Thank you again!
I am delighted that the Board of Finance accounts for 2016 show that parishes contributed just over £390,000 extra in parish share payments than in the previous year. Contributions received for 2016 represented 95.33% of the amount requested which itself was an increase of 0.58% over 2015. We are truly blessed in having so many people who are committed to giving for the work of spreading the gospel throughout our diocese. The cost of providing and supporting parochial clergy was a bit more than £13.2m which was 90% of our total unrestricted expenditure. Every single pound given in parish share went to help provide that support. In other words, we are entirely dependent on the parish share to provide parish priests. We are most grateful for the sometimes sacrificial contributions that parishioners have made.
Overall, the Common Fund had a surplus of just over £73,000 which is a bit less than one half of one percent of our expenditure; in other words we just about broke even. Setting the budget becomes more of a challenge each year and the Board of Finance is mindful of the tensions in many places in the diocese: we do try to take account of the amount that can reasonably be asked in terms of parish share whilst at the same time attempting to resource ministry in all its forms, including training sufficient people for the medium term.
2016 was a year when we able to do more of what God wants us to do: preaching and teaching and ministering to others. Let’s pray that we can do continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout this coming year.
There for refugees since 1945
Christian Aid was set up by British churches in 1945 to support hundreds of thousands of refugees who had lost homes and possessions in the Second World War. Since 1957, Christian Aid Week has raised funds for this vital work that still continued in the aftermath of the war.
For 60 years, tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers have come together for Christian Aid Week each May to raise vital money for those most in need. It is a great expression of Christian witness across the country. Thanks to everyone who gives, Christian Aid has been there for refugees, providing essential food, shelter and legal assistance.
Contact: Adrian Whalley, Awhalley@christian-aid.org
Changes to grant schemes for church buildings
The Heritage Lottery Fund’s Grants for Places of Worship Scheme is coming to an end in August 2017.
The money currently available under the scheme will in future be available through the ‘Our Heritage’ strand of lottery funding. What will change is that it will cease to be ring-fenced for listed places of worship.
The Church Buildings Division of the Archbishops’ Council advises that many churches that would have applied for funds up to £100k can relatively easily transfer to the Our Heritage Scheme. This fund does not have a capped annual budget but responds to need. Overall the requirements for applicants and the chances of success are roughly equivalent to GPOW. The main difference is that Our Heritage is a one-stage scheme and so there is no development phase. They suggest that churches in this category consider transferring to this scheme with immediate effect. This will free up the remaining £16.6m in the GPOW scheme this year for churches with £101k- £250k projects.
From September, these churches will have to apply to the more complex Heritage Grants Scheme which requires a higher level of documentation than GPOW and has different outcome requirements. Heritage Grants projects, often include repairs but not usually as the central factor.