Editorís Letter

Dear All

Most of this letter relates to the church, but many of the themes are relevant to the community. If we donít support the community then it will die just as much as the church.

Report of Mike Chamberís talk to the three Churches

Church attendance
There are many good and positive things about our three churches. In the diocese, attendance at church varies from 1-11% of adult population Ė attendance in our three churches is 11%. There is nowhere better in the diocese. We can congratulate ourselves on this so long as we arenít complacent. It is also true that many of our congregations are elderly. We need to think about growth and mission as Jesus commanded us to.

Commitment to poverty and mission overseas
Showing videos and the bring and share suppers have raised a lot for charities working overseas. They also give a chance for the whole community to join together and enjoy ourselves as well as raising money and awareness of the developing world. I donít know how much we have raised but must be well over £500 on the last two years.

Giving time
People are very generous in giving time to the church. There are certainly a lot of jobs to be done cutting grass, polishing cleaning and raising money. As a church and community we are very good at giving time.

Personal giving
Despite all our efforts, we do have great difficulty in making ends meet. It is easy to see why because the amount we give per person averaged over the year is £5.72 but the amount we need just to cover the parish share is £7.44 per person. We need more than this for running of the church. In the church we donít raise this by a membership subscription. Each person gives what their consciences move them to give. The problem is that some people are giving very generously and others are just tipping.

We can make up some of the difference by fund raising BUT our aim should be to cover our costs through our giving. Realistically we may not make it, but each one of us needs to think about our commitment to God.

The Church in Wales recommends everyone gives £5.00 per week or 5% of income (after tax) if that is more. This is far less than the Old Testament, which suggests 10%. The New Testament has a different view to the Old Testament. Everyone should according to his or her ability. The truth is that in most churches 50% of the giving comes from just 20% of the congregation. 95% of giving comes from 50% of the congregation. That means that 50% of the congregation only contribute 5% to the financial burden of running the church. Those figures seem fairly close to the situation on our 3 churches. It is good if the most able help the least able, but we still have to ask ourselves, is everyone really giving according to his or her ability?

What you give is between you and God. Some people just cannot afford very much and that is fine, so long as everyone takes giving seriously, and thinks about what they can really afford.

The Vicar