Chichester Diocese jobs warning as 'finances deteriorate'

The Reverend Stan Tomalin
Image caption The Reverend Stan Tomalin said he did not think the situation was a crisis yet

The Church in Sussex has temporarily frozen recruitment and warned of potential job losses after its finances deteriorated, it has emerged.

A letter seen by the BBC asked parishes to raise more money to try to reduce subsidies from the Chichester diocese.

In the letter, The Reverend Stan Tomalin said the diocese would run out of unrestricted funds in the middle of 2013, if the situation did not change.

The diocese said it was examining its financial position rigorously.

'Moratorium on jobs'

Mr Tomalin, rural dean of Dallington Deanery, said: "I don't think it's a crisis yet.

"I think we're still at the stage of being able to do something about it so that it doesn't become a crisis.

"But if over the next 12 to 18 months, the call to raise the finance necessary doesn't happen, then at that point difficult decisions will have to start to be made."

In his letter, he wrote: "It seems the finances of the diocese have deteriorated far faster than feared."

He added the bishop had "placed a temporary moratorium on all new posts throughout the diocese until at least November".

He said: "It hasn't yet got to the point where we have to justify each and every post - although that may well be not far off."

In a statement, Angela Sibson, diocesan secretary, said: "... the diocese is examining its financial position rigorously as a matter of good housekeeping, recognising the financial challenges ahead and that it has to keep a close eye on income and expenditure."

Editor of the Church of England Newspaper, Colin Blakely, said dioceses across the country were facing serious problems that were partly due to declining church attendance.

He said: "With such a massive drop in the number of people going [and] the number of people who are giving to the church - that's going to affect all sorts of things."

Three dioceses had already been merged in the north of England because of declining revenues, he said.

He said the church had estimated numbers of people attending weekly would fall from the current 1.2 million to 125,000 by 2057.

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