Let there be light?
The installation of the lights along the path at Holy Trinity has created a good deal of discussion amongst the congregation, and this has caused me to reflect on how their arrival may be used to shed a little light on the intricacies of the Parish finances.
I imagine that you may be thinking: “Hang on, Andy’s articles usually contain a note of pessimism about a lack of cash, if not an outright appeal for donations. How can we afford these lights?” The answer lies in the way that the Parish finances are organised on your behalf by the Parochial Church Council (PCC):-
Firstly, all income from Planned Giving (monthly direct debits & standing orders plus weekly envelopes), donations and fundraising goes towards paying for the day-to-day running costs of our church such as fuel bills, insurance, Parish Share etc. It is here that we struggle to keep on top of expenditure, hence the regular appeals for donations and the sterling efforts of the Social team and their fundraising activities. ‘Nice-to-have’ but non-essential costs such as the path lighting would not therefore happen unless the money could be found elsewhere.
‘Elsewhere’ in this instance relates to funds received in the form of legacies from parishioners and friends who have sadly passed away, but who so generously remembered the Parish when writing their Wills. Some legacies come with specific wishes about how the money should be used – usually on the fabric of the buildings. Where no such specific instructions are given it has long been PCC policy that these monies are put aside for building/graveyard improvements and repairs and, more recently, ‘capital projects’ that could not normally be afforded from day-to-day income.
The PCC always discusses any such projects before they can proceed and the idea for the lights came after a thorough assessment of our Health and Safety procedures undertaken by David Bateman last year. You may already have seen some results from this – new notices around church covering H & S issues plus new procedures for the Welcome teams. The potential risks of walking past the church in the dark were seen to be an important issue that we should tackle, and the added benefit is, of course, a much more welcoming approach to Holy Trinity as night draws in.
During my seven years as Treasurer we have received a good number of legacies, both large and small, and all have been put to good use to improve and secure the future of Holy Trinity – the roof repairs and new kitchen are a couple of the larger projects where significant contributions have been made. If there is a message that I wish to impart from this article it is therefore that your legacy, should you wish to make one, will be used to continue bringing that greater light – The Light of the World – to the people of our villages.
Andy Hampshire, Treasurer, January 2024