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A time to sow
Each year around 5,000 people leave a gift in their wills to a Church of England parish. In total, parishes receive over £50 million each year – money to finance mission projects, maintain beautiful church buildings, or enable some other aspect of church life. These gifts make a real difference to the future work of the Church –as regular giving is often consumed maintaining the existing mission and ministry. Some parishes accept these as a welcome and unexpected gift, whilst others openly encourage their people to leave a Gift in their will to their church.
For many people, leaving a gift in a will is a final opportunity to say thank you to God for God’s blessing to them and to help the development of their church family.
Why every Christian should have a will
Jesus taught us that our life does not consist only of abundance of our possessions, and that we should be wise stewards. Ever since the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer, the Church of England has highlighted the importance of making wills and keeping them up to date.
Every year many thousands of people die without leaving a will. This can cause unnecessary complications for their families and friends, and can often mean that their wishes are not carried out.
There are several good reasons why we should encourage people to make a will: pastoral care, good personal financial management, and teaching on Christian stewardship.
Making a will and keeping it up to date is a simpler and less expensive process than many people imagine.
The single most important step a PCC can take in order to encourage gifts in Wills is to make a legacy policy and communicate it to the congregation. Most people will only leave gifts in their Wills if they think the church will use them for worthwhile projects rather than simply paying the bills. Having a policy reassures potential donors that legacies gifts are taken seriously by the church and will be used to make a real difference. Having a policy can also prevent unpleasant disagreements amongst the PCC about how a gift would be used.
Guidance and advice notes for Parishes encouraging Gifts in Wills
A range of resources have been created specifically to help parishes introduce the subject of Gifts in Wills to church. The materials include: A bookmark, leaflet, poster and Gifts in Wills information pack.
These materials are not available for download, to order supplies for your parish please email alternatively call Helen Richardson 01452 835522