Since the pandemic started in late 2019, our parish share receipts have fallen from £10.4m in 2019 to £8.9m in 2020 and £9.2m in 2021. Our mutual challenge is seeking to return to the level of prepandemic parish share receipts, whilst being aware of the challenges we all face in achieving this, such as diminishing and ageing congregations and the current cost of living crisis.
It has been decided that the 2023 parish share request will be based on the 2022 parish share ask. This will allow us to get a better picture of how we are recovering across our diocese as we have consistently calculated comparatives.
In October 2022, the Consumer Price inflation (CPI) reached 11.1%, which is causing significant financial pressures across our diocese. Historically parish share requests have been increased by CPI, this is clearly not going to be feasible with the impact of financial pressures affecting our parishes. CPI does show however, that costs are inflating, and any increase in parish share below CPI is resulting in a real term cut in available income to contribute to our dioceses Common Fund which covers the funding of stipendiary clergy.
Diocesan Synod approved the DBF budget, which is requesting for 2023 that all parishes have a below CPI increase of 2% to the Parish Share requested in 2022. Option A shows the Parish Share request calculated on the basis above.
As in previous years, the DBF and parishes, are expected to have to utilise a significant amount of any remaining reserves in 2023 to cover parish share requests and inflationary increases in costs. We have therefore included a further choice on the option form: Option B. This is the amount of Parish Share including a 6% inflationary increase (February 2022 CPI). Thank you for all parishes that have been able to commit to Option B and to all contributions of parish share from our parishes.
We anticipate that some PCCs will continue or now be no longer able to contribute Option A because of the challenges they are experiencing with income and reserves. We would therefore like to invite parishes who feel they are able to offer a more generous amount than Option A, to prayerfully consider doing this in support of those parishes experiencing financial difficulty at this time and to help reduce the deficit that we all, as a diocese, expect to suffer in 2023. Your generosity in this will make a considerable difference as we move forwards together in our vision to ‘Live and Tell the story of Jesus’. This can be done by selecting the ‘other’ option and indicating the amount of enhanced parish share you believe the PCC will be able to contribute.
If after prayerful consideration, your parish feels they are unable to pay the share, please contact colleagues in the finance department so that we can discuss the situation with you.
Discounts continue to be available:
- 1.25% for full contribution received on or before 17 January
- 0.3% for full equal monthly contributions
With many thanks for your continued support and generosity,
The Ven Dr Adrian Youings, Archdeacon of Bath
Matthew Pinnock, Head of Finance and Operations