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DIOCESAN DEVELOPMENTS GIVEN THE “GO-AHEAD”

Members of Bishop’s Council meeting in London have agreed a new financial plan which will strengthen some major functions of the diocese and pave the way for the recruitment of two more full-time paid Archdeacons over the next three years.

In the initial debate on Thursday 19 October Bishop Robert explained that the current year’s budget relied on using some historic financial reserves but that could not continue indefinitely. To function efficiently in future, he said, we need three full-time paid Archdeacons, rather than relying on busy parochial clergy who functioned as Archdeacons in addition to leading churches. The Archdeacons of North-West Europe and of France gave accounts of the pressures they face in practice.

At present there is one full-time paid Archdeacon who oversees the Archdeaconries of the East and of Germany and Northern Europe. 

Michael Hart, Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance spoke about the priorities for the future and Mike Fegan, the Interim Diocesan Secretary explained in detail the financial plan for the future.

As well as plans for the two new full-time archdeacons the new budget allows for an increase in staffing and support for safeguarding (which is essential to the smooth and safe management of churches) and a new structure to develop Diocesan Communications from the end of the year.

Bishop’s Council members acknowledged the impact of the budget on churches who each contribute to diocesan costs through what is known as “Common Fund” (similar to what UK based parishes pay in “Diocesan Share” payments). They agreed a phased increase from the present 5% of a church’s annual income to 10% over the next three years.

Bishop Robert welcomed the decision to be able to equip the diocese to develop its ministry and mission in the next few years. He is to prepare a video message to explain to congregations and church members about the opportunities of the new budget and the effect of increased Common Fund contributions. The message is also to be taken to each Archdeaconry in a series of “Diocesan Development Roadshows”.

(Pictured below - Michael Hart, Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance with Mike Fegan, the Interim Diocesan Secretary )