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Support Fund Meeting for 2016
16/06/15
At the Church Centre in Wellesbourne before the meeting on 13th June 2015

Each year since 2011, an annual Support Fund meeting has agreed the amount that each deanery is to pay into, or receive from, the Support Fund in the following year. It is through generous giving to the Support Fund that our ministry and mission are able to continue in the poorer areas of the diocese. On Saturday 13th June in Wellesbourne, two representatives from each deanery (apart from two deaneries which only had one representative) gathered for the meeting to agree the payments for 2016.

Some diocesan officers were on hand to help the process run smoothly, and also two representatives from the parishes of Warwick and Budbrooke which are beneficiaries of the King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, Warwick - however, they had no vote.  Any decision was to be taken by the Deanery Representatives alone.

After an excellent breakfast in the St Peter's Church Centre, all went across to the church for Morning Prayer led by the Rev'd Richard Hare, Area Dean for Nuneaton Deanery.  One of the readings he chose and based a short homily on was from Proverbs chapter 19, including the verse:

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full."

Then it was back to the Church Centre.  As in previous years, the Deanery Representatives spent most of the rest of the morning listening to each other's presentations.  The opportunities and challenges facing all eleven deaneries were highlighted, and the meeting heard how difficult it is for some churches.

This year, it became clear that particular issues in more than one Deanery meant that previous levels of generosity could not continue into next year.  At one point it was difficult to see how the current levels of stipendiary ministry, housing and training could be paid for next year.  This also meant that it would be difficult to agree any surplus for mission for the second year running.  But all listened gracefully.  Also it was very encouraging to hear about many areas of growth across the diocese and some real good news stories.

Having listened to one another, the focus changed to 'supporting one another'.  Each deanery started by suggesting next year's payment to, or from, the Support Fund.  Any payments were expressed in terms of 'posts'.  A 'post' is the annual cost of providing a benefice with a stipendiary priest, a vicarage, and also training their current and future parish ministers (both lay and ordained).  One post currently amounts to £54,579.

When all the opening bids were totalled, the Support Fund had a shortfall of 1.17 posts.  There followed a time of discussion and mutual challenge, and an opportunity for people to amend their suggested payments.  Eventually, with the representatives for nine out of the eleven Deaneries generously offering to change their bids, they had eliminated the shortfall.

For the fifth year running, the revised list of payments (shown below) received unanimous approval from the Deanery Representatives. The meeting closed with prayers led by Kate Mier, Area Dean for Fosse Deanery – there was much to be thankful for – and eating lunch together.

What happens now?

The Deanery Representatives will be reporting back to their respective deaneries on the outcome of the meeting.  Each Deanery Synod is then invited to ratify their own Support Fund payment.  In the event that a Deanery Synod is unhappy about their payment, they have until 30th September to lodge an appeal with Bishop’s Council.  Please pray for the Deanery Representatives and the Deanery Synod meetings during this ratification process.

Graham Wright, Chair of the Support Fund Meeting
16th June 2015

 

This is the agreed list of payments for ratification by each Deanery Synod: