Almost £1billion sets new record in Church of England parish giving

30th July 2015

Parish Churches across the country raised a record £953 million in 2013 to fund the mission and ministry of the Church of England according to statistics published today. Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies.

Parishes have seen a combined increase in income of £24m over figures from 2012, and after total expenditure, which also decreased on 2012, saw a £33m surplus.

In addition to supporting the work of the Church at parish, diocesan and national level, Parishes have continued to give more than £46m to other organisations working around the world, from foodbanks and local children’s charities to international aid appeals.

Dr John Preston, the Church of England’s national stewardship adviser, said:

“With the latest financial statistics, we’ve seen average weekly giving rise in 2013 to our highest ever level. We rely on the generosity of our committed church members to support the mission and ministry of the Church. Post-downturn, people have really looked at what is important to them and found a sense of community and belonging within the Church.”

Average weekly giving per tax-efficient subscriber has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £11.60 in 2013. Average weekly giving per church member rose to £7 in 2013, matching the peak level seen in 2009.The average ‘Church member’ contributed 3.3% of their income to the Church. with 2.9% to general funds, and a further 0.4% to special purpose funds.
 
The information in the Finance statistics document is collated from the annual parish returns, and is available at:
https://www.churchofengland.org/media/2265027/2013financestatistics.pdf

Where does the Sheffield Diocese fit in?

The congregations of churches in the Diocese of Sheffield have worked hard over the last twenty years to promote generous Christian Stewardship and Giving in order to support the mission and ministry of their parishes.  This work has mainly been done by a network of Parish Giving Directors working with their clergy and PCCs.  The network was developed and resourced for many years by Mr Nick Hutton who was the Diocesan Christian Giving Director for over 10 years and part of the National Stewardship team. 

This work has helped many parishes respond to relatively high requests for Parish Share (as a proportion of parish income) to support the ministry of the stipendiary clergy in the Diocese including meeting the  challenge of increased pension contributions whilst also resourcing the local mission of their churches.  This hard work promoting Christian Stewardship and Giving has helped the Diocese of Sheffield, one of the most socially deprived in the country (37/40), to continue to maintain an extraordinarily high level of Christian giving.  Now, the latest finance statistics suggest that church members in the Diocese are the most generous in terms of the proportion of their income that is given for the work of the church and the 8th most generous in absolute terms.

One of the parishes in the Diocese that has embraced the Christian Stewardship and Giving Challenge over a number of years is the Parish of Ardsley in the Wath Deanery.  This parish on the edge of Barnsley is typical of many parishes in the Diocese.  It has a population of 6,300 with a Usual Sunday Attendance of 55 adults and 8 children and is in the bottom 15% of parishes nationally according to deprivation indexes.   Despite having a relatively high number of pensioners they have continued to give generously to support the mission and ministry of their church. 

Over twenty years ago the PCC took a decision not to fund raise through events but to challenge people to give generously out of Christian Fellowship.  At the same time the PCC decided to demonstrate Christian generosity by committing to giving away 10% of their income to charitable causes each year.   The parish treasurer, who has also held the role of parish director of giving, has managed to develop a committed christian Stewardship programme.  Regular teaching about discipleship from the pulpit and in church groups has been supplemented with teaching using resources from the National Stewardship team and the Diocesan Giving Director. 

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