Thanks to the generosity of churches like yours, we are hoping to receive £12.8m in Parish Share in 2023. This will go towards the £16.4m it will cost to pay for our 310 clergy, curates and their homes. Every pound that we receive in Share pays for mission and ministry. It ensures Christ is known and we build God’s Kingdom in every corner of our Diocese.
Please see below a message from Bishop Nick.
'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also' Matthew 6:21
A letter from Bishop Nick to parishes about Parish Share can be found here.
Our 2024 Parish Share Guide can be found here.
On this Page:
- What is Parish Share
- The Bible and Parish Share
- Diocesan Budget 2023
- How is Parish Share Calculated?
- What if We Have Difficulty Paying?
What is Parish Share?
Parish Share is the amount of money that your parish is asked to contribute to pay for mission and ministry, specifically for clergy stipends and their housing. This page explains how the costs of mission and ministry are worked out and what those costs are for 2023. You will also learn how this overall figure is divided between the parishes and benefices by a formula that seeks to recognise the need of some churches to be supported by others.
Thanks to your support, with Share we are able to ensure:
- Every communion is celebrated
- Every sermon is preached
- Every bereaved family is comforted
- Every school assembly takes place
- Every baptism and wedding is ministered
Every person is shown the love of Christ through our compassion and comfort.
The Bible and Parish Share
Using the Parish Share system means that we’re able to offer mission and ministry across the whole of our diocese. More importantly perhaps, resourcing the work of the church this way follows some principles we find in Scripture. God is our Heavenly Father whose nature as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is to invite us be in a relationship with Him, and with one another. Parish Share is one way we act, as Christians, to fulfil our calling and even reflect God’s own relational nature.
Who We Are and What We’re For
As Christians, we understand our lives first and foremost in the light of our relationship with God. Our identity, who we are, is deeply rooted in whose we are. Children of a loving and generous Father, He invites us to a closer and deeper relationship with Him, and so we grow in love and faith as members of the church, the Body of Christ.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
(Romans 12:4-5, NIV)
We’re not all the same, and not all of our church communities are the same, but, like different parts of the body we each play our own part in ensuring the flourishing of the whole body. In our diocese we use the words “Living, Loving, Learning” to describe our mission. Living together this way, as members of the one body, we pray and worship God together, we share His love with others by serving our neighbours, and we invite others to know the joy and fulfilment of a life with God at our centre, and the peace of eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Indeed, the mission to share the Good News is an urgent one.
For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not hear? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:13-15, NIV)
As a tool which supports the mission of the church, Parish Share is grounded in our calling to share together a life shaped in response to God’s abundant generosity, and the hope we have in Him.
Parish Share presents an opportunity for each church community, according to their ability, to participate in the financial costs of ministry throughout our diocese. In this way, ministry may be sustained in poorer communities where otherwise this would not be possible.
As St Paul writes:
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.”
(2 Corinthians 8:13-14, NIV)
Inevitably, calculations and formulae must be chosen to ensure that Parish Share is fairly requested from each church community. However, at its heart, the Parish Share is a part of our response to the extraordinary generosity we receive from God.
We know that as the creator of everything, God is the true owner of everything, and we are simply stewards of all that we have. We are called to be prayerful and sacrificial in our giving, both as individuals and as church communities responding to Parish Share.
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
(2 Corinthians 9:6-9, NIV)
To give generously is to be caught up in the overflow of God’s grace for, when we give, we reflect the nature of God himself.
Fundamental to every aspect of Christian discipleship, including financial stewardship and Parish Share, is that our hope is always in the Lord. We look to him to strengthen and guide us, and to provide for our needs. The model for discipleship presented in the Gospels is based upon dependence upon God’s provision (Matthew 6:30) rather than upon the building up of levels of reserves by those who can afford, aiming to provide total security for themselves for the future, as in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21).
The Parish Share principles of mutuality and providing for the needs of all, as opposed to the ‘survival of the fittest’, are somewhat at odds with many attitudes we might encounter in our 21st Century world. And yet as Christians, we are bound together as members of the Body of Christ, called to live as generous disciples extending the love of God to the whole world. By ensuring that the church may offer ministry beyond those communities which could readily afford it, Parish Share is a means of justice, of true, Christ-centred generosity and even sharing the very love of God, no less.
Diocesan Budget 2023
How Is Parish Share Calculated?
There are three main components by which we calculate Share for every parish or benefice.
A resource factor based on the deployment of ministry of a stipendiary priest or house-for-duty priest and a contribution to support costs (67%).(House-for-duty is where a priest lives in the vicarage in exchange for offering priestly ministry to a benefice, but without receiving a stipend). The total direct costs in 2022 for one clergy member is calculated as £62K. This is not what the clergy are paid but takes into account the stipend cost, employer’s national insurance contribution, the cost of pension provision, housing costs, clergy training and other costs.
Clergy Training and other costs includes the provision of curates in training, archdeacons, all clergy and lay training, chaplaincy posts and other central administrative costs. The real cost of clergy in training is much higher but we have been able to reduce the overall costs to parishes by using other sources of revenue received by our diocese (e.g. investment income, stipendiary fees, Church Commissioners’ income, etc.)
This takes into account the differing size of churches and their consequent ability and capacity to contribute towards Parish Share. It would be inappropriate and inequitable for two churches with differing congregation sizes, to be asked for the same. To reflect this difference between the sizes of congregations, attendance data (based on adult Usual Sunday Attendance from 2017, 2018 and 2019 as supplied by each parish to the Statistics Department of Church House in Westminster) has been used as forming 33% of the Parish Share calculation. The data has been updated for the 2023 Share Requests.
This incorporates a social economic factor to each parish based on the 2019 Indices of Multiple Deprivation data, updated from the 2015 Indices for the 2023 Share Requests. The Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) as revised in 2019, reflects the relative deprivation in our Diocese and ensures that the system has strong elements of mutual support (i.e. more wealthy parishes supporting those less wealthy). This measure is independent, rigorous, fair, readily available and usable in our parochial context. IMD has the advantage over many of the government statistics available in that it has been calculated at parish level as commissioned by the central church. It uses this index in determining the allocation of the Church Commissioners’ funding to the poorer dioceses of which we are one.
IMD does not, however, fully take into account the rural deprivation and our Parish Share system therefore adds an additional weighting for small congregations in low population areas (defined as fewer than 50 attendees and a parish population of 1500 or fewer). If a parish meets these criteria and is below average on the deprivation scale, (is more wealthy), any additional cost will not be applied. If on the other hand such a parish is above average on the deprivation scale it will continue to receive the reduction in cost as appropriate.
Note: The IMD factor is applied to both main components of the Parish Share formula based on 67% on deployment costs and 33% on attendance.
The Share system also uses maximum and minimum Parish Share parameters for the calculation of Parish Share:
- The wealthier (least deprived) parishes will be asked to pay for no more two additional stipendiary posts in addition to the costs of their directly allocated parochial clergy. This is a principle previously articulated by some of our wealthier parishes who expressed their generosity by explaining to their congregations that, as well as paying for their own resources, they should support the provision of an additional priest for a rurally deprived parish and one for an inner - city deprived parish.
- The most deprived parishes that have one stipendiary priest will be assessed on 30% of cost. This is a 70% reduction and therefore at a level which feels achievable.
Capping Of Parish Share Based On Total Unrestricted Income
Paying Parish Share in full can be a major challenge for a number of our churches and the focus needs to be on affordability. There are a number of parishes where the Share request in the past has been close to or more than 100% of the parish’s total income. This is totally unachievable and a disincentive to the parish to work towards paying it’s Parish Share in full. The system formula caps Parish Share to a maximum of 80% of total unrestricted income.
Restrict Level Of Increases And Decreases
To ease the effect of the new Parish Share formula it has been decided that any increase be limited to 10% from current Share and any decreases be limited to 5%. This will give those churches facing significant increases an opportunity to develop their income to meet the additional request and come fully in line with the new system. The Share increase of 10% would be inclusive of normal diocesan cost inflation and not in addition to it.
What If We Have Difficulty Paying?
If you find that your parish cannot pay either because you believe that you have been wrongly assessed or because the Share you are being asked for has increased beyond the means of your parish - don’t do nothing! In the first instance contact your Area Dean and Archdeacon who will then discuss your parish situation with you and tell you where to find further support.
Often parishes find that in a review of their budget and levels of financial giving can help them greatly in a meeting their financial obligations. The Stewardship and Income Generation Team, based in the Diocesan Office can offer support, including:
- Growing a generous culture in your church
- Advice on cutting costs and everyday utility bills
- Maximising Gift Aid and tax recovery on your giving
- Introducing new ways for people to give monetary gifts to your church
- Accessing external funding
Please contact a member of the team at email@example.com
You may also find it useful to talk to the Director of Church Revitalisation, Jude Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org