Lambeth’s £288,000 deficit due to incompetence

Poor planning, inexperienced management, and weak financial controls contributed to a £288,000 deficit for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a report released last week by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners has concluded.

The management team, conference structure and business practices were not up to the job, the report found, stating that the “arrangements in place for the 2008 conference were less robust than they needed to be.”

The conference’s opaque management structure had left no one in charge, with the result that there had been a “disconnect between design on the one hand, and capacity and execution on the other.” The lack of clear lines of authority had led to cost overruns, with the financial team “not always aware” of the commitments made by conference management staff. Two examples cited by the report were the “failure to recognise a commitment for expenditure of £411,000 on the Big Top” the blue tent that served as the principle venue for conference meetings, and IT support.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Lambeth 2008, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

13 comments on “Lambeth’s £288,000 deficit due to incompetence

  1. Hursley says:

    This seems all too iconic for the current Anglican Communion situation.

  2. Fr. Dale says:

    [blockquote]Income was lower than expected due to the boycott by over 200 bishops, but was also hampered by poor planning.[/blockquote] Can you imagine the logistical miasma if the other 200 bishops had attended? Now, where would the buck stop in this situation? You guessed it!

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    So, where does the buck stop, do you suppose?

  4. Susan Russell says:


  5. MargaretG says:

    Interesting word Susan.

  6. Fr. Dale says:

    #5. MargaretG,
    I think she forgot the second word “bummer [dude]” or maybe it would be “bummer [dudette]”

  7. MargaretG says:

    [blockquote] “The ACO’s move from Partnership House at Waterloo to St Andrew’s House in 2004 cost significant sums of money given the need to refurbish the religious community’s premises to bring it up to standard. This, plus the funding of additional meetings to discuss the problems in the Communion, meant that over the past decade, the ACO has put aside much less than it would normally have done for the Lambeth Conference. ” [/blockquote]


    4.33 The group recognises the situation in the Anglican Communion that led to the decision in October 2007 not to proceed with large-scale US fundraising (and, in April 2008, to take some modest US initiatives to remedy what was by then a very difficult financial position). This was ultimately, and rightly, the Archbishop’s decision – and one with which the executive staff concurred. [/blockquote]

    [blockquote] Fundraising, a key part of the conference’s income, is not the responsibility of any one person. Thought had been given in summer/autumn 2007, and again early in 2008, to employing a dedicated fundraiser, but it was felt the political climate within the church meant that such a post would add little value at that stage

    It sounds like The Episcopal Church has cost the Anglican Church (and in particular the English church) an awful lot of money. I wonder if they are prepared to carry the responsibility by providing funding. I suspect not.

  8. MargaretG says:

    In the appendices, a comparison of the donations paid in 1998 (first column) and 2008 (Apologies the formatting goes haywire):

    Grants and donations
    USA Dioceses 340 86
    Church of England Dioceses 555 506
    Church Commissioners – for staff costs (note 5) 27 260
    Trinity Church Wall Street (note 6) 122 0
    Charitable Trust Donation 0 160
    Church of England Parishes 0 105
    St Augustine’s Foundation 60 100
    Other 415 327

    There is a note to the effect that in 2008 Trinity Wall St provided substantial broadcasting support in kind. Nevertheless, the USA donations went from being about 30% to about 5% and the British donations went from being 38% to 56%. (That is without counting the very significant contribution of the Church Commissioners to the conference fees and the many contributions in kind by the host church, and also ignoring the various groups that I do not know about like the St Augustine foundation).

  9. A Floridian says:

    ‘…due to incompetence’ – yes.
    Incompetence caused by sin.
    Sin makes us blind and stupid.
    Sin fractures and divides, robs, defiles and destroys.
    Sin is lawlessness, chaos, futility.
    We have seen it do all of the above in TEO, in the Anglican Communion, in the mainline denominations.

  10. pendennis88 says:

    What, me worry?

    “But to say this is also to be reminded of the fact that intelligence is given to us; we are capable of changing our situation – and, as A.S.Byatt’s character puts it, using our intelligence to limit the ruinous effect of our intelligence. If we can change things so appallingly for the worse, it is possible to change them for the better also.”

    So there you go – it is just a matter of using our obvious intelligence, you understand.

  11. Fr. Dale says:

    #10. pendennis88,
    [blockquote]Dr Williams suggests that “we are capable of changing our situation”; in “Christian terms, this needs a radical change of heart, a conversion.[/blockquote]
    And if we have the wisdom of the ABC we also know that there is more than one conversion experience. Perhaps this is why there is such an “awakening” green agenda for TEC also.

  12. pendennis88 says:

    If only the elves in the vaults at Trinity Wall Street were to have the proper conversion, that might solve Lambeth’s financial problem. Though not too much of one, lest they instead give their wealth in reparations back to the native Americans they stole it from.

  13. Harvey says:

    Sounds like the TEC PB and the US President have been talking together. Just wondered!!