The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly meets this week under a considerable financial cloud – but with a determination to make the changes which will secure a renewed future for the country’s largest Christian denomination.
The Church has lost nearly £90 million as a result of the current economic downturn. It will need to restructure ministry to reduce a Ministries Council shortfall of some £5.7 million.
Among other things, the Kirk’s social care arm, CrossReach, also faces a £3.6 million deficit this year, despite the Presbyterian church agency losing 18 jobs and saving £300,000 in its central services department at Charis House in Edinburgh.
The social care council is responsible for care of the elderly, children and addicts. It has 17 residential homes for older people across Scotland.
According to The Herald newspaper, the Kirk says the cuts, which included the closure of Florentine House for vulnerable adults in Glasgow, came “not so much as a wind of change but a force-nine gale”.
But CrossReach has taken swift action to address the huge funding gap, and the Church of Scotland makes the point that the downturn is not an isolated church or denominational issue.
Many other charities, both religious and non-religious, have been similarly hit.