Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our Parish Share survey in May! The 83 responses were invaluable in shaping our new Parish Share approach.
One of things that we celebrate as Anglicans is the way that through Parish Share, we are all able to support each other. Parishes that currently have more than they need give to support the parishes that need it, in order to provide vital ministry in every part of our diocese.
The survey came after a wider review on Parish Share, and involved reflecting on how things have changed since our last review in 2016, evaluating various options going forward, learning from other dioceses and a focus group, participants of which were selected to represent a broad cross-section of the diocese. The survey then opened to allow a broad range of parishes to comment on the new proposed methodology.
Themes that were mentioned a lot in the survey included:
The need for greater transparency around what other parishes give, what parish share is spent on, and a clear breakdown of figures
More information on what a vicar actually costs, and how these figures compare nationally.
A strong desire to help parishes in less-affluent areas and to hear stories of how Parish Share makes a difference there
The survey also revealed a clear majority in favour of taking into consideration large reserves where a parish was not paying the full parish share request. Some people wanted to know more about diocesan reserves, indicating that the diocese needs to be clearer that these benefit parishes directly, with the income from investments contributing a good proportion of parish support.
When asked whether parish share should be allocated to a deanery, rather than to individual parishes, around a quarter said yes and a quarter said no, while the rest were unsure. There was some interest in peer-to-peer support; this is envisaged under the new TCT Strategy.
The survey revealed that most people are happy with the current Oct 31 deadline.
The method for calculating Parish Share was also addressed. The survey laid out the proposed new approach for calculating Parish Share:
Any new approach is likely to be based on calculating costs for:
Local Clergy costs (Stipends, housing etc) - costs pro-rata according to the level of stipendiary clergy support allocated
Training new ordinands (costs split across parishes according to income)
Shared costs of ministry* (costs split across parishes according to income)
plus adding or subtracting an additional amount for those who are either more able or less able to pay.
It asked to what extent this new calculation method was fair, transparent and simple? The responses showed that most people saw it as very fair and transparent, and reasonably simple. It will therefore be adopted as the basis for the new approach for calculating Parish Share.
In other comments, the pandemic and current cost of living were mentioned as significant issues affecting a parish’s ability to fulfil its pledge. There were also several messages of encouragement and support for the Parish Share team, which are much appreciated. Our Parish Share team are grateful to be working with people who so obviously have a heart to support parish ministry both locally and wider, through Parish Share.
The survey also asked what communications were most useful. The next stage is to work on these, with a plan to have these ready for the end of July.
If you have any further feedback or queries, please get in touch with our Parish Share team.
*Shared costs of ministry includes training future ordinands, training and support for curates, central support for parishes (safeguarding, chaplaincy costs, communications).