Hard times make for difficult decisions, and both the Administration and Finance Committee and Diocesan Council worked hard last month to bring order to diminishing diocesan revenues.

The problem is not that faithful Anglicans aren't putting money into the collection plate. All of us realize that our beloved Church needs real resources to operate.

Most of the diocese's revenue comes from the diocesan assessment, which is a percentage of each parish's operating income. Recently the assessment has amounted to about two million dollars. That covers the basics.

On top of that, until recently, a bit more than 10 per cent has come from investment funds. These funds have allowed for a few more people in the Synod Office, for a societal ministry coordinator, and this year to hire a family and youth coordinator.

The financial crunch has come from the state of those investments. There's the results has been a reduction, all told, of about a quarter of a million dollars in revenue that the diocese was counting on.

So what gets cut - What remains - A few belt-tightening measures have been taken: a reduction in clerical help, a less elaborate Synod, reducing parish support for the MAP process.

Next year, the cuts are to be deeper. Coordinators for societal ministry and family and youth work will be gone.

These positions were created fairly recently after years of urging on the part of Synod delegates. The diocese has been a leader when it comes to social and particularly environmental awareness. The renewal of family and youth ministry in the diocese is just getting off the ground. Both ministries look to the future.

Diocesan Council has pretty well put the 2009 budget into final form, but in May the Synod members will set the direction for 2010. Just what this diocese's priorities really are will be found in what Synod does-or decides not to do.