Statement on stewardship from the General Secretary

What follows is a statement by Archdeacon Michael Pollesel, General Secretary of General Synod, in light of the Anglican Journal’s coverage of a discussion on stewardship at the recent meeting of the Council of General Synod.

Archdeacon Michael Pollesel

Although the direction that General Synod is now taking in the area of stewardship means that we will be dropping the name Letting Down the Nets, the valuable ministry that began under this initiative will continue. Letting Down the Nets was never a separate office but rather part of the Financial Development Department of General Synod and this will continue until such time as the proposed new Development Office comes into being. At that time it is expected that the ministry will become part of the Development Office.

The Letting Down the Nets initiative has done considerably more than “counsel six dioceses on stewardship work,” as the Journal put it. Our senior development officer, Canon Geoff Jackson, and his team of consultants have been working with six dioceses as “pilot projects” but, in addition, have provided support to many dioceses through the provision of speakers, workshop leaders and facilitators for strategic planning, stewardship and financial development. Also, in the past two years this initiative has allowed us to provide part-time gift planning consultants in the dioceses of Ottawa, Western Newfoundland and Central Newfoundland. Negotiations have also recently been concluded with the dioceses of Kootenay and Huron whereby gift-planning consultants will be in place by mid 2007. The principal beneficiaries of the ministry of these gift-planning consultants are the parishes in the dioceses where they operate.

Another part of the Letting Down the Nets initiative was to seek ways of enhancing the various annual appeals of General Synod and its related partners, Anglican Journal, PWRDF and The Anglican Foundation. To this end Lorna Somers was commissioned to review current practices and provide a report with recommendations for the future. Based on this report the Letting Down the Nets team suggested that a task force be put in place chaired by myself with representation from all the partners involved in annual fund raising. We have met on a regular basis and now have a better understanding of each other’s operations. It is partly through this initiative that we were led to the concept of the establishment of the proposed new Development Office.

It is also important for us to recognize those dioceses that have provided financial support, to date, for Letting Down the Nets. These dioceses are, New Westminster, Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia & PEI, Fredericton, Ontario, Toronto and Calgary. In addition a number of individuals have provided financial support. We are very grateful for this support that has enabled us to develop true partnerships between various dioceses and General Synod.

What was not clear from the Journal article is that we will still need to find additional funding for 2007 and 2008 to support the current ministry initiatives. We are aware that a number of dioceses are currently in discussion with Canon Jackson with a view to providing either additional financial support or new financial support. These dioceses include, Fredericton, Nova Scotia & PEI, and Ontario for additional financial support as well as Rupert’s Land, Ottawa, Edmonton and Huron for new financial support. Assistance from these and other dioceses will be greatly appreciated and necessary for us to continue to provide this ministry.

In summary, although we will drop the name Letting Down the Nets, the ministry will continue and we value the support that has been provided to date and continue to seek support as we move forward with the establishment of the proposed new Development Office is established.

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