Parish giving holds up; younger vocations increase
The Church of England has today published its latest information about parish income and expenditure and trends in ministry numbers in Church Statistics 2009/10. The attendance statistics included were published in February 2011.
This year's financial statistics show that the 2008 credit crunch began to affect church income in 2009, though not in terms of parish giving nor as hard as many charities.
Despite the difficult economic times, parishioners’ tax-efficient planned giving continued to increase in 2009, topping an average of £10 a week (£10.06p) for the first time. The total income of parishes dropped to £889 million, mainly due to a fall in restricted income from £204 million to £176 million and a fall in one-off donations. Restricted income is monies given for specific purposes designated by the donor. Unrestricted voluntary income, mainly the regular and plate giving in churches plus the tax recovered through Gift Aid, rose from almost £505 million to more than £511 million. At the same time, total parish expenditure rose to £886 million, with nearly £49 million of this being donations made by parishes to external charities.
Dr John Preston, the Church’s National Stewardship and Resources Officer, said:
“Whilst figures for giving to the wider charity section showed a dip following the credit crunch, giving to parishes in 2009 saw a further increase, albeit a small one; a sign of the high level of commitment that so many have to supporting the mission and ministry of their local parish church. Gift Aid reclaimed on donations also reached a new high.”
Another 515 candidates were accepted to train as future clergy in 2010, with those aged 20-29 showing a 45 per cent increase from 74 to 108. In total, 563 new clergy were ordained in 2010. Of those, 284 were entering full-time paid ministry.
Revd Preb Lynda Barley, Head of Research & Statistics for the Archbishops’ Council, comments: “It is encouraging that the Church is responding confidently to the challenge that the changing age profile of our nation brings, with one in five future clergy entering training being under 30 years of age.”
While the numbers of people being training for ordination remained buoyant across 2009, the number of retirements also remained high. Taking retirements and other losses into account, there was a net loss of 129 full-time paid clergy. The total number of licensed clergy (including part-time and self supporting ministers whose numbers increased) was down by 72.
At the end of 2010, there were some 29,000 licensed and authorised ministers, ordained and lay, active across the 13,000 parishes and a growing variety of chaplaincies (in local communities, hospitals, education, prisons and the armed forces) in the Church of England.
The latest statistics have been added to the Church of England website, alongside attendance statistics published in February, at http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1333106/2009churchstatistics.pdf