Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Colin Smith
Parish incomes continue to increase, passing £900 million for first time at £916 million, up £20 million on 2010, according to the latest parish finance statistics published by the Church of England.
Income from giving in 2011 increased by 1.3% to £546 million, with planned giving exceeding £10 per subscriber each week for the first time and tax-efficient giving reaching £10.70 a week. At £46.40 a month, this is more than double the average donation to the charitable sector of £17.00 a month.
Dr John Preston, National Stewardship Officer, said, "2011 saw another year of increased parish incomes and giving, in large part due to the faith and commitment of regular givers. Although overall growth in income was lower than inflation, it is encouraging to note that the average weekly gift from our planned givers has risen by a further 3%."
Other figures showing improvement include income from parish investments, up 7% as markets improved, and income from trading, such as book stalls, parish magazines and church halls, up 6%.
Investment in church buildings, for maintenance and improvements to facilities for community use, topped £200 million for first time, in 2011. Parishes made significant donations to mission organisations and other charities, totalling £49 million in 2011.
While inflation has reduced the value of giving, parish efforts to control costs reduced a deficit of £21m in 2010, after the recession, to £13 million in 2011. Deficits were met from parish reserves.
Churchgoers in Birmingham Diocese gave the highest proportion of their weekly income to their churches at 3.0% (5.7% among tax-efficient givers) against a national average of 2.0% (3.3% among tax-efficient givers).
Average weekly tax-efficient giving in dioceses ranged from £6.40 to £20.20; while weekly giving per electoral roll member ranged from £4.10 to £9.40.