Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Number Crunching

While I was away the diocese of Oxford issues its figures for 2010, including proposed deanery share increases and the cost of ministry. The overall budget is only going up by 2.5% but the share for Milton Keynes is still going up by 7.5% because we are still running at a shortfall.

In a time of recession and as people face difficult decisions - both in business and in church life - it's worth reflecting on some of these figures.

The overall cost of Anglican ministry in Milton Keynes in 2010 will be £717,044 which covers 17 full time ministers and various non-stipendiaries. It also includes a contribution to the work of the diocese from 28 churches - which covers our work with schools, mission, training and parish support. Cheap at the cost, you may say...

The diocese gives us four free posts because we have areas of deprivation. This does enable us to contribute a post to the Christian Foundation, and pay for a Development Chaplain, and (in theory) support some of the churches in less prosperous areas.

In reality we only pay a fraction of the cost of ministry in Milton Keynes. Our Deanery Share next year - which has gone up by 7.5% - will still only be £546,931 - and we are only intending to pay £462,122 - and may not even reach that target since at least one of our parishes will probably default because they think £16,000 is too much...

I n other words we will be benefiting next year from £254,923 which will need to come from other Deaneries and parishes in Oxford Diocese. A quarter of a million pounds!

And my point? It's not really very fair to complain about the diocese and say that they're not supporting us - or that they should give more. Over the past forty years they have been incredibly generous and supportive to mission in Milton Keynes. We can't ask for more! We should really be incredibly thankful.

Our challenge is still to put our own house in order. We need to keep increasing our contributions until they are more appropriate to the ministry we deploy. We need to think more carefully about the way we use our full-time clergy - and we need to give ourselves a bit more flexibility so that we can deploy extra ministry into situations of particular need or opportunity.

I believe that we need to adopt an attitude of generous sustainability. We need to be generous, because this isn't about us or our needs, it's about God and his mission. We need to be sustainable, because that is the only way we can witness to a world of consumerism, consumption and greed. At a time of recession, ecological crisis and debt, the Church needs to show the way forward into a different world...

1 comment:

Eccentric Paul said...

In a past life I was a church treasurer.

It is always a challenge to motivate people to give more to the church.

If we look at all the good gifts and generousity we get from God and the amount we give to the church there is always a big difference.

There are always competing demands on our income most of which can be justified as being essential.

In a church I was in recently a video showed that we should start cutting up the cake of our income by giving to God first rather than what is left.