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Parish Share frequently asked questions

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Parish Share Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is parish share?

    Parish share is what every parish contributes to resource mission and ministry across our diocese.  Because the Diocese of Guildford doesn’t get any income from the government, and contributes money to the wider church of England to help parishes in poorer parts of the country, we must raise everything we spend ourselves. With very few historic reserves and investments, this means today’s people are paying for today’s church and helping to lay strong foundations for tomorrow. This is how parish share helps us to be a transforming church, transforming lives across all our communities, not just those who can afford it.
  • How much does the Diocese of Guildford have to raise each year?

    We need to raise just under £12million a year to meet our commitments to funding ministry and mission in our diocese, and what we pay to the national church. Of this, 94% is raised through parish share, with parochial fees (4%) and investments (2%) making up the remainder.

    For more information see our three year budget plan.

  • How is the money spent?

    Two thirds of our expenditure goes on the direct costs of ministry, and housing for our clergy. This includes council tax, national insurance, and pension contributions. The remaining third is split between our parish support, administrative and legal responsibilities and what we contribute to the national church.

    For more information see our three year budget plan.

  • Who commissioned the review and approved the outcome?

    In 2014, Diocesan Synod passed a motion asking the new Bishop of Guildford (before Bishop Andrew arrived) to work with Bishop’s Council to ensure that parish share supported, and did not inhibit growth. The review-proper began in March 2016 with an initial consultation event held in Guildford Cathedral, at which the National Stewardship advisor, Dr John Preston, spoke.  Diocesan Synod has voted on different stages of the review, and approved the new method at its meeting in June 2017. The basis of applying support through mission investment was approved by Synod in November 2017.
  • What has the review set out to achieve?

    The review has set out to ensure that we have a workable parish share system, founded on theological principals which supports growth, and equips us to meet our diocesan vision of Transforming Church, Transforming Lives.
  • What are the theological principles?

    In his presentations to different groups throughout the review process, the Bishop of Guildford has drawn on three verses of scripture which a parish system should reflect:

    • 1 Timothy 5:18: ‘The labourer deserves to be paid’
    • 1 Corinthians 12:22: ‘The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable’
    • 2 Corinthians 8:15: ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little’
  • Who was on the steering group?

    The steering group included incumbents from larger churches and smaller churches, churchwardens, treasurers, area deans, diocesan officers and archdeacons. It met around 15 times throughout the process, at regular intervals.

    View the full list of members.

  • How long has the review taken?

    The first consultation meetings with groups from across the Diocese took place at the start of 2016. Diocesan Synod approved the basis for the new parish share system in June 2017 with the beginning of implementation in January 2019. So, this time falls into three phases: Evaluation (Jan – June 2016), Design (June 2016 – November 2017) and implementation (November 2017 to Jan 2019).
  • Who has been consulted?

    As well as three consultation events attended by treasurers and incumbents, PCCs and individuals responded via a questionnaire, as well as groups of area deans, larger church leaders, smaller church leaders and other dioceses. Roughly 300 people have fed in to the process through these routes.
  • What are the main changes under the new system?

    The total cost of parish share across the diocese is not changed, however two main changes under the new system are:

    1. A more representative ministry cost, reflecting more fully the costs directly associated with an incumbent and which includes elements previously included in the ‘shared cost’ element. The result is that the total we need to raise is now 2/3 ministry costs and 1/3 shared costs, which reflects our budgeted expenditure categories, where previously this had not aligned, and was closer to 50/50.
    2. More deliberate application of mission investment. In the previous model, automatic caps and floors were in place to limit year-on-year increase, and to ensure parish share expenditure did not exceed a certain percentage of total expenditure. The result of these automatic caps and floors was a cost of c.£600k, which was raised through the shared cost element. These adjustments and their cumulative effect were often obscured and some parishes were not even aware that they were in receipt of these. The new model generates the same amount (corresponding to about 5% of the budget) but now it will be applied intentionally. Using a formula approved by Synod this will be applied into parishes which have a particular need owing to their mission and ministry focused on areas of deprivation or with especially high population, as well as some specific growth opportunities. In the short term, we will also generate a support fund to help those most affected by the transition
  • What will the change mean for my parish?

    Some parish share will increase, some will decrease, and some will stay about the same. Changes to your Parish Share amount will be phased in over the next few years. Treasurers and Incumbents will be contacted in early 2018 with an illustration of how their parish share will look on the new basis, along with year by year transition steps from the current figure to the new basis particular to their parish. Meetings have been taking place with the parishes likely to be most significantly affected by the change, to ensure everybody has a plan in place.
  • Is anything staying the same?

    The basic framework is similar to the previous system, as we add ministry costs to shared costs to give the total for each parish. The total amount we need to raise together isn’t changing (other than by inflation each year). We will still recharge ministry directly, and have a shared cost element which is based on membership and affluence.
  • How is the ministry cost calculated?

    Under the new system the ministry cost is c.£56.3k (at the 2018 budget level). This is the same for every parish. ​The ministry cost includes your vicar’s stipend, national insurance and pension contributions, as well as their housing and council tax. In the new model, we have added to this the costs of your vicar’s ongoing training, as well as the training of our future clergy.
  • Why has the cost of clergy increased?

    To represent more accurately what the diocese spends on supporting its clergy. Clergy costs now account for 2/3 of parish share income, and 2/3 of our expenditure is committed to the direct costs ministry.
  • Which clergy are included in parish share?

    Only the ‘core’ incumbent post is recharged through parish share. Any costs related to associate ministers are handled separately. Frequently this is one clergyperson per parish. Associate ministers are paid via the central stipends service, but an invoice by recharge is made to the parish. House for Duty posts are recharged through parish share if they are the main minister for a parish.
  • How is the shared cost calculated?

    We take the all-week attendance submitted by each parish through the October counts each year as part of the Parish Returns, and multiply this by a relative affluence factor. This gives a proportion of the shared costs which each parish is asked to contribute. As the total sum of shared costs is now smaller, the effect of growth in numbers on parish share increase is now less pronounced.
  • How is membership measured?

    Membership is measured by parishes each year in the month of October. To reflect a more diverse worship pattern in many parishes, this has changed to the all-week attendance average under the new system.

    For more information on your parish data, see the parish returns website

  • How is affluence measured?

    This has changed so that, rather than using simple council tax bandings, we now take a dataset for the entire population of the parish area from Experian. This minimises administration at parish level, and means that the data is more reflective of the overall financial position of those in the parish, rather than just the size of their house.
  • Will the old ‘caps’ for growth and expenditure apply?

    No, these have been replaced by more refined methodology of mission investment grants (see below). Caps and floors will not apply from 2019.
  • What happens in a united benefice?

    Parish share will now be calculated on a parish by parish basis. As before, parishes within benefices and deaneries are encouraged to work together to offer support during periods of financial challenge, but the responsibility will rest with each parish to meet what is requested.
  • Do we have to pay parish share during a clergy vacancy?

    Every parish is asked to pay its full parish share for the first year of a vacancy (savings from all vacancies are shared among parishes equally). However, in response to feedback received, on the new basis, beyond twelve months, the vacancy will be considered to be abnormally long, and a discount of 50% of the ministry costs may be applied at the parish’s request.
  • What happens in a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP)?

    The guiding principle for LEPs is that the parish should not be asked to pay more than it would as a normal parish simply for being an LEP. For example, where a Methodist circuit counted membership, this number would not be double counted by the diocese. Ministry costs are generally paid to whichever denomination is providing the clergyperson. As every LEP is different, a workable solution for particular instances should be reached in consultation with the Deputy Diocesan Secretary.
  • How long will the transition be?

    The standard transition will be three years, which means full transition by the year beginning in January 2021. In order to support a longer transition period for some particular parishes facing a particularly challenging change, where parishes are receiving a reduced request, it is asked that this be extended to five years.
  • What are mission investment grants?

    Mission investment grants replace caps and floors as the way we help to give financial support where it is most needed. These will help those in a deprived area, those most affected by the change, and those with a higher-than-average population. More details below.
  • How does the deprivation support grant work?

    Deprivation support grants provide support for mission and ministry to deprived areas and communities which are unlikely to be able to fully self-fund the ministry cost of clergy over the longer term. This is applied as a contribution towards the direct cost of providing a minister in that parish.
  • How are parishes being supported through implementation?

    A number of measures have been applied in consultation with parishes and Area Deans. These include extended transition and limited period reductions. In addition to this, the Parish Support team is on hand to work with any parish in need, as well as offering stewardship advice, and links to resources such as the parish giving scheme, which helps support tax efficient and inflation-linked giving.
  • How does the population grant work?

    Recognising both the challenge and missional opportunity in parishes with large populations, support in the form of a discretionary grant is available. The grant is applied as a proportional discount of ministry costs, beginning at 5% if the parish population per incumbent is greater than 10,000, increasing to a maximum of 45% where this exceeds 18,000. Grants will be awarded where a Church Development Plan relates to ministry to a high population area, and are agreed through discussion with the parish.
  • How are mission investment grants funded?

    By all of us, through the shared cost element of parish share. This is one way in which we are able to support each other in our ministry to communities across the diocese.
  • Where can I get help with a stewardship programme?

    Juliet Evans on the diocesan team has resources and advice to help with a stewardship programme.

    Further details.

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