Diocese publishes parish share assessments for 2010

The Diocese has published the Parish Share Assessments for 2010. These are based on the 2010 budget approved by Diocesan Synod in November 2009 and the Parish Share system introduced in January 2004.

Please find attached the Parish Share Assessments for 2010. Once again these have been compiled on the basis of two key factors:

• The 2010 budget approved by Diocesan Synod in November 2009
• The Parish Share system introduced in January 2004

The overall increase in Parish Share in 2010 is 4%. This increase results from the significant rise in clergy pension costs in 2010 (budgeted as an additional £225,000). The increase in clergy costs – both stipend and pension – over the past 5 years has been the single biggest factor in our budgeting process. Since 2003 clergy costs have increased by nearly £900,000 above and beyond the increases anticipated in the Diocesan Review.

The clergy pensions position has been particularly volatile over recent years with sustained increases in contribution levels from 25% in 2002 to 39.8% in 2007 to 45% in 2010. There is another major national review taking place which aims to be complete by the end of 2010. Once again there is a determination that this review puts clergy pension costs on a manageable footing for the medium term.

Alongside the increase in Parish Share the major factors in the budget are:

• A 1% increase in clergy stipends (in line with the national church recommendation)
• A cost reduction programme at St James House equivalent to 8% of salary cost (a cash saving of £200,000 a year in 2010 and increasing in subsequent years)
• An on-going commitment to 209 parish-based posts met from the stipends budget

The major development, however, is that this is the first breakeven budget the DBF has been able to set for over a decade. The fact that we have reached this position with sufficient reserves to guard against some future fluctuations is testimony to the diocesan determination to maintain our finances in good order and to the on-going support and generosity of parishes in meeting their Parish Share commitments.

We have once again included in this pack a brief question and answer sheet about Parish Share. It aims to deal with the key questions/mythologies that exist around Parish Share. In particular it seeks to explain how Parish Share is calculated, what Parish Share is used for (clergy costs), what Parish Share is not used for (diocesan administration) and give more detail on the Parish Share increases outlined above. We have also included the budget papers that were approved by Diocesan Synod.

Turning to the numbers themselves the 2010 Parish Share continues to be a combination of two factors:

• The Average Sunday Attendance figures over the last three years (2006 – 2008)
• The socio economic conditions of the parish

There have not been any changes to the socio economic indicators for 2010, so the only change in data between 2009 and 2010 is in Average Sunday Attendance – the 2005 attendance figure dropped out and the 2008 figure came in.

Since 1 July 2005 we have allowed churches to take account of baptisms if they feel that these were unreasonably distorting attendance figures. This has led to a decrease in attendance figures for some churches. As a result for many parishes there is a drop in Average Sunday Attendance figures from last year’s Parish Share figures to this year’s. Those parishes that have managed to buck this trend have therefore seen an above average increase. That said we both welcome this growth and strongly encourage other churches to see what they can learn from it. The more we can grow the giving base of our churches the lower the amount per head of Parish Share and the greater the opportunity for wider mission thinking, planning and financing.

For information Synod will be conducting a review of our Parish Share system in 2010 to look at whether we continue with the current system of assessing Parish Share or whether we move to a modified system or completely different approach.

I have included the relevant figures for each parish. I have also included the actual Parish Share for 2009 so as to give a comparison of 2009 and 2010.

Because Parish Share is so reliant on church attendance there can be major fluctuations year on year based on attendance patterns at different times. This means that although most churches are facing increases at or close to the diocesan average some churches face increases considerably above the diocesan average. This can present a real challenge to those facing significant increases. For those parishes there is once again the opportunity to apply for financial assistance. Please contact your archdeacon for details.

The DBF remain keen to encourage parishes to pay by direct debit and have agreed a 1% reduction for parishes that pay their Parish Share by direct debit.

Fundamentally the DBF remains encouraged by the continuing increase in the level of Parish Share collected. We have now received 98.6% of the 2008 Parish Share. Even though 1.4% non collection equates to the cost of around two clergy we have maintained our very high collection rate in the toughest of economic climates. It is significantly higher than in many other dioceses, very much bucks the regional trend in Parish Share collection and is a terrific testimony to the commitment to mutual support within the diocese. Given all the financial challenges facing parishes in our diocese just now and the local mission opportunities that we all wish to pursue, we believe this commitment to Parish Share continues to speak very clearly and profoundly to the national church about the need for continuing generosity and sacrifice as we continue to respond to God’s call in mission and ministry.

Thank you very much for your continuing help on all of this.

With very best wishes,

Mike Eastwood
Diocesan Secretary


Download the parish share assessments and related information from the right side of this page