The History of giving to the Church
Until about 150 years ago the Church of England was funded from local rates, burial fees and historic wealth. This paid both for clergy and church buildings. Church members gave regular small amounts in the collecting plate 'for the poor' and this money was treated solely as a charitable donation for the needy. Many non-churchgoers still have this idea that a few pence in the plate is all that is needed. Unfortunately things no longer work like this.
The Church of England Today
Today there are 13,000 parishes and 9,400 paid clergy. The historic wealth, administered by the Church Commissioners, yields £165m a year. However after paying for clergy pensions (£108m) and bishops and cathedrals (£23m) not a lot is left for parish churches and their clergy and the wider work of the church (£34m = an average of about £2600 per parish).
St. Giles Church
St. Giles Church undoubtedly benefits by more that its fair share from the historic wealth. We are part of Southwark diocese and this provides help with administration, training of clergy and lay people and many other things, We have our own building to maintain and we have plans to expand our work with young people and the elderly. All this costs serious money like anything else in life. The expenditure is decided by the democratically elected Church Council which you voted for around Easter-time. Last year our expenditure was £105,000. That's big business - all in Jesus' name! This has to be raised from our own resources.
What you can do
St. Giles has about 140 regular adult members. As one of these regular members you are asked to consider making a regular commitment towards this expenditure. How much? Well, everyone's circumstances are different. However as a 'rule of thumb', what is suggested - and what other parishes are achieving - is 5% of disposable income after tax. Most members give between £2 and £12 a week. But whatever you can give is valuable.
About Gift Aid
The new Gift Aid scheme makes it easy for any church to claim a bonus from regular giving. The income tax, which you have already paid through your PAYE, can be reclaimed by St. Giles at no extra cost or work from you. Please ask for the blue headed form, either Part A or if you don't pay tax Part B. That's all you ever need to do. For every £1 given by a taxpayer we can reclaim 28p. Not bad! Even if you are not working you probably still pay tax on your pension or your savings. This still counts for the rebate.
Ways of giving regularly
St. Giles has three convenient ways of giving regularly. 1) If you have a bank account then please consider a Bankers Order. Please ask for a form. 2) Many members use a set of numbered weekly envelopes. You will have seen plenty of these in the collecting plate. We have some spare sets this year and you could start straight away. Please ask Mary Adebiyi or Les this Sunday. 3) In the pews you will find some yellow envelopes. You can use one of these to enable us to reclaim the tax rebate. However as soon as you are happy that regular attendance at St. Giles is right for you it is best to move to method 1 or 2.
I assure all members that their giving is confidential. Only one person needs to know the names when the Gift Aid claim is made each year. Apart from this no church official knows the details of your personal covenant with God.
Les Alden On behalf of St. Giles' District Church Council
Stewardship Secretary: Les Alden, 189 Upland Road, SE22 0DG Tel:020 8693 5207