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Cutbacks at National Church of Iceland

The National Church of Iceland is facing a cutback of ISK 330 million (USD 2.9 million, EUR 2.2 million) in state funding next year. The new budget bill assumes a decrease in revenue by 8.6 percent. Savings measures were discussed at a church convention yesterday.

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Bishop of Iceland Karl Sigurbjörnsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

To bridge the gap, the church will decrease the number of pastorates by five and sell 26 assets, including land in south Iceland, the chapel at the old military base in Keflavík and the parsonage on Hrísey island, Morgunbladid reports.

In two cases of the five pastorates that will be cut, the priests will retire next year. After their retirements, the pastorates will be discontinued. Other measures include decreasing the salary cost at the Church Affairs Fund by five full-time equivalent units.

In other church news, in a survey which Capacent conducted for the Bishop’s Office, 48.5 percent of participants trust the priests in their respective parishes, while 18.3 percent of respondents have little faith in them.

The survey also concluded that 43.7 percent of respondents have faith in the church in their parish, while 21.3 percent don’t.

Bishop Karl Sigurbjörnsson said in his speech at the church convention on Saturday that the survey shows Icelanders have faith in their churches and trust the priests in their parishes.

Among other conclusions in the survey is that Icelanders go to church 4.3 times on average per year. Church attendance is more frequent outside the capital region than in the capital.

It was also agreed at the church convention yesterday to appoint an investigative committee because of alleged sexual violations by former Bishop Ólafur Skúlason.

Róbert Ragnar Spanó, professor and president of the University of Iceland law department, will chair the committee.

Click here to read more about these accusations.

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