Here to help
Mission Area Support Team Lead
Common Fund is the key regular income stream to support ongoing mission and ministry in the Diocese.
Traditionally the Common Fund has provided over 50% of regular income into the Diocese and the ambition in our Renewed, Released, Rejuvenated Strategy is to grow the level of Common Fund to sustainable levels by 2025.
The last year has continued to be challenging for us all. Covid recovery has been compounded by cost of living increases, high energy prices, high inflation and a high degree of economic uncertainty.
In our Diocese there is a worshipping community of approximately 16,600 lay people, 173 Parishes grouped into 54 Mission Areas, all serving 1.3 million people across Doncaster, Goole, Rotherham, Sheffield, some areas of Barnsley and their subsidiary towns and villages.
There are 156* Parish Clergy, which breaks down as: 115 Stipendiary Clergy (85 incumbent level, 24 curates, 27 externally funded posts, 7 supported by their local parish). We also have 2 House for Duty Ministers and 41 Self-Supporting Ministers.
*This data was correct in August 2023.
Provisional Pledge Process
In 2024 we will be continuing to use the provisional pledge system. This has been set up to enable parishes to pledge by the October deadline even if they have been unable to hold a PCC meeting to formally approve their pledge amount for 2024. You will find the option to make your pledge provisional within the main pledge form. It includes a request for a date of when the request will be approved so we don’t chase you before it is reasonable. The provisional pledge is a stop gap for those parishes where PCCs are unable to meet before 31 October. The provisional pledge will help us to begin early work on the budget. We hope that most if not all parishes will be able to formally approve and submit their pledges by the October deadline.
Our deadline this year – 31 October 2023
If you would like to discuss your pledge with someone on the finance team or you have questions or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What is the Common Fund?
The Common Fund is the way we share resources throughout the Diocese of Sheffield, enabling mission and ministry in every community we serve, primarily enabling us to pay the stipends of our Oversight Ministers. Through PCCs, our parishes generously contribute to the Common Fund and so we support one another as we seek the Kingdom of God in our neighbourhoods, towns and villages.
The resources which PCCs give into the Common Fund are the “financial life blood” of the Diocese because every year the Common Fund is by far the largest source of regular funding into the Diocese. (Please see the answers to Questions 2)
While every year we get a variety of general and specific grants mainly from the Church of England nationally, it is the resources of the Common Fund which pay for so many of the ongoing costs of ministry across our Diocese. We are providing more information on the recent successful award of Transformation Funding under questions 5 and 6.
Q2: What activities and expenditure are supported by the Common Fund?
It is a crucial part of the 2025 Strategy to continue to see the Diocese of Sheffield grow a sustainable network of Christ-like, lively and diverse Christian communities in every place which are effective in making disciples and in seeking to transform our society and God’s world.
Resources that come in via the Common Fund largely go towards ministry costs. If you have a vicar, curate or oversight minister (unless they are Self Supporting or they are specific local appointments), their employment, housing, and various support cost are paid for by the Diocese mainly from Common Fund.
Q3: How can I encourage generosity in my parish?
Generosity is key to the life of every church. We have been fortunate to receive grant funding which has enabled us to recruit our Generosity Team, made up of Libby Culmer, Luke Bunting, Paul Sheridan, Claire Stinson and Janet Daye. They have already begun to work directly with parishes and have been developing resources to help you to encourage generosity. One of those resources was Generous June which includes materials that can be used at any time and look at all aspect of generosity, not just financial Generosity.
To access the resources and find out more about how this team can support you, and to get in touch with them, please visit www.sheffield.anglican.org/generosity or email them at email@example.com.
Q4: How practically does my PCC pay our Common Fund Pledge?
The most helpful way to pay is by regular bank transfer, preferably monthly.
- Bank transfers can be sent to:
Virgin Money PLC (Yorkshire Bank)
Account Name: Sheffield Diocesan Board of Finance
Sort code 050438
Account Number 54947905
Please ensure that you indicate the name of your PCC/parish and that it relates to Common Fund eg use a reference such as StMaryBramallCF
If you are not able to set up a bank transfer, there are two other ways for the PCC to make Common Fund payments; via a PayPal Link on the diocesan website or by Cheque.
- You can pay online using PayPal Button link https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=SHWNT8VPW2HNS
- Cheques payable to “Sheffield Diocesan Board of Finance” can be mailed to:
95-99 Effingham Street,
Please include a note that clearly states that it is a Common Fund payment and which Parish it is from (include the place as well as the church name). If you are using one cheque to pay for several things please also list them clearly with amounts.
It is very important that you include a clear reference with every payment type, so we can properly assign the payment against your pledge. Here is an example of how to reference your payment:
Please do include location as well as a church name as there are several churches in the diocese with similar or identical names.
Timing of your payments to the Diocese
Cash flow is very important to the day-to-day operations of the Diocese. Making your church or parish Common Fund payment either early in the financial year or on a regular monthly basis is really helpful.
In any year that a deficit budget is approved for the Diocese, it means we are likely to have to sell some of our investments during the year in order to pay our regular bills such as clergy stipend. This reduces the investment income into the Diocese and may result in some activities or spending having to be paused or stopped. We have to plan ahead and so knowing when we will receive your payment to us is very important. Please do keep in touch with us and give us advance warning if you need to change how you normally pay us.
Q5: What new posts have been created and how are they funded?
You may have heard a lot about new staff at Church House and the new ministry model that is being rolled out across the diocese. All the posts listed below while centrally employed by SDBF are locally deployed to work with parishes and deaneries.
- Book keepers
- Buildings Officers
- Giving and Generosity officers
- Lights for Christ enabler
- Posts to support Focal Ministry
- Associate Archdeacons
They are paid for by the National Grant funding we have received and they are all on fixed term contracts. This means they have been brought in to support the work you do on the ground. Full details on our transformation and national funding can be read here.
Q6: What is focal and oversight ministry?
Focal Ministry recognises and celebrates the calling of Christians to play their part in the Mission and Ministry of their church, under God. Focal Ministers are local leaders of their churches, usually ministering as part of a small team. As local representatives, they provide a focus for both the local congregation and the wider community. Working with the Oversight Minister in their Mission Area, they support the church in all its fullness. They will seek to mobilise the whole people of God for the whole mission of God, enabling all the baptised to enter into the fulness of their baptismal calling to shine as a light for Christ in the world to the glory of God the Father. We would encourage you to watch this helpful animation that highlights the vision behind this important work.
You can read more about Focal Ministry
Q7: How has Church House looked to reduce costs? And what is our Hybrid work model?
As you have seen the numbers of staff increase I’m sure you have had questions regarding whether this has increased office and day to day running costs. To help keep these costs as low as possible, a Hybrid working system has been developed where team members can utilize the facilities at Church House, which means we have not needed to increase office space and all the associated costs that would go along with that.
In addition, many of our central support team are paid-for through ring-fenced transformation funding.