Parish Share is the sum of money contributed by each parish every year to the diocese to support local ministry. The Common Fund is the total of all 487 parish shares in Bath and Wells.
Every parish contributes to the Common Fund and every parish receives from the fund in the following ways:
- parish priest’s monthly stipend
- clergy pension contributions
- housing costs
- clergy training
- the wide range of diocesan support services e.g. the Education Department, which supports local Church and community schools.
Parish Share is essential to the mission of the church in the diocese, without it clergy could not be supported. The Common Fund is the diocese’s largest single income stream.
The total amount of Common Fund required each year is divided between the parishes in a way that seeks to recognise the need for some parishes to be financially supported by others. How much each parish contributes is based on church regular worshippers (previously known as members) and the socio-economic category of the parish, determined by the parish itself. The required information is gathered each year in the Parish Share and Common Fund Survey.
Through Parish Share, each church is given the opportunity of contributing towards the financial cost of ministry in the entire diocese. Larger and wealthier parishes are asked to make greater contributions so stipendiary ministry can be provided to less wealthy areas that otherwise might not have been able to afford it.
As Paul the Apostle writes:
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.” (2 Corinthians 8vv13-14a, NIV)
Discounts are available for payment by Standing Order or Direct Debit, as this is helpful to the cashflow of the diocesan office which has a fairly steady cash outflow every month due to clergy stipends. If a parish pays in this way it is currently entitled to a discount of 0.3% (2019 & 2020). For parishes paying in full by 17th January of the year in question a 1.25% discount is currently given (for 2019 & 2020).
To learn more about Parish Share and its importance to the diocese, do watch the Common Fund DVD below.