The Most Reverend Melissa Skelton
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On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Canadian Government approved a 107 billion dollar aid package which includes the $2,000 per month for four month Canada Emergency Response Benefit to assist Canadians in need during the economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 24, the United States government proposed a 2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package for their citizens.
All organizations that have the resources to do so, must assist their constituencies, and so it’s with great pride and gratitude that I announce that Diocesan Council aided by an adjunct working group, on March 25 approved a substantial financial assistance package to help parishes navigate their way forward over the next two months and beyond. 
This is just another example of the resilience, creativity, kindness and commitment of the people of this Diocese who continue to remain active and engaged in as our mission says, “Growing communities of faith in Jesus Christ to serve God's mission in the world.”

The basic details of the financial assistance package are the following:

  • the suspension of assessment payments for 5 months--from April 1 to August 31, 2020 for all parishes
  • diocesan payment of the salaries of all stipendiary clergy through the end of May, 2020 with the exception of those parishes in our diocese that have $750,000 or more in the Diocesan Consolidated Trust Fund or in other investment funds.
  • the ability of parishes to draw up to 20% of their capital in the Diocesan Consolidated Trust Fund to use for parish operational expenses.

We estimate the value of the assessment relief and salary payments to be approximately 2 million dollars.

While Council’s decision cannot possibly address all the concerns that parishes have right now—concerns about what the Federal and Provincial stimulus packages will mean for lay employees, concerns related to all the “what ifs” that are in our minds right now—while Council’s decision cannot possibly address all these concerns, Council’s decision can give us all a sense that we are all in this together and that together, with God’s help, we will find our way through this.

I am proud, so proud of all of us. And I want to send out thanks to the members of the ad hoc advisory group to Diocesan Treasurer Bob Hardy and myself, to members of the Synod Office staff and to all the members of Diocesan Council who not only agreed to this financial assistance package but embraced it.

God bless you all during this time.

Please find Diocesan Council document "Financial Support for Parishes during the COVID-19 Crisis" linked below in .PDF

And please find linked below in .PDF a copy of this correspondence.