The gift of parish share

Julie RidgwayParish Share is used by our Diocese to pay for our clergy and other diocesan ministries. I much prefer the term ‘parish share’, rather than ‘quota’ as it describes this money as a gift, not an enforceable liability.

As Head of Finance, parish share usually comes into my day to day work – sometimes it completely dominates it!  Over the last year I have been warmly welcomed by many gatherings of people across our Diocese. I have attended Deanery Synods, met with benefice teams, treasurers, church wardens and clergy in the hope of listening to their concerns on parish share and hopefully clarifying what it is used for and also what it is not used for.

So what does this gift pay for? The ministries include stipends, pensions, national insurance, clergy homes (the maintenance of these together with the associated council tax and water rates) and training expenditure both for ordinands and current ministers.

A much smaller amount is spent on supporting our parishes through the teams at College Green; mission and ministry, HR and safeguarding, DAC, property, education, communications and finance. I think of these various teams at Church House as the support functions enabling amazing work to go on in so many places across our Diocese.

Our Diocese, like all other dioceses in the Church of England also contributes towards national Church responsibilities – so diocesan parish share, if you like.  This is included in our annual budget and like most things goes up each year.

Sometimes people think parish share includes paying for our Bishops, but this does not come from parish share. The Church Commissioners cover the costs of all the bishops and their support teams nationally.

The innovative Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) started in our Diocese – something we can truly rejoice about.  17 dioceses across the Church of England now participate in the scheme.  PGS is a 21st century solution to offset one of the greatest threats to parish income which is static giving. Donations made through this scheme use a Direct Debit. This can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Each donation is restricted to a parish church. PCC treasurers can view the claiming of gift aid as yet another onerous task that they need to attend to – if your Church joins PGS, the gift aid reclaimable on the gifts from your regular donors is done for you each month.

The PGS website explains that if PGS becomes the principal funding method for your Church, your giving will have been inflation-proofed, your cash-flow maximized and your administration kept to a minimum. This will free up your parish to focus on other important priorities.

We have produced a range of new materials to support your parish in communicating parish share, including an animated video and printable leaflets. We hope you find them useful and interesting.

By Mrs Julie Ridgway, Diocesan Head of Finance.

 

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