A new campaign began at the start of Advent 2016, the beginning of the Church’s year, and it continues through the winter until Palm Sunday 2017. As we had previously discussed at the Parish AGM, despite our apparent wellbeing we have some significant financial issues specific to buildings, which need to be addressed.
After the first weekend Mass at each church, we heard one of our parishioners talk about the campaign, and there were reminders and updates given throughout. Every member of the parish received a leaflet explaining the reasoning behind the appeal. There was also an information point after Mass at each church, where volunteers enabled people to find out more details.
Our undeniably beautiful buildings seem integral to our identity as a parish, but if we want to continue to maintain them in the years to come, we will need to fund them accordingly.
Raymond Twohig, Chair of Finance,
Simon Fletcher, Chair of All Saints PPC.
Here is the text of the main introductory leaflet,
distributed to all parishioners at the beginning of Advent 2016:
Following the Parish Survey last year, the Parish Pastoral Council – supporting Fr Mark – have been working hard to move our parish forward. We should all by now have become aware of the changes being introduced in response to the ‘Big Six’ survey concerns – welcoming, caring for each other, children and young people, how we worship, how we grow in faith, and funding the mission. However, as recently explained at the Parish AGM (and in our Annual Report), despite our apparent wellbeing, we have some significant financial issues specific to buildings, which this leaflet seeks to address.
Our income last year, in other words the money we as parishioners directly contributed, amounted to around £75,000. The parish also has some diminishing income from investments, currently of approximately £14,000. Our basic day-to-day running costs, however, came to nearly £85,000 and from this it is apparent that in financial terms we just about break-even.
This might seem a satisfactory ongoing situation, but our three churches and their presbyteries are all older buildings and we are now beginning to make significant inroads into our investments in order to fund repairs.
Rather than continue to tackle these challenges as unforseen events, surveys have been commissioned of all our buildings. As a result of these it has become clear that we will need to find on average an extra £30,000 per year over the next ten years (or in overall terms we need a total income of £105,000 per year), to enable us to fund their maintenance and repair.
From this and other information and from estimates of parishioner numbers, it appears that the average parishioner currently gives around 80p a day to the parish, whereas to meet likely future costs, this average person will need to give £1.20.
Of course the reality is that there is no average parishioner, and we do not keep detailed statistics. It is certain that there will be those among us who are able to give considerably less than our fictitious average parishioner. Equally perhaps, there will be others who, becoming aware of this financial shortfall, are in a position to give more. The figures here are simply set out as reference points by which we can each take an informed view of what we need and are able to give.
Our undeniably beautiful buildings seem integral to our identity as a parish, but in objective terms they are by no means all essential to our mission or the way we worship. If we want to continue to own and maintain them in the years to come, we will need, both collectively and individually, to fund them accordingly.
We hope that by reading this information you will find yourself able to make a more informed decision about how much to contribute to the running of our parish. Please consider whether you can respond by giving more. If together we are able to do so, we will be in a much better position to deal with the financial challenges ahead.
What do I do now if I want to change the amount I give?
If you are giving by Standing Order, please contact your bank and instruct them accordingly. If you are giving using weekly envelopes, or by direct cash in the plate, simply alter the amount you put in. In all cases you don’t have to tell us, but it does help if the Parish Secretary knows that an increase or decrease is a planned decision on your part.
What about Gift Aid?
If you pay income tax, the parish benefits greatly if you sign a Gift Aid form. Most people who give by Standing Order or envelopes have already signed one. If you change the amount you give, there is no need to sign a Gift Aid form again.
Shouldn’t the amount I give be a private matter?
Absolutely. When you give under Gift Aid, you are given a number, and all transactions are recorded against that number. The Parish Secretary and the Chair of the Finance Committee, who are responsible to the Diocese for reporting figures, are the only two people who see the detail.
I still have some questions. Who can I ask?
After every Mass for the next few weeks, two of our fellow parishioners will be available to provide you with more information. Firstly, they will be able to supply you with a leaflet with more answers. They are not experts but they can also refer any more detailed questions on to the Parish Secretary, or help you to arrange a short meeting with her if needed.
You can download a copy of the leaflet here