Friday, March 27, 2009

Why Lambeth 2008 had to look for a bail-out

FAILURES to face the true costs of last year’s £5.2-million Lambeth Conference are catalogued in a report published this week. They include an assumption that the Church Commissioners would pick up the bill if necessary, and “missing” a bill of £411,000 for the conference’s Big Top tent.

The Lambeth Conference Fund ing Review Group, chaired by John Ormerod, an accountant, which has produced the report, was set up after the Lambeth Conference Company sought £1.2 million of emergency funding, which was set aside by the Archbishops’ Council and the Church Commissioners.

The group includes the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, the chairman of the General Synod’s House of Laity, Dr Christina Baxter, and the Third Church Estates Com missioner, Timothy Walker.

The report questions whether the company had the necessary in depend ence from the church in­stitutions. Its directors were the general secretary of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon Kenneth Kearon (chairman), William Fittall, the secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chief of staff, Chris Smith. The directors were also the trustees.

The review group also questions “whether the match between avail able skills and needs was as good as might be wished”.

The Anglican Consultative Council had a constitutional obligation towards the costs of the Conference, but had stopped putting money aside for the Conference since 2004, spending it instead on new offices.

More here-

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