Briefing: Archbishop's Report

July 1, 2022

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The Archbishops' Council's work was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the omicron variant. The Church of England will continue to strive for the common good, supporting the most vulnerable and sharing Christ's love with all. In 2021, we want to see more new church communities and a younger and more diverse church. The Strategic Development Funding programme continued to support a wide range of projects in 2021. The Church responded to the challenges caused by Covid-19 with creativity, energy and resilience.  Online engagement provided new opportunities for evangelism and led to cost savings of £2 million. In 2021, the Church of England continued to focus on prayer as part of evangelism and discipleship. £34.2m of Lowest Income Communities Funding was awarded to 27 dioceses to support parish ministry in lower income communities. The Ministry Experience Scheme continued to recruit people aged between 18 and 30 to work in churches. The Church of England looks back at its year in 2021.  Highlights include work to help parishes cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Growing Faith concept was launched to encourage and nurture the Christian faith for all ages. New guidance was published on Collective Worship in schools. The Church of England's safeguarding team has continued to improve safeguarding across the Church. The A Church Near You website added 58,960 events to its calendar in 2021.  The House of Bishops established a pattern of meeting monthly for ten months of the year. The Archbishops' Anti-Racism Taskforce published its final report on 22 April 2021. The Church Buildings Council produced guidance on contested heritage for parishes and cathedrals. 60% of Strategic Development Funding will be awarded to support mission to those living in deprived areas. In 2021, the Archbishops' Council's expenditure was £128.7 million, £19.6 million lower than the previous year.  The decrease was mainly due to a decrease in grants awarded. UK government is providing funding to help dioceses address financial challenges of COVID-19. The Archbishops' Council supports the ministry of the Church of England. In 2021, the Council's investments returned 12.7%, compared to a target of 8.8%. The Church Council works on behalf of the dioceses and distributes grants to help with mission and ministry.  

The Archbishops' Council has launched a second mentoring scheme to support relationships across gender, ethnic background, disability status, identity, and generational divides. The Church of England is realigning its NCIs to better serve God's mission with simpler leadership structures and team roles. The Archbishops' Council's financial statements for the year ending December 2021 are 'true and fair'. The Trustees' use of the going concern basis of accounting is appropriate. The greatest risk of material impact on the financial statements from irregularities within the timing of recognition of income.  The inherent limitations of an audit may result in the non-detection of material misstatements. The level of investment return and the performance of the investment markets are the most significant areas of uncertainty. The Archbishops' Council incurred £2,424,000 in legal and professional fees in 2021 (2020: £1,786,000). The Social Impact Investment fund was established to address poverty through housing needs, responsible finance and caring for the environment. The Church Colleges of Education Fund has 49,730 total funds.  The Central Board of Finance Lump Sum Scheme provides retirement benefits. The Archbishops' Council contributed £nil to the net assets of ChECS and owed £111,000 to the charity in 2015/16.