Saturday, 22 August 2009

Less straw

The ‘credit crunch’ isn’t helping my guess work about how the finances to provide clergy posts in Grimsby and Cleethorpes will balance.

We can’t say that we are being asked to make bricks without straw. The historic assets of the diocese are in fact generating a significant subsidy for our present budgets. But the figures finally sent us last week indicate that the share of this rich legacy allocated to us for 2010 is £31 000 less than it was in 2009, which is a significant amount less with which to make the same number of bricks.

There are other pressures as well. We have to go on financing one post which is filled but which isn’t part of our ‘Mission Area Plan’. The diocese is determined to go on seeking a further £38 000 from us as a remaining contribution to the cost of this post in 2004-8. The diocesan Chief Executive simply won’t reply to enquiries about either the justification for this or about another totally unrelated aspect of diocesan policy. And its issuing the figures in August and requesting a response by the end of the month doesn’t help anyone like me consult others in our ‘Mission Area Planning Group’ before suggesting a budget.

Anyway, I spent a chunk of yesterday working over figures for 2010 and projecting forward for 2011 and 2012, with guess work about how much parishes really will contribute to this budget and about dates on which clergy might or might not move or retire, and have sent off a work of fiction (I’ve called it an ‘illustration’, which seems more tactful) about how we’d balance the books in each of the years 2009-2012 with perhaps nine stipendiary clergy in planned posts at any given moment.

The picture is the most modern of the statues of Our Lady we saw on street corners on our trip to Brugge.

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