TORONTO, Monday, August 14, 2000 -- The Anglican Church will cut more than half a million dollars in grants to support ministry in Canada's north and overseas, and eliminate eight full time positions at its national office.
At the same time, grants available from the church's Healing and Reconciliation Fund, supporting work with Indigenous peoples, will double.
The reductions, amounting to about 11 percent of the church's $10.9 million national budget, respond to continuing financial pressure from the cost of litigation related to residential schools.
The impact of the reductions will be felt around the world. Grants to support ministry across Canada's north will decline by about $125,000 in 2000, with a further $130,000 reduction recommended for 2001. Similar grants to programs in the Third World will decline by almost $400,000.
"With these reductions we will balance our operating expenditures in the current year," said Archdeacon Jim Boyles, the church's general secretary, "but our assets will continue to be depleted to pay for our litigation costs."
The church's General Synod (its national structure) and eight of its 30 independent dioceses, or regions, are named in about 350 suits for cultural, physical and sexual abuse at the schools. In some cases the church is named directly, in others it has been brought into the suit as a third party by the Government of Canada, which is also being sued.
The residential schools operated into the 1980s under government control. Churches, including the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Churches, participated in operating the schools until 1969.
Archdeacon Boyles said the church is continuing to urge the Government of Canada to stop pursuing lawsuits as its primary response to the more than 7,000 individuals who are seeking compensation. "We agree with the Law Commission of Canada that a redress mechanism would offer a better means of meeting the needs of people who were harmed in the schools," he said.
"We have told the government that we could make a substantial commitment, both financially and in other ways, to support such a redress program". There has been no response from government, he said".
The church committed itself to a new relationship with Indigenous people in 1969, when its involvement in the residential schools ended. It established its Healing and Reconciliation Fund in 1991, after hearing reports of abuses in the schools. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers gave an apology on behalf of the church for its participation in the schools.
The Healing and Reconciliation Fund is administered by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. It provides grants in support of community-based healing initiatives for Indigenous groups. Since its inception, the fund has provided about $600,000 to assist with 60 healing projects. Financial support for Indigenous ministries, including the work of the Council and the Healing Fund, will increase from $262,000 to $547,000 annually.
The continuing drain of litigation costs and other factors have lead to the current reductions. Other impacts include:
- reduction of work in environmental and social justice areas, and reduction of support for a number of inter-church coalitions working in these areas
- reduction in the number of pages in the national newspaper, the `Anglican Journal'
- elimination of the national Resource Centre, which provided loans of videos and other resources to support parish ministries.
Ten staff positions have been eliminated at the church's national office, but two new ones have been created, leaving a net reduction of eight full time positions. Those affected have been provided with a severance package and relocation assistance, Archdeacon Boyles said. The staff reductions are effective immediately; grant reductions will come into full effect in 2001, if the church's national executive committee approves the proposed budget.
A complete report on the reductions is available at www.anglican.ca/church.
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For further information contact: Archdeacon Jim Boyles, 416-924-9199 ext. 280
Residential Schools, Legacy and Hope (`Ministry Matters' special edition), http://www.anglican.ca/mm/2000/legacy/
Healing and Reconciliation Fund, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/healing/
Other resources related to the Residential schools, http://www.anglican.ca/ministry/rs/
`Restoring Dignity': Report of the Law Commission of Canada, www.lcc.gc.ca/
Contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Information Resources, 416-924-9199 ext. 286; 905-335-8349 (residence); During May 4-7. 416-540-3653 www.anglican.ca