THE chair of the Representative Body, James Turner (ex officio), gave a presentation on the financial affairs of the Church.
In 2018, the RB’s stock exchange investments made net losses of £26 million, during a turbulent year for the markets, Mr Turner said. This meant that the overall value of its funds had fallen by £11 million. “On a relative basis, we have performed better than the comparators we use,” he said.
The board was given the task of balancing expenditure commitments with providing additional funding for certain areas, while protecting the investment capital base and endowment fund, he said. This was complicated by the likelihood of lower investment returns in the future.
The funding arrangements for cathedrals had been discussed at the RB’s meeting in June, and a review of their running would now be undertaken, Mr Turner said.
Sir Paul Silk, deputy chairman of the RB, spoke about funding for church activities. He said that he was well aware of how block grants were needed to keep dioceses running: the RB still provided up to one third of the money to keep the Church going.
“Financial support ensures that the Church runs smoothly.”
There was more to support than finance, he argued, though the RB had tried to make life easier for churches in various ways: examples included the online faculty system and the allocation of resources to new websites.
Funding for evangelism would be considered further after a meeting of the evangelism committee in October, he said.
The Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Revd Joanna Penberthy, said that the ethical investment board had decided that engagement with fossil-fuel companies — rather than disinvestment — was the best policy.
“Even the best company is not pursuing the best policy,” she said. She would therefore advise the investment committee to disinvest from fossil-fuel companies. This would go to the trustees now.