Diocesan Synod today (Saturday, September 9) unanimously approved the budget for 2018.

The budget for next year is based on there being no increase in Mission and Ministry Fund (MMF), which is the money contributed by parishes.

Chair of the Truro Diocesan Board of Finance, Mike Sturgess, said: “As you can see there is no increase in MMF for 2018, although we will need to look at collection rates for next year. And I hope we will have a new approach to MMF by 2019.”

Mr Sturgess acknowledged that in order to balance the books, the budgets relied on using other funds which, while currently available, did not produce a sustainable way of balancing the books in the long term.

He said: “We’ve got a budget that is sustainable in the short term, say for five years.  But looking ahead 10 or 20 years, that’s not sustainable. So in order to make this sustainable, I will quote Matthew 28:19, you need to ‘go and make disciples’, and I’m not sure Jesus had the same concerns as me in mind when he said that.

“However, we cannot go on asking fewer people for more money. We have to go out there discovering God’s Kingdom and Growing the Church. We have to get more disciples, and not just in Falmouth or our other towns, but in every church in our diocese. So please see these numbers as a spiritual document – they tell us about the numbers in our diocese.

“Go and make disciples.”

There followed discussion and some points from the floor about MMF, and when and how a new approach would be introduced. Revd Nigel Marns also everybody to consider the approach to how ‘decline’ was managed, and whether the answer was not increased investment rather than asking priests to manage increasing numbers of churches and parishes.

There were no votes cast against the motion to accept the budget.