Money Money Money – why we need it and what we do with it….
‘The church has got loads of money’
‘Why doesn’t the church use its wealth to feed the poor’
‘Why is the church always asking for money?’
I’ve heard people ask all of these questions – indeed, I’ve asked all these questions myself. And the answer is a complex one.
The Way the Local Church is funded.
Often people confuse the local church with a nationwide (or even worldwide) institution. The simple answer to this is that your local parish church (building and mission) is primarily funded by local people.
the collection plate at services
direct debits from faithful regular givers
special collections organised by individuals (e.g. after a funeral)
income from lettings and investments (ours are ethical).
occasional grants from various bodies for specific reasons…
As it costs nearly £2,000 a day to keep St Clements open, this is a rather ad hoc way to fund an important local institution. Contrary to popular belief the government do not give us money, even though we are the church of the state.
Expenses of the local church
Before we even begin to pay for the heating and the lighting, the communion bread and wine, prayer books, hymn books, lunch clubs, coffee mornings etc we have to pay a sum of money to the Diocese (our overarching body). Next year we will be giving the Diocese nearly £40,000. What for? Well, this money pays for clergy stipends (salaries) and clergy housing. We also get a number of services provided centrally eg payroll, Human Resources, Building services, Training and Development, Communications support, recruitment, fundraising, schools, and work with young people etc
We then have to pay for:
maintenance of the building, bells, electrics, organ etc
bread, wine, candles etc
as well as resources for supporting people outside the church, children’s activities, etc
Whilst its not so fashionable to be Christian these days in fact the church nationally is at the forefront of providing services for people who are in need in all sorts of ways including food poverty, debt relief, homelessness, education poverty, loneliness and isolation, mental illness, etc In addition, church buildings are often used for community meetings, concerts, keep fit classes, counselling, education events, local history events, school concerts, school services etc, often in partnership with other agencies.
Most local churches provides services locally to meet local need and would provide more if they had the resources.
And of course the church provides an opportunity for every couple in the country to have a wedding in a beautiful buildings, and every person with an opportunity to have a funeral in a building which speaks of God’s love for everyone.
What’s best way to help my local church serve its community?
Give what you can – direct debit helps us to plan ahead and get more for your money
If you buy things online buy via the just giving scheme. Most online companies allow you to do this and the church will benefit by a penny in every pound you spend.
Leave the church a legacy in your will, either for general funds or a specific project that your church is running or hoping to run.
Donations at services you can gift aid it using the special envelope provided in church) the tax man will give additional money at no expense to you).
Come and support the Christmas Fair’, concerts etc
Your donations, whether a one off donation or regular giving make a real difference to real people (see Youtube – St Clements Welcome Project)
Even more important – come along and see for yourself. Church is about God and people first and foremost, and you are very very welcome.