From: Barry Ewbank, Lund, Driffield.
I RECENTLY overheard a comment after a church service that “it would have been nice if there had been a bit more heat on, surely with all the church’s money they can afford to pay to have them decently heated?”
This is a misconception, that seems to be very widely held, that everything is paid for from a central point and, because the Church of England is probably one of the largest land and property owners in the country, there must be plenty of money to finance the heating, lighting and so on in all the churches nationwide.
Each church runs its own finances and has to raise the money to pay for the heating and lighting, repairs, insurance, organist, and also a large amount each year to the diocese to pay for the clergy, their training and pensions.
We have heard on many occasions that large businesses are having problems financing their pension funds – the church is no different.
Many village churches have to raise three, four, five hundred pounds per week, that’s up to £25,000 a year, just to keep the doors open.
I hate to think what the costs are for the larger churches in our towns and cities.
The days of the country vicar looking after one church and its parishioners are long gone.
Anything up to a dozen churches under one vicar these days is the norm.
Part-time and unpaid clergy also come into the budgeting equation to allow for the balancing of the books in modern times.
This is why you still see the garden fetes, cheese and wine evenings, choir concerts, and many other fundraising events for the church taking place throughout the year.
In many cases these events are relied upon to raise much of the money needed to keep the local church open.
Another point to make is that it is not only the Church of England that this affects but many, if not all, of the other churches and chapels, belonging to other denominations around the country.
So next time you are at a wedding, christening, funeral, or just an ordinary church service, please remember that the money that you put into the collection will go a little way towards paying the costs of that particular church.
You don’t have to be a regular attender, but have you ever thought that by making a regular donation through a covenant this will allow your local church to claim money back from the taxman, and so effectively increase the amount you have given?
It all helps to keep the church doors open so that we can still have our wedding or christening in our local church.
So yes “it would be nice if there was a bit more heat on in the church”, but it is up to local people to support their local church and allow the finances to be sufficient to be able to afford to pay for the extra heating to keep them warm when they attend.
Hopefully worth thinking about.