Parish Finance

Our shared responsibility

According to the Church of England’s Finance Statistics 2012, parishes across the country raised a record amount of £929 million to fund its mission and ministry.

Funds were raised from a combination of investments, legacies and donations despite the reduced gift aid rates. The figure represents a modest increase on £916m in 2011.

The statistics also show that after three years of deficits, parishes in general have successfully reduced their expenditure and encouraged more giving, to reach a break-even point in 2012.

The Diocese of Truro, however, is not matching the more optimistic national trends.


 Download the CofE’s Finance Statistics 2012 


Bishop Chris explains…

We are already a low cost operation

Across the Diocese of Truro, regular expenditure per electoral roll (ER) member is the lowest of all the dioceses in the C of E – £8.20 per week compared to the national average of £12.10. We may already be under-investing in our churches and ministries. If we continue to chase down declining income by reducing costs we risk an organisational death spiral from which it would be difficult to recover.

We are not as generous as others in our giving to the local Church

Our regular income per ER member is the lowest of all dioceses – £5.80 compared to the national average of £8.40.

Even when we take into account the reality of low Cornish incomes, our proportion of giving is amongst the lowest six dioceses in the C of E – 1.7% compared to the national diocesan average of 2.1

Bringing ourselves up to the national average % of income given would increase our annual income by ~ £800,000.

We are leaving ‘free’ money on the table every week

The proportion of giving to the Anglican Church in Cornwall which is planned/tax efficient is the lowest in the C of E – 56% compared to a national average of 65%. Our performance in this regard worsened from 2011 to 2012.

Bringing ourselves up to the national average % of gift-aided donations would increase our annual income by ~ £75,000.

“My ‘take-away’ from these figures is that – although there may be opportunities for some modest cost savings – our energies at parish, deanery and diocesan level should primarily be directed towards increasing our income.”


The Deanery Challenge


Mike Todd writes…

When I spoke to the Diocesan Synod in May, I made it clear that the rising deficit on our operating budget must be tackled very quickly. Our reserves will only carry us forward for another couple of years or so (including 2015) at the current level.

As we have reported at events and through our diocesan communication media, over the past five years this deficit has grown year on year as our growth in expenditure has outstripped the income we receive from parishes (as MMF), grants, investments and glebe rents.

Our initial look at next year’s budget – which we have been sharing widely in a simplified form so that everyone can understand what is going on – indicates a deficit in excess of £1 million if we carry on as we are.

We cannot solve this problem centrally simply by further cost-cutting – as is evident from the national statistics, we are already the diocese with the lowest expenditure per member. So we have engaged in a process, called the Deanery Challenge.

This involves consultation with parishes at an early stage in our financial planning. In the past, the first that most people have known about next year’s budget and the Mission & Ministry Fund (MMF) calls it implies, has been when the papers go out to Diocesan Synod at the end of the year. At that point, all that can be done is to accept or reject it in its entirety.

The aim is to allow Deaneries, in consultation with their parishes, to submit comments by the end of September on what commitments they would be prepared to make in order to bridge the gap. To help in this, we have set out what the draft ‘no-change’ budget means in terms of income and expenditure for each Deanery separately and what the deficit means for them.

We have made no assumptions at this stage about whether to reduce expenditure or to increase income via MMF.

“There is no escaping the fact that we have a difficult task ahead, involving a serious look at how we fund the people and resources needed to support mission and ministry at the local level, as well as what personal commitments, in terms of planned giving and gift-aiding, will be needed to take us forward effectively and more confidently.”


 Download the Deanery Challenge presentation