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ThanksGiving

At last week’s Harvest Service, I spoke about ‘Giving’ in the context of ‘Harvest ThanksGiving’.

October 4 is the day that the Church commemorates the life of St Francis of Assisi. Francis wrote a famous prayer, which we sing in Church as ‘Make me a Channel of Your Peace’. There is a line in St Francis’s Prayer which says, ‘For it is in giving that we receive’.

As followers of Jesus (Christians), we give in response to all that God has given to us.

There are three ways of giving. We give of our:

  • Time
  • Talent
  • Treasure

So many people give of their time and talents to the ministry of St Michael’s. We have a very active church life, to which many people contribute. As the Church Council (PCC), we are very grateful for all that you do.

We are also grateful for financial gifts and contributions made by Church members (our ‘Treasure’).

Most people new to church life do not know how it is financed.

The Church of England is divided into two Provinces – Canterbury (South) and York (North). There are 43 Dioceses (regional areas). Typically, the Dioceses of the North of England are poor in comparison with those in the South. Liverpool Diocese is one of the poorest Dioceses.

As a church, we do not receive very much money from the Diocese. In fact, we are net givers. Every month we pay what is called a ‘quota’ to the Diocese. This is a significant proportion of our monthly giving. It goes towards the Vicar’s stipend (salary) and housing costs, as well as towards helping churches less well off than ours, in deprived areas.

Our current financial situation at St Michael’s

This year our giving is up (on last year), which is encouraging. However, we are still not balancing the books. Hence we are continually dipping into our reserves, which is not sustainable in the mid to long term.

This year to date our average regular monthly expenditure is running at £5200 whilst our average regular monthly income from all sources is running at £4600; an average monthly shortfall of £600!

If more of our members were prepared to offer financial support on a regular basis this would help our mission and ministry and enable us to plan more effectively.  

Our members are generous and never fail to respond generously to appeals in support of local food banks & homeless hostels for instance.

Likewise, when we have been faced with having to find substantial sums for unexpected repairs to our church buildings our members have always been willing to make donations towards the cost, but as grateful as we always are for their prompt and generous response we can’t continue to operate on ‘crisis money’ 

37 of our members are ‘planned regular givers’ (PGS, Standing Order. Envelopes) whilst average weekly attendance is 80.  

To help us meet our running costs, fulfil our responsibilities (as trustees of the church building) and our work within this parish we need everyone to think about how much they can give on a regular basis to support that work and there are several options available to do just that:

We run an Envelope Scheme – if members choose this option they will be assigned a unique number and we will provide a printed envelope for their weekly giving which can be placed on the offertory plate during the service

Some members may prefer to give by Standing Order in which case we will happily provide our bank details and they can set a date and amount that best suits them.

There is also the Parish Giving Scheme through which payments can be made by Direct Debit. This is the option we would most recommend.

Whatever option people may choose we should encourage those who are tax payers to consider Gift Aiding their donations as we can claim 20p in every £ donated back from the taxman

All giving is confidential and can be cancelled at any time.     

We understand that times are hard for many people, and don’t want to appear to be putting pressure on people.

As a church we are very active in the local community. This is becoming more-and-more necessary as public services are cut to the bone.

‘When you harvest your fields, do not cut the grain at the edges of the fields, and do not go back to cut the heads of grain that were left; leave them for poor people and foreigners.’

Leviticus 23: 22 

Please give. Give what you can. Give cheerfully!

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

FOR ENVELOPES, FORMS & GIVING DETAILS, PLEASE ASK THE CHURCH WARDENS, TREASURER CAROL CRAGG OR GIFT AID SECRETARY DAVE McCALL.

 

Revd Keith Hitchman, Vicar.

Carol Cragg, Treasurer