DIOCESAN COMMON FUND
Parish Share Scheme
(Text last updated: August 2021)
This scheme has been in operation since 1995. It has been well received and the Diocesan Board of Finance is very grateful to the parishes for their continuing contributions under the scheme to support the ministry of the Church in the Diocese of St. Albans.
Supporting the work of the Church in the Diocese of St. Albans
Each year, the Diocesan Synod agrees a budget for the expenditure from the Diocesan Common Fund. The principal part of Diocesan Common Fund expenditure relates to the cost of providing clergy to minister in our parishes; their stipends and related costs, their housing and training, both pre and post ordination. Money is also required to fund the work of the wider Church in our diocese, in providing support services and resources for parish ministries, and also a contribution towards the costs of the National Church.
Funding the work of the Church in the Diocese of St. Albans
The Diocesan Common Fund receives income from parochial fees, glebe rents and investments, lettings of Parsonage Houses during vacancy periods together with other general income and some minor grants from the Church’s historic resources. The remaining income, required to support the work of the churches in this diocese, comes from the contributions made by each parish – the Parish Share of the Common Fund.
Typically more funding is budgeted to support ministry in parishes (89% of expenditure in the 2019 budget) than is received via Parish Share from parishes (85% of income in the 2019 budget). £14.3m will be spent by St Albans Diocese in 2019 on mission and ministry directly supporting parishes paying 244 licensed clergy, their housing, training and other parish ministry costs.
The main principles of the Parish Share scheme are that:
- all parishes should contribute towards the direct cost of clergy ministry in the parish,
- the Diocesan Budget or Common Fund should allow some support for less affluent from more affluent parishes,
- a small budget should be available to support parishes with particular needs.
HOW THE PARISH SHARES ARE CALCULATED
Basis of Calculation
There are two key elements which reflect the scheme’s principles as set out above:
- Stipend Contribution
A contribution towards the cost of the provision of clergy
- Ministry Support Contribution
A contribution linked to church membership within the parish and their potential ability to give
This is based on:
- The actual cost of Stipend, and related Statutory National Insurance and also contributions to the (National Church) Clergy Pension Scheme
- Less a deduction to reflect a share of:
- Pooled Diocesan Stipends Fund income and Glebe income
- Parochial Fees remitted to the Diocesan Common Fund
In specific cases where Chaplaincy Income has been received by the DBF, this is offset against the Stipend Contribution. Where clergy are shared between parishes, the stipend contribution is shared by mutual agreement of the parishes concerned.
Stipends are reviewed each April. As the diocesan financial year ends in December, an annualised figure for the stipend used in parish share calculations is derived to allow for the first quarter at one rate followed by the following three quarters at the new rate.
National Insurance and pension contributions
The national insurance contributions element of the contribution is based on statutory tables, adjusted to allow for average variations arising from the clergy heat and light contributions scheme. The pension element of the stipend charge is based on the actual contribution charged per clergy by the fund managers, together with an amount to cover the annual contribution to the Church Commissioners in respect of the provision of clergy housing for retired ministers (“Vote 5”).
Standard grant from historic resources
Each parish receives a standard grant in respect of each of its stipendiary clergy, made from the resources available for this purpose from glebe rents and investments. Where the stipend payable is not the usual amount e.g. because of a vacancy or because the incumbent is shared, the grant is altered accordingly.
The total income from parochial fees payable to incumbents across the diocese is pooled each year and shared by way of a standard grant in respect of each incumbent (as only incumbents are eligible to receive parochial fees).
There are a few parochial ministers who also have a chaplaincy role (e.g. prison, hospital). In these cases, the parish is credited with the actual amount of the chaplaincy income (net of expenses and the current additional earnings allowance).
Stipend contribution during a Vacancy Period
A proportionate reduction is made to the Stipend Contribution during a vacancy period, which is limited to 20% throughout the entire vacancy period.
Where a parish shares the ministry of an incumbent with other parishes or with a diocesan post, a proportion of the stipend is allocated to each parish. This proportion between parishes is by mutual agreement of the parishes concerned.
A Stipend Contribution for curate in training posts is now no longer requested. Instead the stipend costs will be shared by all parishes as part of the Ministry Support Contribution. The parish share request for parishes with curates in training will however be subject to an adjustment as a contribution towards housing costs.
Where a parish provides a house, a credit rental sum will be given according to the ‘wealth’ of a parish based on their number of shares. If the DBF provides the house, the parish would be charged a notional rent based on the number of shares as follows:
|PCC Owned||DBF Owned|
The percentage contribution payable by the PCC or the DBF will be based on the actual rent paid or, where the property is already owned, on the estimated market rent. It is anticipated that any adjustment for housing provision be agreed with the PCC at an early stage, and included in notices of appointment.
Non-Stipendiary Priest-in-Charge/House-for-Duty Priests
Parishes in the care of either of the above are asked to contribute towards ministry costs in order to support stipendiary ministry in the diocese. This contribution will be negotiated by the Archdeacon with the parish concerned in consultation with the Deanery Parish Shares Committee.
MINISTRY SUPPORT CONTRIBUTION
The majority of the Parish Share paid under this heading relates to direct support for parish clergy, (e.g. housing and training support). Other areas covered include:
- Stipend costs of curates-in-training
- Diocesan staff supporting parish ministry
- Contribution to the National Church
- Contribution to the work undertaken via the Board for Church and Society.
The parish Ministry Support Contribution is calculated as a number of shares of a certain value and is intended to take into account each congregation’s potential ability to give.
The method of calculation is as follows:
- Church Membership Figure (CMF):
- Electoral Roll (ER) averaged over 3 years
- Usual Sunday Attendance (USA) averaged over 3 years
- Weighted average applied in Parish Share calculation uses USA : ER weighted 3 : 2
- Share Factor (SF):
- a factor between 0.25 and 3.0 is allocated. SF seeks to recognise variations between parishes in ‘ability to pay’.
- Number of Shares: CMF x SF calculated parish by parish.
- Value per Share, determined from Total Ministry Support budget divided by the total aggregated number of shares to derive a standard contribution per share.
- Ministry Support Contribution: Number of shares x the Value per Share
Using the Electoral Roll and Usual Sunday Attendance figures to calculate a value per share means that the final share value is dependent on changes across the whole Diocese. This impacts the actual charge to an individual parish. It is beyond the control of an individual parish and can have unintended consequences. One of these to increase the Ministry Support Contribution beyond a normal level. An element of moderation is included to protect against this whilst the overall parish share requirement remains as agreed at Synod.
The Share Factor triennial review
Every three years, deaneries will ask each parish to assess its congregation’s ability or potential to give, in relation to the other parishes in its deanery and the diocese, within the range 0.25 – 3.00. 0.25 indicates a congregation with extremely limited potential to give, while 3.00 indicates a congregation with exceptionally high potential.
The deanery body which deals with Parish Shares is supplied with a list of current share factors and a general recommendation from DPSC about the aggregate number of shares presently allocated to each deanery.
Parishes should agree their own SF with their respective Deanery Synod standing committee or other body appointed by the Deanery Synod, which will then forward recommendations to the respective Archdeacon, who in turn will bring these findings to the Diocesan Parish Shares Committee (PASC). The resulting share allocations will be checked again by PASC to ensure consistency, reasonableness and comparability across the diocese.
In considering specific Share Factors, the PASC will endeavour to take into account the make-up of the area in which a particular parish is set. Factors which are relevant to the setting of the parish share factor would include relative wealth or deprivation, and such other things as the parish’s financial liabilities and their per capita giving.
If there are exceptional circumstances in relation to the composition of the congregation, this may be considered relevant. However, where a specific congregation is predominantly of the same age demographic, this, by itself, would not necessarily indicate the need for a share factor revision. Another factor that will be taken into consideration is where, in the case of larger churches, the stipend contribution for a larger church represents a lower charge on each individual member. It is important that each parish should consider its congregation’s potential to give, rather than past or present levels of giving.
The review exercise can never be an entirely mathematical one, and pastoral factors will also be taken into consideration, drawing from the consultation process based on feedback from parishes, through deaneries, to the respective Archdeacons.
If a parish is unable to reach agreement with the deanery on its SF, the matter may be referred by either party to PASC, which will make a final assessment.
PASTORAL AID SUPPORT GRANTS
Pastoral Aid Support Grants will be considered under two categories:
- grants to parishes which need additional support to maintain an appropriate level of ministry, which the Board describes as ‘mission aided parishes’, and
- grants to parishes facing exceptional and unforeseen difficulties.
A limited number of grants will be made to parishes in the first category where longer term support is needed, and these will be the subject of discussions between the Archdeacon, Rural Dean and Lay Chair.
Grants in the second category should be regarded as temporary and will not usually be given for more than two years in succession. Where parishes have anticipated being able to apply for a third or successive year, the Diocesan Parish Shares Committee will consider such applications but will wish to know:
- that the parish has submitted a Mission Action Plan in response to Living God’s Love
- how the parish has addressed stewardship and the scope for increasing giving in order to remove the need for additional support from other parishes.
The Church Growth Officer, is available to offer assistance to parishes in this situation, and can be contacted at the Diocesan Office.
Applications for the second category of grants should be submitted on the form provided and parishes should ensure that their annual Accounts, Mission Statistics form and annual Return of Parish Finance have been submitted to the Diocesan Office.
All applications must be supported by, and should be submitted through, the deanery. Parishes who wish to apply for a grant are therefore encouraged to contact their deanery at the earliest opportunity in order to meet any deadlines set by the deanery.
In every year there will be some parishes which are unable to meet the full stipend and other costs of their clergy, as identified in the Parish Share calculation. This may be due to exceptional circumstances at one particular time, or it may be an on-going situation because of the nature of the parish. To help with these needs, a Pastoral Aid Support Grant Fund is available.
THE ROLE OF THE DEANERY PARISH SHARES COMMITTEE
(This role may be exercised by a separate committee or by the deanery standing committee or pastoral committee, as the deanery decides)
- To agree appropriate share factors with each parish and to maintain the resulting aggregated number of shares of the parishes within the deanery.
- To make receive applications from and make recommendations on behalf of parishes for pastoral aid support grants for parishes in the deanery.
- To take appropriate action in the case of parishes with a shortfall in Parish Share contributions, including the need to make recommendations to the PASC for writing off sums in particular cases.
NOTIFICATION OF PARISH SHARES
Each parish is notified during December of its Parish Share for the following year with an early indication of a likely figure, for budgetary purposes, having already been given in August.
The calculation is based upon numbers of clergy in post, stipend levels etc. which are current or known when the calculation is made. Adjustments may be necessary during the year arising from subsequent changes in these factors.
REGULAR PAYMENT OF PARISH SHARE
All parishes are urged, where possible, to arrange for their Parish Shares to be paid by monthly instalments. Although this may mean that individual parishes lose a small amount of income, it does enable the monthly stipends and salaries bill to be met through the Common Fund without recourse to short-term bank loans, which otherwise impose an additional burden on the following year’s Common Fund.