Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Saturday, 17 October 2009 15:26 UK

Diocese's 'uplifting' 16m budget

A £16m budget has been approved for the Diocese of Lichfield in 2010 to support clergy in 583 churches and to help train 13 new curates.

The budget is £773,000 greater than the one approved for 2009 and will help train two more clergy than in 2009.

The money was raised mainly by parishioners in the diocese, which is one of the poorest in the country.

Diocesan finance director Jonathan Hill said it was an "uplifting" amount in these "tough economic times."

The diocese is the fourth largest in the Church of England and is made up of churches in Staffordshire, north Shropshire, Walsall, Wolverhampton and north Sandwell in the Black Country and West Midlands, parts of Warwickshire and Wales.

'Growth fund'

The budget is raised mainly from parish donations and nearly went bankrupt in 2002, a diocesan spokesman said.

He said: "We used to work out the budget according to how much we wanted to spend rather than what the parish could afford. Now we have a five year financial plan."

The budget is due to be presented to the Diocesan Synod in Muxton, Shropshire later.

Up to £360,000 has been allocated in the budget for new projects, which are yet to be decided and £240,000 has been allocated for the Bishop's Growth Fund for evangelical work.

Finance director Jonathan Hill said: "In these bleak economic times, and amongst all the doom and gloom, this is designed to be an uplifting and exciting budget which will support the good work the parishes are doing to communicate the good news of the Lord."

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