Bishop is not a CEO. Parishes are not just local branches of the diocese


Why is the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch worrying about how to fund rebuilding the Cathedral?

After all the public land records show Diocese has $320 million “empire” of cash and properties.

Why not, for example sell the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo to help fund the rebuild?

But a diocese, Anglican or Catholic, is not the monolith it may appear to be from the outside. Parishes are not just local branches of a diocese.

Each parish owns its own property. The Bishop does not exercise CEO-like authority in these matters.

A spokesperson for Anglican Diocese of Christchurch has pointed that the land and investments are the property of individual parishes and are held “on trust” for those parishes.

A parish’s assets cannot be spent outside each individual parish.

“The CPT (Church Property Trust) is the holding body for all the [parish] trusts,” said the spokesperson.

“You can’t take money from Papanui, for example, to pay central.”

In a letter sent to all Anglicans in the diocese Bishop Victoria Matthews reminded them the CPT has no equity of its own.

“This week a senior reporter of The Press has made it his business to investigate CPT investments.”

“There is the suggestion that on Saturday The Press newspaper will have a story about the Church Property Trustees and how we could use our funds to reinstate the Cathedral in the Square.”

“I write to you at this time to simply remind you that we do hold land and Investments but that these are for parish and diocesan ministry and mission. CPT has no equity of its own.”

The Christchurch Anglican diocese’s finances have come under scrutiny as it negotiates with the Government over how to fund the $100m Christ Church Cathedral restoration.

The CPT has a $42m insurance payout on the cathedral to spend on the restoration, while campaign group Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) has pledged to raise $15m from donors and about $10m has been offered by the Government.

Matthews is concerned it may prove difficult to raise money for the $30m funding shortfall on the project


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