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Budget pain to be shared across Synod

Synod General Secretary Rev Douglas Jones. Photo by Osker Lau
THE COUNCIL of Synod meeting on 16 August approved a framework for the 2009 Mission and Service Fund Budget in line with the new, lower, level of income available to the Synod.

The challenge of trying to achieve the targeted 20% reduction (approximately $2 million) in expenditure for that budget proved to be extremely difficult.

Over the past three months, all cost centres within the Synod and all Presbyteries were asked to reduce expenditure, wherever possible, for 2008.

That resulted in projected savings in the order of $665,000 in the 2008 Mission and Service Fund Budget.

At the same time, the Synod Leadership Team examined a number of scenarios in seeking to achieve a 20% reduction in the 2009 Mission and Service Fund Budget.

That was a difficult exercise given the sheer size of the required reduction.

In the process, the Synod Leadership Team identified the core responsibilities of the Synod that need to be resourced out of the Mission and Service Fund, and sought to honour the various commitments that have been made by the Synod in recent years.

It was also mindful of the Synod’s Intentional Missional Strategy, a Future with Heart and Soul, and the commitments made in the Vision for Mission.

In the end, it was simply not possible to maintain the current approach to resourcing the Synod’s ministry and mission, and the necessity of reducing expenditure across the board was accepted.

As a consequence, the impact on individual roles and jobs within the Synod will be considerable.

The end result will be that, over the coming sixteen months, a number of positions will cease to exist, particularly in Synod Support Services (YACMU, Mission Consultants and the Justice and International Mission Advocate).

There will also be a reduction in funds available to remaining Synod cost centres and Presbyteries.

With a significant diminution of resource people available in Synod Support Services, the challenge for the whole Church will be to find ways to pursue its ministry and mission outcomes in fresh and creative ways.

As a pilgrim people always on the way towards a promised goal, I am confident that we will continue to be a hopeful people, seeking the city that is to come.

I am also confident that Christ will, in his own strange way, continue to constitute, rule and renew us as his Church.

I would encourage every member of the Church to earnestly pray for the Synod staff and for the whole Church that, together, we might continue to be faithful disciples of a crucified Lord who calls us into the fellowship of his sufferings.

Photo : Synod General Secretary Rev Douglas Jones. Photo by Osker Lau