What is the average cost of a parish?
The basic running costs of the parish; heating, lighting, insurance, repairs, services etc; are paid for by the congregation. On top of this, supporting one full time priest in a parish and contributing a fair share of the costs of other activities is estimated to amount to around £76,900 per parish in 2016*. This can be divided into three roughly equal parts:
We pay the parish priest
We have to pay pension contributions and provide a house
We have to train new clergy, support parishes in many ways, help schools, help the wider church.
A simple breakdown of figures for 2016:
2,000 National Insurance
9,300 Pension contributions
800 Resettlement grants
2,000 Council Tax
5,500 Central Diocesan Support
8,000 Parish & Area Support
4,100 National Church Support Activities
(1,900) Vacancies saving
Based on a parish with one cleric and one house.
We of course are blessed in our parish in that we have also been selected to be a training parish which means we benefit from having an Assistant Curate. Whilst the Diocese pays the stipend of the Assistant Curate, we have to house the curate and cover many of the associated running costs. There we have additional costs to those detailed above which we have to cover.
Who decides how much a parish contributes?
Each parish’s PCC decides.
Each parish is told the costs of keeping its clergy and its share of other costs. The PCC makes an offer based on its knowledge of its own finances and diocesan finances. The generous offer reflects the parish’s ability to give as well as how much it costs to run the parish.
Not all parishes can give this full amount, so the generosity of past generations supports parishes that cannot meet their full costs. However, this inheritance is limited, so for the Church to continue to be present in poor and deprived areas of London, as well as in rich areas, the less well-off, poor parishes depend on their own generous, committed and sacrificial as well as some giving by better-off parishes. At present the promises for 2016’s Common Fund are mostly being met.