Neither the Church of England as a central organisation nor its individual parish churches receive any public funds. They rely on raising funds to pay for the upkeep of the buildings, staff stipends (salaries) and charitable giving through the generosity of parishioners, largely through offertory collections, stewardship schemes, and fund-raising activities. The central Church organisation assesses each parish as to its ability to pay an annual amount towards its maintenance (the Common Fund), including the stipends of clergy at all levels. What is left is used by individual churches for their own functioning and for supporting chosen charities. St James's also needs to spend on maintaining the church and the hall buildings. It also gives grants to other charities, both locally and abroad; there is a policy to spend 10% of the general income in this way.
The finance committee, chaired by the treasurer, meets three or four times a year to discuss the financial situation, how major items should be funded and to make recommendations to the PCC. It considers the accounts in detail before they are submitted to the PCC and the parish, and towards the end of each year it prepares a budget for the next year. In particular it is concerned with the planned giving income and the decision of the amount of the Common Fund allocation to the Diocese and the allocation to charities. It works closely with the planned giving committee whose role is to enhance and develop this major source of income as much as possible.
The Church of England has always been registered as a charity but new rules were agreed that all churches with an annual income over £100,000 had to register with the Charity Commissioners to receive their own charity number. This was a convoluted process as all PCC members would become trustees of the church. St James’s Church was given its own charity number - 1129286.
The church receives income from donations and fund raising activities, and by hiring out the hall. However, the chief source of income is from the regular giving of the members of the Planned Giving Scheme, which together with the tax refund that can be recovered on this money, brings in nearly 70% of the income.
The planned giving committee is responsible for the running and development of the scheme. The recorder keeps confidential records and reclaims the tax on Gift Aid donations. All the money to pay clergy, provide housing and pensions, maintain buildings, support local or overseas mission work etc. is given by individual parishioners.
What is Planned Giving?
Giving to St James's
An alternative way of giving is by using the weekly white envelopes or the blue gift aid envelopes. Some people choose to put cash in the collection plate. We are, of course, grateful for this, but it does mean the church misses out on the 25% tax reclaim.
The future is in our hands
We hope that you will review your giving (can you increase it?), join the Planned Giving scheme if you don’t already use it, and help us recover the tax paid by signing the Gift Aid form. Thank you.
Read the 2017 leaflet Giving in Grace.