At no point in all the discussion of the Covenant has any budget been made public.

Of course the actual cost will depend on a whole lot of things that are completely uncertain at this point. But assumptions can be made (and probably have been made somewhere in the Anglican Communion Office) which will generate  an indicative budget.

Central costs will rise simply because the Covenant envisages the Anglican Communion becoming more centralised. Experience suggests this is a one-way ratchet as few matters once brought to the centre are then returned to a lower level and because the world is increasingly interconnected.

Central costs will be spread across every member Church because that is the largest source of funding for Anglicanism's central bodies (c. 66%, 2008).

In addition each member Church will be expected to spend more internally on arrangements to liaise between it and the centre.

At the moment a disproportionate amount of revenue comes from TEC (the Church of the USA) and Trinity Church Wall Street. If the provisions of the Covenant mean TEC is excluded from, or marginalised in, the Communion it is predictable that their funds will will also steadily vanish.

The most recent published accounts for the ACO (2008) show income of £1.86m and expenditure of £1.76m. Around £1.3m goes on staffing, offices and other direct costs. One person was paid in excess of £60,000. Contributions in kind (largely from North America) are noted but not valued. There are other separate charitable funds which support global Anglicanism not included in these accounts. These too receive significant income from North America.

In the end almost all the costs are be borne directly by the lay people whose giving sustains the church. Alongside the silence on costs there is no apparent mechanism for accounting for this expenditure to the donors.

Possible additional costs implied by the Covenant proposals

'Normal' times (annual background costs)

Item

Costs borne by

'mechanisms, agencies or institutions' (§4.2.6)

Perhaps:  one officer, office, support staff (1 person?), travel within the Province, publicity budget - but each Church will decide its own level of provision

Each member Church directly

Equalisation fund (to enable poorer provinces to participate fully)

Richer Churches - building up a reserve?

International travel

Note: email etc. makes much communication virtually free, but it won't be enough

Each member Church plus equalisation fund

International conferences

Each member Church plus equalisation fund

Mediation

  • Set-up, training / familiarisation and maintaining a panel of approved mediators

Each member Church paying into central fund

Central costs

  • Increased senior and support staff to address increased workload; increased travel

Each member Church paying into central fund

Legal costs

  • Opinions on specific issues; insurance against legal proceedings

Each member Church paying into central fund

Capital funds

  • As responsibilities and costs grow a larger reserve fund will be needed to carry the ACO across the uncertainties of donation income and to ensure the stability of service and to cover liabilities

Each member Church paying into central fund


Additional costs of, say, intervention in a dispute between two members

Item

Costs borne by

Mediation (people, travel, accommodation, meetings)

Central fund

Each participating Church?

(Possibly indirectly to avoid biassing mediation)

Central costs

  • Advisory group
  • Additional travel, meetings, support staff time, reports

Central fund

Legal costs

Central fund and / or participating Churches


Additional costs of a complex major international dispute

Speculation here becomes even less reliable. Complex multi-directional mediation would be a significant cost if thought practicable.

It is likely that those caught up in such a dispute would be reluctant to increase their giving to central funds at a point when central costs will rise; it is possible that contributions would shrink.

It is probable that a large-scale dispute would have novel features which will demand innovative responses that are impossible to cost - except that they will be expensive.