How many other dioceses are sustainable?

19 July 2013


Sir, - Having readthe reports about the diocesan reorganisation under way in Yorkshire (News and General Synod, 12 July), I am left wondering about the health of supposedly prosperous dioceses down south.

Oxford, where I am, has a large central staff with many depart-ments, 600 stipendiary clergy, four bishops,and four archdeacons. Yet reports from our deanery synod tell us that the diocesewas presented with a £900,000parish-share shortfall lastyear, and has to borrow from the bank to pay the monthlystipend bill.

Nearly half of the parishes in our deanery are defaultingon their parish share at present. Indeed, this deanery as a whole presented a hugedefault in itssharepayment last year, and yet this is barely acknowledged or discussed.

I know fromfriends in two of our neighbouring deaneries that a similar picture is unfolding there. I cannot help but feel that we are sailing on towards oblivion, while the captain and his officers fail to take the necessary decisions.

Is this a common picture across other dioceses?

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