NEWCASTLE’S Anglican Cathedral parish has been urged to become ‘‘entrepreneurial’’ after a failed attempt at a $100,000 lifeline to keep it afloat in 2012.
Fund-raising options including charging visitors to view Newcastle from the cathedral tower could be considered, along with cutting at least $60,000 from its budget.
Diocese trustees, including former MP John Price and former Lake Macquarie mayor John Kilpatrick, refused last week to issue an episcopal certificate, or diocese guarantee, for a $100,000 bank loan, just weeks after questions at a synod about $43million in outstanding loans across the diocese.
‘‘The trustees formed the view it was a short-sighted decision [for the parish to seek a loan for operational purposes] and it would still be facing the same situation next year,’’ diocese business manager John Cleary said.
The cathedral had to increase its income base and reconnect with the community, including Newcastle City Council, business clubs and other groups, after a period when there had been ‘‘a perception the cathedral parish was disconnected from the community’’.
In signs of a major shift in thinking after a year in which the parish had been criticised for being too ‘‘insular’’, Mr Cleary said it was a matter of ‘‘us going to them [community groups and stakeholders] rather than them being expected to come to us’’.
The parish was unlikely to cut jobs to reduce expenses because ‘‘in terms of the human resources they need to run the cathedral, they’ve gone about as far as they can go’’.
The diocese would consider contributing to the cathedral’s annual insurance bill of close to $100,000, he said.
The trustee’s decision to reject a loan after Newcastle Bishop Brian Farran supported it at parish and diocesan council level ‘‘might have been a surprise to the parish, but it wasn’t a surprise’’, Mr Cleary said.
‘‘Episcopal certificates are generally only advanced for capital rather than trading [operational] purposes.
‘‘What the trustees have said to the parish is ‘Go and get your budget in order’, rather than offer a bandaid.’’
At a diocese synod in October, questions were asked about $43million in loans. Most were for schools and aged-care services, were being paid as interest and principal, and were reduced from $65million, Mr Cleary said.