A full review of the Diocese of Guildford's parish share system is underway.
Over a hundred PCC treasurers attended a parish share consultation day at Guildford Cathedral in March 2016 to hear from the Bishop of Guildford, Diocesan Secretary Peter Coles and keynote speaker John Preston, National Stewardship advisor, before having the opportunity to form small discussion groups and give feedback.
Following the meeting, feedback from this and other discussion groups was distilled into eight tests of whether a new parish share system had met its priorities, asking whether a new system was:
3. Locally owned?
4. Affluence/poverty weighted?
5. Easy to understand?
6. Encourages generosity?
8. Clear on non-payment consequences?
Against these objectives, the steering group then met to consider three possible broad models, one a ‘ministry plus membership’ model evolved from the present system, one ‘ministry’ model, building all costs into a ministry overhead and one ‘offer’ option whereby parishes would pledge however much they chose.
At its meeting of June 2016, Diocesan Synod adopted the 8 tests, and decided that owing to the high reliance on parish share in the Diocese of Guildford (95%) as compared to other dioceses which are also funded by historic reserves, that an offer based system would not be a good model for us, and so the steering group has been asked to model two fresh approaches, based on Ministry and Membership and Ministry only.
Deputy Diocesan Secretary, Nick Edmonds, who is coordinating the review, said: "we've had some very high quality feedback from a number of groups, which have helped to identify the common issues, and I think the '8 tests' are a memorable and concise way of using the feedback points to ensure the system being developed is fit for purpose."
"Our Diocesan Vision and Mission Strategy Transforming Church; Transforming Lives has given us a shared set of goals for parishes to work towards, and now it is important that the funding of the work across our diocese is understood widely, and supports those ends."
"As we move into the modelling phase, there will be further opportunities for consultation in the new year, so there are no surprises when we hope to have a new system ready to roll out this time next year."
Next steps will be to conclude modelling work which is already underway to look at different methods for measuring affluence in parishes. Once complete, this will be expanded into full models for the two systems proposed, which the steering group will discuss ahead of making a recommendation for Diocesan Synod in June 2017. Further consultation and transition planning will take place in the new year, to ensure parishes are involved and informed. If you have any queries about the process, please contact Nick Edmonds at firstname.lastname@example.org