I’m so pleased that this Sunday we will all be able to sing again in Church! One or two of us might be feeling a bit rusty, but as the person who taught me campanology used to say, ‘it’s like riding a bike’. It will be another change – a really good change I hope! – on our unfolding pandemic experience.
Somewhere else where there is some change, or at least some gentle progress, is around our plans for Reordering. Thank you to everyone who responded to the initial consultation over the winter. Here is a summary of the results if you missed it: click here. This initial consultation confirmed that the church family is very much in favour of pursuing reordering and it also raised lots of good ideas and questions! The next step is to reach out to the wider community and to ask for their feedback. To this end the Reordering Committee will hold a consultation exhibition in church on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September, focussing on the three aspects of our vision for reordering: welcome, worship and wider community use. There will be some sketches of how things could look along with some examples from other churches. Everyone will be able to leave their feedback and the committee will be on hand to speak to. I encourage the church family to come and see how things have developed and to contribute any further thoughts. The Reordering group will then use the feedback to further refine plans in consultation with the Diocese and others so that we can start to take them forward.
Meanwhile, something which is not changing is our operating budget shortfall of around £3,000 a year. In other words, we are £3,000 short of what it costs to run the church every year (not new activities and not reordering, which will have its own funding). Clearly this is not sustainable or desirable. Many people, even those connected to church, do not know that we receive no funding from the Government, or the central church. Our finances are our responsibility. We should aim as a minimum to be breaking even, but running at a surplus would enable us to run new activities, or develop existing ones; it would give us some headroom for unexpected costs; and it would allow us to plan to give money as a church family to other causes, rather than through ad hoc special collections.
How can you help meet this challenge? The best thing you can do if you don’t yet is ‘planned giving’. This means setting up a standing order to All Saints, gift aided if you are a UK taxpayer. In order to set up a standing order and to make a Gift Aid declaration please contact Eric Martin: 01923 267604. At present, planned giving plus Gift Aid brings in around £46,000 a year. However, our major cost of the Parish Share is £52,000 on top of which are all our other running costs. The rest of our income is made up of hall hire, fees and fundraising, and despite all our efforts here that £3,000 shortfall remains.
So, please can I encourage you to consider setting up a monthly standing order? As a starter, I suggest the price of a coffee a week, so around £2.50 or £3, in other words a Standing order of about £10 a month. This is part of this year’s 10:10:10 Stewardship campaign which I will be introducing on Sunday and about which you will receive a letter via email in the next couple of weeks.
Many clergy do not like talking about money. However, if clergy don’t explain the situation, we will keep relying on those ‘in the know’ and we exclude those who would like to help – if they knew the need! If you would like to speak to me about any of this then please get in touch.
Our generosity is a response to the abundant generosity of God that we see most of all in Jesus. And I hope we’ll feel something of God’s joyful abundance as we sing together on Sunday.
With my love and prayers for you,
All Saints Vicarage,
Thursday 29th July 2021