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Home  >  News  >  Churches Face £30m Coronavirus Loss

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Churches Face £30m Coronavirus Loss

Monday May 18 2020

Church of Scotland congregations are expected to lose around a third of their income in 2020, totalling about £30m, due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 shutdown.

The estimated loss from Sunday collections, weddings, hall lets and fundraising is contained in a report issued by the Assembly Trustees last week, which warns that ‘palpable savings will have to be made’ in the Church’s finances, and that work on elements of the Church’s Radical Action Plan will have to be set aside in response to the crisis.

In the report, which is to be discussed with ministers, office-bearers, staff and volunteers at a webinar on Friday, the Trustees anticipate that the central church may not receive £20m of the contributions budgeted for from the parishes for this year. They also warn that the Church is facing reduced income from investments, CrossReach (social care) activities and trading activities which are currently shut down.

Some money has been saved through furloughing staff (around half of the national office employees are currently on furlough, with more to follow), stopping non-essential work and cancelling the General Assembly, but, the report warns, ‘the response in financial terms cannot be limited to these actions’.

In response, a strategic plan is to be drawn up taking account of the unexpected financial challenges. The report states that this plan will ‘supersede the Radical Action Plan, while picking up those elements of the Radical Action Plan appropriate to the new landscape, and will accelerate the process of structural reform’.

One area that is being set aside ‘for the moment’ is the Growth Fund which was agreed last year. The report says: “The Church’s finances are much altered from 2019 and local congregations will now have needs of a different order. Much valuable work has been carried out by the (Growth Fund) Implementation Group and will be used elsewhere but the anticipated work of this separate Fund has to be set aside for the moment and reviewed in early course to dovetail with the new operational plan."

Read the full report of the Assembly Trustees and sign up for Friday’s webinar here.


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