Annual support for Camp Artaban, the diocese’s camp for youth, would go from $12,000 to $50,000 next year in a revised diocesan budget that will come before the special financial synod this month.

Camp Artaban’s increase, if approved, is part of a proposed change in the way diocesan ministry is funded that will go before the approximately 350 synod delegates next month.

The plan, approved by the Diocesan Council and recommended to synod, is to have larger, long-term funding for fewer ministries paid though regular parish assessments.

For the past ten years, much of the money for diocesan ministry – and also for national and international efforts – has come from Stewards in Action (SIA). But the annual regular Diocesan Synod in May decided that SIA, a program of voluntary giving, had “run its course.”

Other groups scheduled to see increases in diocesan funding are Sorrento Centre and Mission to Seafarers, both from $6,000 in 2005 to $10,000 in 2006, and the Vancouver School of Theology, from $55,000 to $60,000.  Education for Ministry remains at $2,000 per year.

Meanwhile, diocesan funding for three groups which received large SIA grants this year, the Coming Home Society ($27,000), the 127 Housing Society ($15,000), and the South Fraser Community Services Society ($9,000), will receive nothing from the regular diocesan operating budget.

However, these groups will be endorsed in a new voluntary diocesan outreach appeal – yet to be named – as agencies recommended to New Westminster Anglicans. Donations given by individuals and parishes to this new appeal will flow to them on a dollar in, dollar out basis.

Otherwise, the revised diocesan budget is much like the one approved by the May annual diocesan synod, with one significant change:

Diocesan Council has recommended that the synod approve an additional person in the Diocesan Synod Office, a field parish support worker. It would be funded from the income resulting from a large bequest by teacher Margaret Lewis received by the diocese last year, on a declining basis: $72,300 in 2006, $50,000 in 2007 and in 2008, and $25,000 in 2009. Initially the additional staff position would not impact diocesan assessments.