Thank you for all that you’re doing in your parish – the church on the ground where you are – all the extra work and the stress going into keeping the church together and focused on being the body of Christ in a bewildering and new situation.
Thank you too on behalf of all the other churches in the Diocese of York for all that you have given into the Common Fund this year – it is a joy that the Free Will Offerings received so far this year have been holding up much better than we might have expected.
You have so much to do to cope with the pandemic and all the uncertainties and extra demands on every church that we don’t want to load you down with another task – so we’re not going to ask you to come up with a new number for your church’s 2021 Free Will Offer.
Instead, we will pray that your present generosity and commitment will continue wherever it can, and assume that you’re going to aim for the same as your 2020 Free Will Offer pledge, unless you tell us otherwise. If you can give more next year, that will be hugely appreciated across the Diocese.
It is quite possible that your parish income will continue to struggle as a result of COVID19, and our Generous Giving Team continue to be available to support you in seeking to grow the number of regular givers in your congregation and the amount they give. They are also there to advise on the latest innovations to help people to give online and in other ways .
We know that things are tough at the moment and we suspect that, financially, they may get tougher before they get better. The gap between income and costs across the diocese is widening and we are digging into our family savings to get us through.
Obviously we can’t keep doing that so, depending on how well we are able to grow our regular giving and how much money is available through Free Will Offerings, we may be facing some difficult decisions about clergy and staff numbers in the next year or so.
If you need to talk to someone about your church’s Free Will Offer for 2021 or for 2020, you can contact your Archdeacon, or the Diocesan Free Will Offer team (firstname.lastname@example.org). And if you would like support in reviewing your income and seeking new sources of support, the Generous Giving Team will continue to offer their advice and mechanisms such as the Parish Giving Scheme to help you.
We’d love to hear from you - and may God bless us all as we work together to fund and resource the mission he’s entrusted to us.