Faced with more than 350 lawsuits over alleged physical and sexual abuse at church-run schools, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) is making significant cuts to budgets and staff. The ACC's general synod—the church's national governing body—and eight of its 30 dioceses are named in lawsuits claiming that indigenous people suffered cultural, physical and sexual abuse as children at residential schools operated by the church on behalf of Canada's federal government.In some cases the church is named directly, while in others it has been forced into the suit as a third party by the Canadian government, which is also being sued.The federal government set up about 130 residential schools for aboriginal children, almost a century ago, entrusting their day-to-day operation to four mainstream churches until 1969, when contracts ran out. The biggest numbers of schools were run by the ACC and the Roman Catholic Church, while others were managed by the United Church of Canada and the Presbyterian Church.All four churches face legal action from alleged victims of abuse, and the churches' leaders now meet monthly to review the situation.Archdeacon Jim Boyles, ACC general secretary, told ENI in a telephone interview: "It is very difficult for the staff people involved in the cuts and for those overseas and in the north who will be affected by it. The mood among the staff here was very somber on Monday [August 14] when the announcements were made."As of August 31, eight full-time national office positions will be cut, and grants to northern Canada and overseas ministries will be reduced by $500,000 Canadian dollars (or $335,000 US dollars). The church's budget for this year, $10.9 million Canadian dollars, is 11 percent below last year. ...1
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