PCC meets on Monday evening

Our diocese has this year made a big change in how we go about calculating the amount of parish share each church gives. Church members need to know about it.

The Former Calculation Approach

Some years ago, that amount was calculated on the basis of three things:

  • The anonymous income survey
  • The number of members on the electoral roll
  • Average Sunday attendance

The diocese put the various factors in its computer and parishes were told the result. It was a surprisingly good system. St John’s was at times, faced with large increases and we discovered, sometimes to our surprise, that we could meet them, when we acted together in faith and with generosity.

The Recent Pledge Approach

Six years ago the diocese went over to a new system. No specific request would be made. That experiment produced mixed results. Parishes would voluntarily pledge the maximum amount they felt they could give. Many churches responded with heart-warming and inspiring generosity, not least in the poorest areas. Sadly others did not. Last December, Diocesan Synod, faced with a deficit budget called for a new way forward.

Is the New System a Calculation approach or a Pledge approach?

It remains a pledge based system. But there is more than just pledging involved. There will be guidance to help each parish understand its situation, to know what generosity looks like and to respond in faith. Every parish will make its response based on the same principles as every other.

The local circumstances of each church are taken into account in the following three ways.

  • Unrestricted income – This is the income each church receives through giving, weddings and funerals and hire of the building.
  • Weekly attendance – I guess that is self explanatory.
  • Indices of Multiple Deprivation – This is the government measure of deprivation. Every parish is ranked by the National church according to its IMD. If you are the least deprived in the country your rank will be 12,599, if you are the most deprived it’ll be 1. In our diocese we range from 31 to 12,000’s.

These three factors are put together and a calculation is sent to the PCC.

None of the metrics are perfect. They are indicators. But our diocese is making a genuine attempt at blending generosity with fairness so the wealthiest churches give more and the poorest give less. All be united in the grace of giving.