Diocese of Portsmouth

Parish finances during coronavirus outbreak

Stewardship

With the disruption to the normal pattern of life, our churches missed the fellowship that regular worship brought. They also missed the financial income that the regular weekly pattern of activities brings, whether that is congregational giving via cash or the envelope scheme, or the essential income from hall bookings for community activities.

Those churches where a significant proportion of giving comes via standing orders, or via the Parish Giving Scheme, are better placed in terms of the continuity of income. However, there may be instances where such giving may be reduced as a result of financial hardship by the giver.

Our colleagues at the Church of England Giving Network have put together some helpful advice, which is published on the Parish Resources Website. Click here to view the page. This will be constantly kept under review and updated as things develop.

It is important at this time to keep in touch with regular givers. Their gifts will still be important to maintain the life of the Church once things return to normal. For more information and advice, do contact our stewardship adviser Chris Parker on 023 9289 9669 (which will divert to his home number) or via chris.parker@portsmouth.anglican.org.

Resources to help parishes with finances

There are also a number of resources from the national C of E to help parishes, which are predominantly available through the Parish Resources website.

They include:

  • The national giving team has produced web guidance on encouraging online donations which you can read here
  • A short animated film for use during virtual services, meetings and on social media that encourages people to give, which you can see here. The film can also be accessed and customised on A Church Near You so you can add your own church name and donation details.
  • Every church now has an online giving page on A Church Near You, as well as a ‘give now’ button to make it easier to give. You can link to this page from your parish website. Full details here.
  • Churches have to register with an online giving provider to receive donations. The national team is producing a step by step animated film on how to set up an online giving account and this will be available.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM)

Ordinarily, your Annual Parochial Church Meeting and churchwarden elections should be held by 31 May 2021. This deadline is now extended to 31 July 2021.

Bishop Christopher has also given authority for APCMs this year to take place in hybrid or online form. The formal direction, which is here, also extends the deadline to July 31. This will enable those who wish to arrange for a wholly in-person annual meeting to take place, assuming that easing of restrictions allows that in late June or July (as hoped in the government’s ‘not before’ roadmap).

Parish Giving Scheme (PGS)

The Parish Giving Scheme is a secure and tax-efficient way of managing giving to your church. Many of our parishes have already signed up to manage donations in this way.

For those parishes that are currently using the PGS, please be assured that:

  • All existing regular gift instructions will be claimed and returned to parish bank accounts as you would normally expect on the 10th of the month.
  • PGS will continue to submit the monthly Gift Aid claim to HMRC for all existing eligible donors.
  • As with existing practise, once the PGS receives the Gift Aid payment from HMRC they will pass the payment directly to your parish bank account.
  • The PGS will be able to administer changes to existing donations.
  • The PGS team will be monitoring the email inbox and continues to receive telephone calls

The PGS team have now launched a new telephone service, designed to enable prospective donors to set up a regular Direct Debit gift over the phone. They can call a dedicated telephone number – 0333 002 1271, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – with their bank account details, church/parish name and PGS parish code to hand. They are also able to Gift Aid their donation, if eligible, and will be given the option to increase their giving annually in line with inflation.

For more details, see: parishgivingscheme.org.uk.

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