First of all, a Happy New Year to everyone.
After having had a lovely time seeing family and friends over Christmas and New Year I have now settled down to finishing off the church accounts at the end of the financial year. The good news for 2022 is that once again Holy Trinity & St Marks Parish has met all its financial commitments including the Parish Share. This is down to the hard work of everyone involved in the life of our church – it is worth repeating that, as a registered charity, we receive no income other than that generated by our own efforts and donations.
I will be giving a full report on 2022 at the annual church meeting in a few weeks time and so in this article I will do what you may also be doing, and look forward to the year ahead in 2023.
The Church in general, and our Parish in particular, will not be immune from the pressures that we are all seeing from the rise in our costs – inflation. We are told that inflation is running at about 10% and it is a brave forecaster who would try to predict whether this will rise or fall in the coming months. I am therefore fortunate that I already know by how much the majority of our expenditure will rise in the coming year.
This is because the Parish Share, which adds up to more than three-quarters of our total running costs, has already been fixed for the full year. Fortunately the 5% increase for 2023 is much lower than it might have been, but this will still add £4000 to our outgoings this year.
The other issue facing us all is of course the cost of gas and electricity. Here the news is better – we currently have fixed rate contracts for both Holy Trinity and St Marks, arranged through the Church of England’s central buying scheme. These last until July for St Marks and November for Holy Trinity. I arranged the contracts in 2020 when rates were much lower, so we will not see higher costs until next winter.
Everything else that we buy will probably carry on getting more expensive. For example, the cost of the coffee that we enjoy after services has increased by 25% in the last 18 months – the bill in 2022 was over £500 – so those donations that are left in the saucers are very much needed.
In summary, we will have to find an extra £4500 – £5000 just to stand still financially and it will come as no surprise that my reason for presenting these facts is that, as noted above, it is only by our own efforts and donations that we will be able to fill the resultant hole in our finances. We therefore need to think about how best this can be done.
Over half our income comes from the Planned Giving Scheme. With Gift Aid added the total received in 2022 was about £54000 and it doesn’t take a master-mathematician to work out that if this rose by inflation (10%) the hole would be more than filled.
There are about 90 members of the scheme at the moment – most paying by monthly standing order from their bank account. If another nine people joined, and paid the average amount (the equivalent of £10 per week), that would do the trick. Or, if everyone already in the scheme added 10%, an average of £4 per month, that would have the same effect. Anyone wishing to offer additional help via Planned Giving can do so in the following ways:-
A) If you are not a member at the moment, our preferred method is to take advantage of the Parish Giving Scheme which uses direct debit rather than standing order, thereby saving a huge amount of paperwork for both myself and David Bateman our Giving Secretary. You can find details by clicking on the link below. The scheme also has an option to increase your donation by the rate of inflation once per year
B) If you already give by standing order, and want to make an increase to your monthly amount, this can be done online if you bank that way, or a new form can be downloaded from our website on the following page link:
We are fortunate to have a thriving, welcoming church and that is down to the people in it, not money – but it does help!
Wishing everyone a peaceful New Year.