Bishop Warns Of Financial Trouble For Smaller Churches

12.11.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
Iceland's bishop says that budget cuts made to the national church could spell the demise of smaller parishes.

The Church of Iceland receives support from the Icelandic government from the general treasury, paid into by tax money from people registered in the church. People born in Iceland whose mothers are in the church are automatically registered in the church; it takes the voluntary filling out of paperwork to leave.

RÚV reports that Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, addressing parishioners at an official church meeting, said that since the establishment of the Ministry of the Interior, the church has seen a 25% cut in its annual budget.

This, she says, has led to smaller churches having to reduce their staff numbers. As such, she contends that the church finds itself in an "emergency situation" as far as keeping these smaller parishes active is concerned.

It should be pointed out that the salary of the Bishop of Iceland is about one million ISK per month. In addition, figures from 2009 show that the church received over 2.6 billion ISK from the treasury. The question, then, may be one of a better distribution of available funds, rather than an increase in funding.

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