A Parish Review of Giving
A focus for Lent?
We live in troubled times. As Christians we are seeing church numbers declining and are aware also that we are an ageing congregation. As Christians too, we know that we must look for the Spirit moving and move in that direction.
As a church we have taken a positive step in faith. We believe in the young people as inheritors of, and our hope for the world. We have shown that we have a determination to share with young people, the Word of God.
In order to search active ways of reaching out to them, we have launched the Youth Hub and employed our Youth and Families worker. How this develops will be a flexible response to the need we find.
As a church we have been enormously blessed by the legacy from Ray and Mary Burrell. Following their hopes that we should benefit from the Hall as a venue for events and also that the Scouts should always have a place to meet, we have had the finances to carry out the renovations that were needed. Blessed too by revenue from our Church Estates, the beautiful church building is being kept in a good state of repair. We hope as well, that as our heating system begins to fail, that we can raise the funds to replace it too. We are indeed very fortunate and as a congregation contribute to the church funds too, by our own giving scheme.
We are much blessed.
Yet in David’s payer of blessing (1 Chronicles 29v13-14), we are reminded;
“Now therefore, our God, we give you thanks and we praise Your glorious name. Yet my people and I cannot really give you anything, because everything is a gift from you, and we have only given back what is Yours already.”
Lent is a time to review. Perhaps this Lent time we could, as a congregation, take on a review of our giving in the light of our commitment to reach out to our community and hand on the faith to future generations.
All things come from you, O lord, And of Your own do we give You.
At a diocesan conference last year, I hadn’t listened to Bishop David very long before I realised that he could be talking directly to me.
I needed to see my church giving as a response to God’s Goodness; as part of my discipleship; as necessary for God’s work; as a means of receiving God’s blessing; recognising that it’s all God’s anyway!
I just hand in my collection each week! I never review it and really don’t consider it in the light of inflation anyway.
So I really must pay attention to this.
If I had been happy to give £40 a month in 2012, with gift aid, Church would have received £50. By 2022, if I had been increasing in line with inflation, my tax efficient gift to Church would be £68.51. But with me being a static giver, in all likelihood Church would still just be getting £50.
£222.14 a year less. Multiply this by all Church givers and this represents a massive shortfall!
If we were running a charity we wouldn’t do very well with this lack of attention to detail. So the PCC has agreed that we should review our giving as a congregation, and join the Parish Giving Scheme.
The Parish Giving Scheme is a Church of England scheme paid for by the Diocese. It is based on a monthly direct debit arrangement instead of the envelope scheme or bank standing order. There is an option to increase your giving by the cost of inflation, but this is an option only and not obligatory. In fact the scheme is flexible; a donor can contact at any time to decrease or increase the amount given if a donor’s circumstances change. The scheme automatically collects any gift aid, if that is due each month and then sends the total sum to the Church.
Just think of the time and trouble this will save Lynnette once the system is set up! Lynnette has to spend, literally, hours each week dealing with the cash from the envelope scheme. And just think how much more easily we will be able to budget when we have a regular and more predictable income collected like this.
We do not, however to propose to abandon the envelope scheme altogether, just encourage folk to consider this new direct debit way of giving.
There is no doubt that we are at a point that we have to address our financial position before a new incumbent arrives.
Our priority at Haxey, must surely be now to set aside a time of prayer to consider how we should proceed, and Lent gives us this opportunity.
We have a very clear vision as a Church that we are being called to reach out to our community. The conference I attended reminded us of the principle of a tithe. As a guide to our giving this is helpful, but each person should give what he/she has decided in his/her heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion… cheerfully. ( 2 Corinthians 9.7 )
We have a strong history of generous response to appeals at Haxey. Many of us give to many different charities and causes, so the Church of England suggests as a guide for us, that 5% of our income is a suggested proportion to give to our local church.
For example: 5% of a £20,000 a year income would be a £83 monthly donation.
We have a mission as a church.
We should raise the resources we need, to be the Church we need to be. It is up to us. If we don’t give enough to the Church, how can we expect others to?
Peter Tully (Churchwarden)