Every parish has recently received two letters from Bishop Tim which were to be read out in our churches at the beginning of Lent. One asks us to care for our environment by thinking about what sources of energy we currently use and trying to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’, at home and in church. He suggests a ‘carbon audit’ – we can measure what we use, even if it’s only reading the electricity meter regularly, looking at our car mileage, and trying to reduce them. Christian Aid is also campaigning to get churches and congregations to switch to renewable energy – there’s a helpful website: www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk
The second letter suggests that we all talk about our faith, and tell other people our ‘stories of faith, love and hope’ in order to ‘grow the church’….
Our PCCs are considering how much we can afford to give towards the overall expenditure of the Diocese: these include costs of clergy, clergy houses, training, all the legal and financial advice available from Church House, and a contribution towards the cost of the archdeacons. Previously the calculation was based on a formula which should have meant that richer parishes helped those less able to contribute (except that not every parish paid its quota in full); now the suggestion is that each parish should be assessed on what its own actual costs are. As Veryan’s treasurer points out, “our income is largely unpredictable, and depends on several key items: how many extra services are held in the Church (marriages and funerals principally), how much is donated through collections and additional fund raising. The latter consists mainly of the parish magazine, booklets and guidebooks, the annual fete and 100 Club, all of which remain profitable, but which are small in the context of the Diocesan requirements. In addition, we can reasonably expect costly repairs to the Church building in the short to medium term. As we have asked our parishioners to help raise significant sums of money over the last 5 years for new windows and heating, it would be difficult to ask for more. Therefore, we need to keep some reserves for this.”
Your PCCs have some serious thinking to do!