Diocese sets up Task Group to secure future mission
A special Task Group has been set up to secure the long-term missional sustainability of the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – post COVID-19.
The Financial Planning Task Group is chaired by the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev James Newcome, and has ten other members including the Bishop of Penrith, clergy and members of the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF).
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, its focus is the sustained growth of church of every kind in the Diocese of Carlisle, supporting mission, ministry and the ecumenical God for All Vision Refresh.
Bishop James said: “As with all other dioceses in the Church of England, our cash flow and overall financial situation has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Almost every part of our income has been affected: churches have been closed, regular giving has fallen and Parish Offer has been affected; investment income is likely to be lower; parochial fees have not been earned as occasional offices such as weddings and funerals in churches have not happened and our commercial and residential tenants are themselves under financial pressure. We still don’t know exactly for how long and to what degree this will be the case.
“However, in comparison with some other dioceses we have higher levels of liquidity and careful management of our finances in recent years has strengthened our position. The Task group’s work is set against this backdrop.”
The Diocese’s finance team is currently developing models which consider the financial impact of the coronavirus in 2020 and beyond. That modelling is based on best case, medium case and worst case scenarios.
The Task Group will develop financial plans for each of the scenarios and propose priorities for expenditure in support of the refreshed Vision, looking at levels of and models of ministry, activities to enable and support mission and to identify where savings could be made.
Alongside this, the DBF is to review the overall Diocesan financial model including how Parishes currently contribute towards the costs of ministry.
In September the Task Group will report to Bishop’s Council – the committee with strategic oversight for the Diocese - before plans go before the October Diocesan Synod – the Diocese’s democratically elected decision-making body – and then for wider consultation at multiple levels including Deaneries and Mission Communities.
Bishop James added: “The coronavirus pandemic has created all manner of challenges. There are people in this county who have lost their lives as a result of contracting COVID-19, those who have been bereaved, those who are battling back to health, those who are currently without work or facing an uncertain future and those who continue each day to put their own safety to one side as they care for the sick and vulnerable.
“More than ever, we have seen people turn to prayer and choose to explore their faith at this time. Whilst our church buildings may have been closed, our churches are very much alive, reaching out to all those who need help and support; all of this rooted in our Christian faith.
“My prayer is that the work of the Task Group will further enable us to grow as churches and as disciples across Cumbria.”
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.