Your parish’s finances are closely linked with those of the diocese and the national church. It is because of the generosity of individuals and our parishes, that we have been able to continue our work together across Manchester Diocese - reaching out to new people, developing our spiritual lives and serving our local communities. We want to thank you for your financial giving to your church and the wider diocese.
Our parishes contribute to the work of the diocese by giving Parish Share. Most importantly, Parish Share helps cover the costs of the clergy in our diocese – their stipend and housing costs as well as national insurance and pension contributions. Those parishes which can afford it, are asked to make larger contributions to help pay for clergy costs in our most deprived areas. This is one of the strengths of our Parish Share system – that together in our diocese and in partnership with the national church, we can make sure there is a Christian presence in every community, not just those who can afford it.
Over the last few years, many of our parishes have been struggling to pay Parish Share in full. This leaves a hole in the diocese’s budget every year that we cannot keep filling by spending reserves. Total Parish Share was £5.7m in 2022, slightly lower than in 2021 and £1m lower than in 2019, before the pandemic. This means that the diocese had a deficit of over £1.5m last year. Our deficit for 2023 is once again projected to be over £1m which is not sustainable for the future.
We have already had to reduce the number of clergy in our diocese and we don’t want to have to make further reductions. But unless our parishes give the full amount of Parish Share we will have no choice. This is why we are asking every parish to look again at the amount of Parish Share they are giving.
The Bible talks a lot about our finances and God invites us into joyful, generous and sacrificial giving. That’s a challenge for us all. Does this describe your giving - individually and as a parish?
Our work together grows out of Jesus’s Great Commandment which is to:
‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:36-40)
We serve and worship a God who is abundantly generous with his grace, mercy and love, and therefore as God's children we are called to replicate this generosity in the way we offer ourselves in His service and that of the church. A part of our worship is giving and therefore the Parish Share is requested from each church community and at its heart, the Parish Share is a part of our response to the extraordinary generosity we have received from God.
We know that as the creator of everything, God is the true owner of everything, and we are simply stewarding all that we have. We are called to be prayerful and sacrificial in our giving, both as individuals and as church communities. Churches have relied on generous giving by many and we extend our gratitude towards them. Giving of our ‘time, talents and treasures' are key areas of what it means to be a disciple of Christ as outlined in our Diocesan strategy.
The Bible teaches us that 'The earth is the Lord's and everything in it' (Psalm 24:1). All we have belongs to God; we are not ‘owners’ but ‘tenants'. As Christians, we recognise that God has given us everything we own and as part of our discipleship, we believe in giving financially to the church.
Perhaps Paul's words in the New Testament give a good summary of a healthy attitude towards giving:
'Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each one should give what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.' (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
Our generosity reflects our understanding of the generosity God has extended to us, ‘For God so loved the world that he GAVE His one and only Son…’ (John 3:16). When we see how lavishly God has provided for us, then why would we not act the same way towards the church and others by giving in grace?
The Bible also commends the principle of ‘mutual support’. The earliest Christians spent time together, prayed together and held all things in common (Acts 2.43-47). This sense of mutual support can be applied to both individuals in respect of their own giving and also to those churches with greater resources supporting those who have less.
'Just as you excel in everything else - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness . . . see that you also excel in this grace of giving.' (2 Corinthians 8:7)
Thank you for your continual support towards Parish Share as we see God's Kingdom come on earth (Manchester diocese) as it is in heaven.
Where our money comes from
For 2023, our diocese’s income budget is £12.1m.
Most of the diocese’s funding comes from our parishes. Nearly 50p in every pound we spend together as a diocese comes from money generously given in churches each week and passed on to the diocese through Parish Share. In 2023, we have budgeted for Parish Share of £6.3m.
We don’t get any money from the government, although we do get money from the national church to help support parishes in the most deprived areas in our diocese - £2.5m in 2023. This funding from national church, together with Parish Share, covers all the costs of the clergy in our diocese.
We also expect our income from property and other investments in 2023 to be £1.1m and we are using £1.4m from reserves to cover the costs of maintaining and improving our parsonages. The diocese’s income from fees for church services is £0.5m.
What we spend our money on
For 2023, our diocese’s expenditure budget is £13.1m.
Nearly £10m of this is for clergy costs, which includes clergy stipends and housing.
The diocese’s central staff team, which costs £1.8m, provides vital support with vocations and ministerial development, safeguarding, property management, ecclesiastical compliance, HR and finance. There are additional central operating costs of £0.9m. Our diocese also pays £0.6m to the national church.
Alongside this core activity, we expect to receive £2m in 2023 from the national church for important development and transformation projects across our diocese.
There are four elements that are used to calculate Parish Share:
- A count of the members of each congregation that attend church at least 12 times per year, averaged over three years.
- The number of Parish Income Points, which is related to the annual incomes of regular members of each congregation, averaged over three years.
- The total amount of money to be raised by the Diocese via Parish Share.
- The number of children and young people that attend church on a Sunday at least 12 times per year.
For more information, you can refer to our detailed Parish Share Guide.
Minimum and maximum assessments
The current system can result in very low assessments that bear no relation to diocesan costs.
A minimum Parish Share assessment of £9,000 has therefore been introduced in the updated scheme which relates to non-stipendiary diocesan support services that are provided to all parishes, whatever the level of stipendiary costs. This sets the expectation that all our parishes should be able to provide a basic level of financial support to the diocese, in line with the principle of mutual support. Where parishes are not able to afford the minimum, this highlights the need for pastoral and missional support to help them achieve financial sustainability.
Similarly, a maximum Parish Share assessment of £170,000 (approximate cost of 3 stipendiary clergy plus non-stipendiary diocesan support costs) recognises that our diocese relies heavily on the financial contributions of a few parishes with significantly larger congregations than most other parishes in the diocese. Our larger parishes’ commitment to the principle of mutuality could be undermined where their contributions are disproportionate.
An Encouragement Scheme encourages parishes to make regular payments towards their Parish Share Assessment.
The Encouragement Scheme requires the following payments to have been made:
25% To be paid by 31st March, 50% To be paid by 30th June, 75% To be paid by 30th September, 100% to be paid by 4th January.
A credit equal to 2% of the qualifying year’s Parish Share Assessment will be made to the parish’s Parish Share account in the following January if the above targets are achieved. For example, if a parish meets the payment schedule above in 2023, a credit of 2% of their 2023 Parish Share shall be posted to their Parish Share account in January 2024.
If you find that your parish cannot pay either because you believe that you have been wrongly assessed or because the Share you are being asked for has increased beyond the means of your parish - don’t do nothing! In the first instance contact your Area Dean and Archdeacon who will then discuss your parish situation with you and tell you where to find further support.
Often parishes find that a review of their budget and levels of financial giving can help them greatly in meeting their financial obligations. Support is available for:
- Growing a generous culture in your church
- Advice on cutting costs and everyday utility bills
- Maximising Gift Aid and tax recovery on your giving
- Introducing new ways for people to give monetary gifts to your church
- Accessing external funding
If you have any queries and would like to get in touch, please contact in the first instance:
Carolyn McGloughlin, Parish Support Officer