Rev Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, wrote a pastoral letter to the church, advising them of financial decisions made at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA, held from Friday 10 to Sunday 13 September.
Members of the Synod agreed to an operating budget deficit of $450 000 for the 2022 budget, from 1 January to 31 December 2022. Overall, the Profit and Loss, including Redress, shows a deficit of $1.935 million.
“The current financial year has, like last year, had challenges through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic,” Susy wrote.
“From December 2020, the Uniting Church WA was no longer eligible for JobKeeper. Grants to the Synod for the mission of the church from the Uniting Church Investment Fund (UCIF), Uniting Church Insurance Services (UCIS) and Uniting Church in the City (UCIC) have all been affected by the current circumstances in the 2022 Synod budget.
“The Synod of Western Australia’s Uniting Church Investment Fund (UCIF) invests funds deposited with it within appropriate risk parameters and prudential guidelines to maximise revenue and provides grants to the Synod for the mission of the church. Currently, UCIF has insufficient funds to provide a grant that will maintain the current services provided by Synod for the continuing mission of the Church.
“Over time, the real value of the UCIF portfolio has diminished due to the payment of Synod grants without considering interest and other payments. In the future and for sustainability, when calculating the Synod grant, inflation needs to be provided for, the current rate is 2%. In 2022, the UCIF grant to the Synod is $2.75million. However, the 45th Synod noted the sustainable grant level is $2.4 million.”
The Synod Standing Committee and the Resources Commission will continue to work on this budget to ensure the Synod’s finances are sustainable.
“In 2022, the Synod will fund $300 000 support to the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) WA Regional Committee and Beananging Kwuurt Institute (BKI). UAICC and BKI were previously supported by the now exhausted Sister Kate’s fund,” Susy wrote.
“In 2022, the Synod will provide $150 000 support for the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL).
“In 2022, there is no provision for civil legal claims relating to historical child sexual abuse.
“The Synod gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of UCIC, the Butterworth Trust and the UnitingCare WA Forum who provide grants to the operations and mission services of the Uniting Church WA.”
Members of the Synod also agreed to establish a Joint Synod/Presbytery Strategy Working Group to map all WA Property Trust properties within the Uniting Church WA and to engage in a process of consultation with responsible bodies and stakeholders to report back to the next Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA.
“The Joint Synod/Presbytery Strategy Working Group will determine: which properties are desirable to retain for missional purposes, including identification of properties which may need further development to improve their missional potential; which properties are desirable to retain due to their current or potential commercial income; which properties can be sold and a plan developed for their sale to maximise returns; and whether any properties should be purchased to further the mission of the church and in which areas.
“The Joint Synod/Presbytery Strategy Working Group will develop a policy of how proceeds from the sale of properties can be utilised to:
- fund at least $10M to Redress claims in the next seven years;
- fund the work of UAICC WA Regional Committee;
- fund development of mission for new and innovative ministry positions;
- fund the purchase of property in new areas or to develop existing properties to better meet missional priorities; and
- to increase funds under management of the Uniting Church WA.
“I wish to acknowledge and thank the Uniting Church Centre staff and our volunteer Committee and Commission members for their diligent work and for sharing their gifts and talents with our church.
“Please continue to uphold our Synod in prayer as we seek to live within our means, whilst embracing our vision to be a Christian community for everyone, by uniting in God’s mission to the world, growing communities of Christ-followers and being grounded in our worship of God, our witness to God’s grace and our service to others.”
To read the approved proposals, visit https://unitingchurchwa.org.au/presbytery-synod/synod/meetings-and-minutes/