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Communion seeks clarity over ‘can’t pay’ and ‘won’t’  

15 April 2016

Anglican Archives

The secretary general of the ACC, Dr Idowu Fearon, and its chairman, Dr James Tengatenga

The secretary general of the ACC, Dr Idowu Fearon, and its chairman, Dr James Tengatenga

A LACK of contributions to the work of the Anglican Communion is, in part, attributable to a suggestion by GAFCON that Provinces redirect their giving to its work, the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said this week.

Four Provinces (Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and West Africa) have made no contribution since 2012; another ten last made payments in the years between 2011 and 2014. Nigeria last paid in 2011 (£10,000).

Dr Idowu-Fearon attributed part of the blame for this to GAFCON’s 2013 Nairobi Statement, which encouraged provinces not to support the Anglican Communion Office. It reads: “We must invite provinces, dioceses, mission agencies, local congregations and individuals formally to become contributing members of [GAFCON]. In particular, we counsel provinces to reconsider their support for those Anglican structures that are used to undermine Biblical faithfulness, and contribute instead or additionally to the support of GAFCON’s ongoing needs.”

Idowu-Fearon said that a significant amount of the funds expended from the Communion’s personal-emergencies fund supported the needs of church leaders from those Provinces that had made no contributions.

The Anglican Communion Office calculates both “anticipated” and “recommended” contributions. It confirmed on Wednesday that, although the US Episcopal Church’s 2015 donation of £221,000 was just 39 per cent of the recommended figure, it was close to the anticipated figure. For several years, very few Provinces had contributed the recommended figure. The Episcopal Church plans to increase its contribution by 22 per cent in 2016.

More than 60 per cent of the Anglican Communion Office’s budget — £2 million — is derived from inter-Anglican budget contributions made voluntarily by individual Provinces. Assessments about the contributions expected from Provinces are made by the ACC’s standing committee, based on the size of church membership and the relative GDP of nations.

In a subsequent discussion, delegates from several smaller Provinces spoke to the assembly about the deep financial challenges they faced, and their willingness to contribute toward the Communion’s work if funds became available.

The Archbishop of Canterbury agreed with a recommendation offered by the Primate of All Ireland, Dr Richard Clarke, that any attempt to address this issue should make a clear distinction between Provinces that could not pay and those that would not pay.

On Wednesday, the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Bol Deng, said that the delegation had been embarrassed to learn that they had not made a contribution in five years. To applause, he announced that a contribution of $4000 would be sent. The Province had been asked to give £4923.

Additional reporting by Mark Michael.

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