The bill was introduced by Bishop Pete last night and will now receive Royal Assent.
The Diocesan Stipends Fund (Amendment) Measure, introduced in the House of Lords by Bishop Pete last night, has been passed.
The measure enables dioceses to donate funds to other dioceses directly for the payment of clergy stipends.
Outlining the proposals, Bishop Pete said:
‘In 2020 the Church of England began to look at ways to enable a richer diocese to support a poorer one by donating funds directly for the payment of clergy stipends. The recommendation of the Churches Mutuality and Finances Group, which I had the privilege of chairing, was to bring a simple measure for synods’ consideration that would remove the geographic restriction on the use of diocesan funds, so as to enable one diocese to donate to another.
‘This brief measure does this by amending the 1953 Stipends Fund measure by inserting a new single clause. Subsection 1 of the new clause provides that where a Diocesan Board of Finance is satisfied that funds which sit in its stipends income account do not need to be used for another statutory purpose, then it may transfer those funds out of the diocese.
‘Subsection 2 provides that where a transfer takes place, it may only be directly to the stipends income account of another Church of England diocese, or to the Archbishop’s Council, or another mediating charity. Subsection 3 requires that where the Archbishop’s Council or another mediating charity receives such funds, they may only transfer those funds to the stipends income account of another diocese or dioceses.
‘It is important to emphasise that this new power is entirely permissive and there will be no obligation whatsoever on a diocese to use it. That said, the Church is confident that those dioceses who are able to be generous will be so.’
Following the close of the debate the measure passed swiftly. This is the last stage in Synod and Parliament for this Church of England Measure, and will now go for Royal Assent.