AUSTRALIA'S richest Anglican diocese will slash staff and ministries after revealing it lost $160 million on the sharemarket - $60 million more than reported at the height of the global sharemarket downturn.
The cutbacks will be deepest at St Andrew's House, Archbishop Peter Jensen's power centre, with central funds for ministries and programs to spread the Gospel slashed by half over the next three years.
In its report to the synod, the board expresses regret for mistakes made, not only for its highly geared portfolio which exposed it to the market freefall, but for realising debts just as the market rebounded. ''We thought we would be able to ride out the fluctuations in the market and hold the bulk of our market positions.
''We did not, however, envisage the severity of the falls that occurred concurrently in the various markets due to the global financial crisis. Our diversification strategy did not provide the protection we had expected.''
As a result, distributions from the diocesan endowment fund - the main source of funding allocated by head office to support ministry and organisations outside the diocese - halved to $5.3 million.
This is in a country which is the only western country not to have fallen into technical recession and has been the first western country to begin raising interest rates as we have managed to avoid the worst of the GFC.
Perhaps it will keep ++Jensen at home and stop him interfering in the affairs of the World Anglican Communion. We can but hope.
There is a television program interviewing Jensen next Sunday night. I do not know if I can watch it, There would be a risk to my TV screen.