Blog from the Staff Team – 02 October 2023

A message from the Staff Team for Generosity Week

“You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity which will produce thanksgiving to God through us.” 2 Corinthians 9:11

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

This is the equivalent of what is usually a Letter from the Vicar – but as we currently don’t have a Vicar, this is a letter from the Staff Team!

Generosity Week

Every year, the Church of England encourages us to take time around the season of harvest, when we come to God in thanksgiving for all his gifts to us, to have a Generosity Week when we all take time to reflect and pray on our generosity back to God and review what we are giving to him in terms of our time, our skills and abilities and our money. We held our Harvest festival last week and so, this Sunday, we are starting a week to focus on this together and to come before God in prayer and reflection. This Sunday, we will be thinking about money and finance and, next Sunday, we will be asking you to think and pray about generosity in terms of time and gifts and skills.

Financial giving was established in the early church. In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul explains how generous giving can meet the needs of fellow believers and shows thanksgiving to God.   

Giving at St Peter’s

In common with most churches, we receive most of our income in giving from the congregation. Financial giving is generous across the church, particularly amongst those who have been members of the church the longest. In recent years, as church membership has shrunk a bit, St Peter’s is receiving less income through giving.  This is partially offset by the amount that room hire brings in – this year expected to reach over £35K.

What does our church income go on?

Church upkeep and maintenance: Church income helps maintain our church buildings. Unfortunately, in some years, including 2023, maintenance costs are high. So far this year we are about 6 times over our maintenance budget due to repairs and other work which has been necessary but could not have been foreseen. This situation is not likely to improve in the immediate future – we are very aware that our two boilers heating the main church are not far off the point of being beyond economic repair.  We hope they will last us another winter but will need to look at replacing the boilers possibly next year, which will be costly, although we will look for grant funding to help as much as possible.

Mission and Outreach: Our income enables us to support a number of missionaries working overseas. In 2023 we will give £18000 to 10 mission partners, supporting mission from Brazil to Bradford. Your giving also pays for more local mission – for example, as well as contributing to our own Welcome Space initiative (for which we have also received additional grant funding) we have been able to make a significant contribution to Shipley Christians Together to support the CAP Debt Centre in Shipley. Of course, your giving also funds the essential staff that we need to run the church – our administrator, cleaner, and caretaker. A separate fund pays for children and youth activities, and has funded youth workers in the past, and it is hoped will again when we are in a position to appoint a youth worker.

Finally, a large portion of our budget goes to the parish share.

What is the parish share?

This is the amount of money all Anglican churches are requested to pay to their diocese. It helps fund clergy costs and the diocese’s mission and ministry. It is estimated that a full-time parish priest costs £62k a year in total – that figure does not reflect their pay but also includes housing, pension, and training, etc.  The amount of share requested from parishes is calculated by a complex formula and based partly on the number of regular attenders. The amounts are adjusted so that larger churches are asked for more than the costs of their own clergy in order to ensure that smaller or less well-off parishes can still have access to ministry.  Supporting other churches to spread the good news of Jesus Christ has always been important to St Peter’s.

St Peter’s parish share request in 2023 is £99,592. Shares are gradually being adjusted across the Leeds diocese so the amounts requested from churches are as fair as possible. This means our share amount is reducing. However, because of our rising costs as a church, particularly maintenance costs, we have not been able to pay our Share amount in full since 2019.  By the end of August this year, we had been able to pay £29k of our Share total. In the latter months of the year, we tend to pay more share, having paid most other bills by then – but we still have quite a way to go this year! By comparison, in August 2022 we had paid £48,334 reaching £81,498 by the year end.  We’d like to ensure that other churches are not subsidising our clergy costs because we cannot pay our Share amount in full – this is especially not good timing when we are planning to recruit another full-time minister! Over the next few weeks an appeal is open where you can give a little more if you are able, towards the Parish Share.  Please mark your donations ‘Parish Share’ or select that button on the church card reader.

What we’re asking you to do

We appreciate not everyone is in a position to give financially, and that giving is also through time and acts of service – more about that next week! We are simply asking that, through this week, you review your situation and pray about what God is asking of you at this time.

For those of you who already give and cannot give any more money, there may be ways that your giving can benefit the church more. For example, if you are a tax payer, completing a gift aid form will allow us to claim an extra 25% on your donations.  Using the Parish Giving Scheme to give reduces banking costs.  If you give on an ad hoc basis you may wish to consider setting up a regular donation   Please speak to Mike Moss our Treasurer about ways you can give, or if you have any other questions about the church budget. 

Please do use this Generosity Week to join with us in praying and reflecting on God’s call to you at this time in what he is asking you to give in time of your time and talents (we’ll be asking you about that next week!) and financially. The Church has written a special series of Morning Prayers for Generosity Week and we will be using these this week – Morning Prayer will be on Facebook at 9am every day this week (2 extra days!) and we will be focussing on this specially at our 5.30pm Saturday prayertime next week. Please try and join us for one of those times if you are able – or watch one of them later on Facebook if you can’t join in the morning!

Finally a huge thank you for all that you are and all that you give to St Peter’s, just by being part of the family of God here. As we shoulder the responsibilities of keeping the church going through the period of vacancy until our next minister is appointed, we are very aware of your love, your support and your prayers, as well as your commitment and hard work for the church and we are so grateful for all of it.

With our love and thanks

Viv, Mike, Gemma, Mervyn, Karen and Jenni

The Staff Team

Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.


Attributed to St Ignatius of Loyola