Supporting our diocese in the current climate

First published on: 23rd February 2021

CoronaVirus keep your distance messaging with graphic of people and a cross through themTo Clergy
PCC Secretaries

13 January 2020

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to update you on the financial situation of our diocese and our plans for Parish Share and support to parishes in the coming months.
We want to start with our personal thanks for the outstanding commitment and generosity of our parishes in 2020 and our confidence that this will continue into 2021. We continue to believe that the financial response to the Covid crisis needs to be a partnership between parishes, diocese and
the national church. That partnership worked very well in 2020. It was underpinned by honesty and transparency at every level. We believe that this 3-way partnership will be central to our thinking and planning in 2021. Indeed, as we have said before, we are seeing this as an initial 24-month
process of responding to and through this financial crisis; we are only really halfway through that.

Just to remind everyone of the headline numbers from 2020
Total parish income went down by £3.2 million. The DBF, supported by the national church, has made £1.6 million available in Parish Share Credits. This money is being allocated in close collaboration with deaneries. Some initial allocations have already been communicated to parishes. We will confirm the full allocation of the 2020 Parish Share Credit to deaneries and parishes in the first two weeks of February, when we have clarity about the actual Parish Share paid in 2020.

As a reminder, we have offered an additional credit to each parish in 2021 to offset the increase in Deanery Parish Share in 2021. Hardly any parishes will pay more Parish Share in 2021 than they did in 2020; a good number will pay less.

Looking ahead to 2021
It is clear that significant financial challenges remain. The Parish Share Credits haven’t replaced all the lost income in 2020 so some parishes start 2021 at a lower financial base than in January 2020.
Also, as we are currently in lockdown and some distance away from full in-person worship and community use of our facilities; this will continue to impact on your income. So we know that the DBF will need to make further support available to parishes. What we don’t know yet is how much.

The DBF has already begun to make some provision for further Parish Share support this year. We also plan to approach the national church for support once again; the indications are that we will need to apply in the second quarter of this year. As we did last year we will need to base our application for national church support on solid evidence, so we will need to talk to parishes and deaneries once again about their financial circumstances and challenges. We plan to do this after Easter.

So at this stage we are asking you to do the following:

  • Continue to be generous and committed to on-going mutual support within the body of Christ
  • Pass on our thanks to the PCC and wider congregation for your generosity and commitment in 2020
  • Continue to talk to the congregation about the financial impact of Covid on your parish
  • Encourage all givers to prayerfully review their giving
  • Continue to encourage givers to give in the most resilient and financially beneficial way possible, namely via the Parish Giving Scheme
  • Continue to monitor your parish’s financial position and talk to your archdeacon as a matter of priority if you have particular concerns
  • Be prepared to engage with a further survey of your financial position just after Easter to underpin an application for support from the national church

As a DBF we will be doing the following:

  • Everything we can to maximise the financial support we can give to parishes through cost savings, efficient financial management and appropriate use of reserves
  • Continuing to engage with the national church about our financial position and the need for further cash support
  • Continuing to communicate openly and honestly about the financial context and challenges
  • Pulling together up-to-date financial information to inform our strategy and communications both with our parishes and with the national church
  • Developing a series of webinars to help parishes think through key aspects of giving and financial management
  • Being available for support and advice

We hope this update is clear and helpful. Please do get in touch with any questions or concerns.

With thanks and very best wishes,

David Greensmith, DBF Chair
Mike Eastwood, Diocesan Secretary

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