Parish finances show record level of giving

The generosity of churchgoers from across the country is highlighted in the latest parish finance statistics.

The figures - covering the year 2014 - demonstrate a record level of giving with total planned giving up £6 million at £329 million and total direct giving up £71 million at £481 million.

The figures also show that Church of England parishes donated £46 million to supporting other charities working around the world, from foodbanks and local children's charities to international aid appeals.

Parishes raised these important funds from a combination of regular and one-off donations as well as investments and legacies. Total parish income from giving, investments and other income sources was £989 million - an increase of £36 million on the previous year. Expenditure levels also rose by £28 million to £948 million in 2014, leaving the 12,000 parishes a surplus of £41 million over expenditure.

Dr John Preston, the Church of England's national stewardship adviser, said:

"These financial statistics reveal an underlying financial health in the church which is encouraging. As a result of the commitment and generosity of hundreds of thousands of churchgoers, we have seen record levels of giving - with the average weekly gift from all planned givers exceeding £11 for the first time, and the average gift from those able to give through Gift Aid exceeding £15 including the tax recovered. Parishes were able to claim record levels of Gift Aid, with a significant part of this increase arising from use of the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme.  It is also pleasing to note that legacy giving was the highest yet."

Average weekly giving per tax-efficient givers has continued to rise year on year with members giving on average £12.01 in 2014. Average weekly giving per electoral roll member rose to £8.85 in 2014, an increase of £1.60 a week and the highest level recorded. Total planned giving rose by slightly less than inflation, while total income grew by more than inflation.”

Steve Pierce, Director of Learning and Stewardship at the Diocese of Liverpool commented:

"Well over half of unrestricted PCC income comes from the generous giving of church members and the Gift Aid that follows it. It is encouraging that once again, giving has increased and huge thanks to all those who faithfully give to their church. The Parish Giving Scheme is the best way to ensure regular and sustainable giving. £9m of giving in Liverpool is a lot of money, but it makes our mission and ministry possible."

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