Stewardship Campaign 2022
Dear Friends, March 13th marks the start of St Michael’s Stewardship Campaign for 2022. The context of this campaign is difficult; a sharp reduction in Church and Parish Hall income due to the Covid pandemic, pressure on the finances of everyone because of the pandemic, and now the prospect of rising inflation plus rising energy bills. I would like to thank everyone who has maintained their regular giving to St Michael’s either by standing order or by the envelope scheme during the pandemic, and to everyone who has given other gifts of money. We would not have survived without your generosity.
I’ll start with the good news. Despite the pandemic important and long planned work to improve the West End of Church has been completed and paid for. This is a great achievement. The less good news is that during the pandemic church income fell as services were stopped or reduced and we couldn’t take a collection by passing the collection plate. Despite hard work on grant applications no external funds were given for the West End work, and, in addition, the church had to pay the costs of the Parish Hall whose income fell to zero for months due to Covid restrictions. This all meant that we have had to use money from our reserves to pay for the West End work and other bills. St Michael’s had very healthy reserves due to past generous legacies, but those reserves are now much lower. We are still in a much better place financially than many churches, but we need to pay our regular outgoings from our regular income, and not deplete our reserves simply to stay afloat.
We have produced a Stewardship Campaign leaflet which is available in St Michael’s, and If you consult our leaflet, you will see that the largest single outgoing is the Parish Share. This is the money paid by us to our Anglican Diocese of Leeds.
The Diocese of Leeds, Church of England (anglican.org)
The Diocese uses the money from parishes to pay and house clergy. I am not paid by the Diocese as, like around 27% of the clergy in our Diocese, I am self-supporting. Our Share request has been reduced this year to reflect this, but we will still pay over £60,000 to the Diocese, and by doing so will help pay and house curates, and support clergy working in churches in challenging contexts. Within our own Team, St Michael’s and St Chad’s help to support All Hallows’ and the work of Rainbow Junktion through our Share. We should be proud and happy to do this.
The next major outgoing is maintenance and running costs of the church building and the parish hall including gas and electricity costs and routine repairs and upgrades. The Parish Hall, which is a popular resource valued and well used by the wider community, usually pays for itself and will do so again as bookings have bounced back well since the easing of Covid restrictions, but we still need to find the money to maintain our beautiful Church building. No other major work is currently planned. We would love to complete the work on the Children’s Corner, which was planned as part of the West End work, but that will be dependent on successfully bidding for grants.
As things stand our regular outgoings are not covered by our regular income, most of which comes from individual giving and the gift aid recovered from that giving, with most of the rest coming from hire fees for the Parish Hall. The detailed church accounts for 2021 will be available by the end of the month ready for our Annual Parochial Church Meeting on April 10th.
Our promise to you is that we shall keep a sensible amount of money in our reserves as we are advised to do, and we will work hard at reducing outgoings as much as possible whilst maintaining services, other church activities and our lovely building. We will also look at all possible means of raising money from the wider community through activities in church such as concerts, art and craft fairs and so on.
What we ask of you is:
1.Please pick up our Stewardship Campaign leaflet from St Michael’s and think about your own giving. Even small increases in regular giving can make a big difference.
2. If you are currently paying by standing order, please consider changing to paying by direct debit through the Parish Giving Scheme, a national Church of England Scheme which has the great advantage of claiming Gift Aid for us every month and of offering an optional annual uplift in your giving in line with inflation. Members of the PCC are already changing over to this scheme, and it will be launched to the whole congregation at the APCM. Please do ask if you would like more information.
Home - Parish Giving Scheme
Gift aid is very important for us, so if you pay tax and donate to St Michael’s please tick the gift aid box so that we can claim 25% of your donation from the government at no extra cost to you. If you are not a taxpayer and therefore not able to gift aid it is still worth giving through the Parish Giving Scheme, and you can sign up to it rather than using the weekly envelopes. The national Church pay the costs of the scheme and it will save the time and sanity of many a PCC Treasurer not least our own!
3. Please consider whether you can support St Michael’s by giving of your time and talents. Thank you to everyone who already volunteers for various rotas. The more people involved in enabling us to run our services and caring for our building and churchyard the easier and more enjoyable it is. Our volunteering leaflet is available from St Michael’s.
4. St Michael’s has benefitted greatly from past legacies. If you would like any information about including St Michael’s in your will, please contact me.
We are so fortunate to be the current worshipping community in, and custodians of, this wonderful building, the most beautiful in Headingley, and to have the opportunity to show and tell the people of Headingley of the love and compassion of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is our calling. May we be worthy of it. God bless you all.