I feel as someone who lives and ‘ministers’ in the Diocese of Winchester that I need to make some record that, thanks to the Church Times blog (subscribers only I think) I am now aware what form of response my Diocese is making to the fact that it couldn’t meet its budget.
I’m not particularly well informed about this as I’m not on any relevant committee, but I knew we were more than a £1m in the red, and was aware from a collegue in training that there were significant reductions to facilities at our Diocesan centre at Old Alresford Place. From somewhere, and I really can’t remember where, I believe that the cuts came about because the Deaneries were permitted not to meet their parish share this year if they couldn’t afford to, or something like that.
The Church Times Blog reads:
The Diocese of Winchester is proposing huge budget cuts for 2010, which would include cutting their university chaplains, Diocesan newspaper, Comms Officer, Canon Missioner, a Schools Advisor, the number of clergy, and much more besides.
The cuts, which are to be voted on on 28 November, amount to a total £1million saving from an original budget presented in May.
There has been a strong reaction from students at the University of Southampton to the news that they could be losing their chaplain [details include a website petition, facebook group, and protest at Winchester Cathedral]…
Cribbing from the rest of the CT article:
The proposed cuts are variously listed but include (and this is I admit a rather personal list reflecting my own training and interests)
- The Communications Officer and the Diocesan Newsletter ‘The Vine’
- The chaplains threatened include the chaplain to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (currently an excellent chap who I had the privilege of learning from during Reader Training)
- All residential courses at Old Alresford Place (presumably that means my CMD on ‘storytelling’ booked for spring 2010 is about to vanish) where the staff have already been made redundant (which confirms the story of a collegue training the year behind me who discovered at her last residential that Ministry Dept staff had to try and work the heating, and do the catering for the w/e)
- Mission grants to parishes (presumably these support bright ideas in ordinary parishes who want to extend the Kingdom of God!)
Some people I know may lose their jobs, others I know have to make the decisions that will cut those jobs and ministries they have encouraged and facilitated. And, all because it would appear from what I know that Deaneries were quite fairly asked to only contribute to the Diocese what they could afford (I hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong).
I can’t help wondering, if perhaps those of us ordinary folk in pews who contribute to the active ministry of the church, with and without formal training, without financial remuneration, may become just a little more valuable (in a non-financial sense) in the months and years to come, even though we must take our share of the results of budget cuts and try and understand the necessity for them along with everyone else.
I shall be praying for what I assume is our Diocesan Synod meeting on Saturday.