We hope that you are managing to stay well during this unprecedented situation. It is obviously difficult for all of us at this time when our church buildings are closed and pastoral support is limited to telephone conversations. We are keenly aware that we are not able to offer the kind of support which some people desperately need.
We are trying to maintain contact with as many of you as possible by email, and by the hand delivery of the weekly notice sheets, and we know that many of you appreciate this. The online Sunday morning services via Zoom have also proved popular and it is good to see new faces joining us every week. We do, of course, look forward to the time when our buildings can reopen and we can, once again, meet face to face.
Unfortunately, this is also a difficult time financially for our churches. Although some of our running costs, e.g. utility bills, will be lower as a result of the buildings being closed, other costs remain. It is even more important than ever to pay for insurance; photocopying still has to be paid for; as do clergy expenses. Our biggest cost, parish share, also has to be paid as the diocese still has to meet its financial obligations. It should be recognised that the diocese is working hard to support parishes at this time. When there are no services in church there are no plate collections. The fact that funerals and weddings cannot be held in churches means that the fees we normally receive from those services are not coming in.
We are, therefore, asking you to consider your financial support for the church in the current situation. Regular giving is the primary income for all churches and is vital to sustain our mission and ministry.
• We are very grateful to those who already give by Standing Order. This enables treasurers to budget effectively and keeps income coming in on a regular basis. We would, however, ask you to think about your giving and whether you might be able to increase it, even by a small amount, although we do recognise that this might not be possible for everyone.
• If you currently give by weekly envelope or by cash on the collection plate, please consider setting up a Standing Order. A Standing Order form will be available on the parish website for each church or from Bill Armstrong. You can either print it out and post to your bank or set up an order via their online banking.
• If you prefer to continue to give by weekly envelope please try to set aside your gift each week. As circumstances change, your gift can either be collected at reasonable intervals if possible (according to current government guidelines), or brought to church when the building reopens.
• We are investigating the possibility of putting a link on the parish website for online donations. Please look out for this and encourage others to use it as well.
• We are also extremely grateful to the many people who already Gift Aid their giving. This scheme increases the amount you give by 25% so that if you give £50, the government tops this up to £62.50 at no cost to you. If you are a taxpayer, and you do not currently take advantage of the scheme, please consider doing so. All you need to do is to complete and sign a Gift Aid Declaration and return it to your church treasurer. You can print the form out from the website or request one from Bill Armstrong.
Once again, please accept our sincere thanks for your continuing support for our churches, as well as our very best wishes for the health and safety of yourselves and all those you love. Please do not hesitate do contact us if there is anything we can do to help and support you.
Wishing you all God’s blessings,
Revd Elizabeth Bland, Team Vicar
Bill Armstrong, Churchwarden and PCC Treasurer
John Burrows, Churchwarden.
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