Act 15, 2010 (XV) – Act anent Centrally Supported Ministries. 18th May 2010.

The General Assembly, in seeking to promote the interests of the Sustentation Fund, and in order to ensure the optimum use of available financial and the human resources, ordain as follows with regard to centrally supported ministries:

The General Assembly note that the projected financial burden on the Home Missions Board in 2010 arising from Centrally Supported Ministries is approximately £300,000, equivalent to 14% of the total cost of Sustentation and Church Extension ministries. The Assembly recognise that a certain level of expenditure is necessary in this area in order for the Church to fulfil its gospel vision and mission. However, the Assembly also recognise that such activities of the Church are to be carried out with good stewardship of the resources available, and therefore enact as follows:

1. The General Assembly instruct the Home Missions Board, in consultation with the Board of Trustees Finance Sub-Committee, to report annually on (1) the current level of support required to support ministries in the centrally-supported category; (2) on savings made through adjustments and progress in existing ministries; and (3) on any surplus on budgeted income for such ministries arising from increased/surplus income from fundraising activities. They instruct the Board to ensure budgetary provision for potential new ministries in the next year as part of the annual budgetary review.

2. The General Assembly reaffirm their commitment to limit the number of Church Extension charges to five. The General Assembly instruct that the number of appointments in the categories of Church Extension, Asian Outreach and Service to Overseas Students be carefully monitored and managed so that the budgetary provision required to support such ministries remains sustainable. The General Assembly also instruct that the number of workers in other centrally supported ministries is carefully managed in the context of the wider ministry of the Church.

3. The General Assembly, whilst noting that the number of congregations on redevelopment status is likely to increase with the implementation of Act I, 2009, Paragraph 6, instruct the Home Missions Board to limit the number of Redevelopment charges to a level that can be sustained within the current budgetary provision. They also instruct the Board to ensure that a full redevelopment plan, including clear support systems, is agreed with Presbyteries before a congregation is granted Redevelopment status, and that the implementation of the redevelopment plan is continually monitored during the term of the minister’s appointment.

4. The General Assembly notes that the projected cost of supporting ministries on Special Arrangements and Renewable/Terminable Appointments in 2010 is approximately £75,000, equivalent to 25% of the total cost of centrally supported ministries. The General Assembly instruct the Home Missions Board to reduce the number of ministries in both of the above categories within the existing legislation. They also instruct that there be no additions to ministries in the Special Arrangement category except where the Board considers that alternative arrangements for ministry, such as a union or a form of team ministry, are not realistic due to the geographical location of a congregation.

5. In situations where there is no other alternative for ministry but that of Special Arrangements under the terms of Act I, 2009, Paragraph 5, the Home Missions Board shall give  due regard to the budgetary implications of granting Special Arrangements, and only after budgetary provision has been made in the light of the overall financial strategy of the Board, shall a final decision be taken.

6. The General Assembly instruct the Home Missions Board to give consideration to all current ministries in the centrally-supported category during its annual budgetary review and, where budgeted levels of income have been exceeded, to consider how existing ministries could be given additional support and what new projects could be initiated by the Board.

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