Financial Campaign Not to Proceed at This Time

Bishop points to recovery still underway as key reason

Posted January 19, 2024

Having received the results of a four-month feasibility study for a major financial campaign led by the Steier Group, Bishop Susan Bell, with the affirmation of Synod Council, has made the decision not to proceed with a campaign at this time.

“I have heard a lot of anxiety from folks in the town halls,” observed Bishop Bell in a video message, while noting that the diocese was still recovering from a once-in-a-lifetime event with the pandemic. “This tells me that we are in a complex place in terms of our confidence…and ultimately that we are not yet ready to dream.”

The study also pointed to several other challenges that would be faced if a campaign was launched at this time. These included economic worries, competing initiatives, and uneven support for the campaign across the diocese. “Certain areas of the diocese are experiencing greater degrees of unemployment and economic hardship,” said Canon Drew MacDonald, stewardship and campaign advisor.

The study indicated excellent support for the proposed campaign’s focus on resourcing parishes and missions to support God’s mission and for developing leaders for the next season of the Church’s ministry. Bishop Bell indicated that these areas would continue to be a priority, though it may look somewhat different from what was contemplated in the proposed campaign.

“There was also good support for the other two components of the proposed campaign that were being tested: fostering reconciliation and equipping shared ministries,” observed Canon MacDonald.

While a $20 million goal was being tested, the study indicated that a goal on the order of $10 million, over several years, and with the participation from every family across the diocese was more realistic.  

The study engaged over four hundred people through personal interviews, town halls, and surveys. Bishop Susan Bell expressed deep gratitude to everyone who participated in this important “time of listening and prayerfully discerning.”

There is still an expectation that a financial campaign will happen in the future but the bishop says that there is work to do before this happens. “I want us to lift our heads from the deep insecurity we have felt during the pandemic and begin to live into the future with confidence trusting in God’s provision for God’s Church.”

The bishop pointed to a renewed emphasis on parish-focused stewardship development initiatives and the Mission Action Plan process as important components of this work.

One of the key themes highlighted through the study was the deep respect and affection parishioners have for their clergy who are faithfully leading through this time. The study also affirmed the leadership of the bishop and the diocesan vision. 

“This is very positive and very encouragingand reveals a solid foundation for the future,” said Canon MacDonald.