Birmingham has the most generous churchgoers

05 July 2013

SHUTTERSTOCK

CHURCHGOERS in Birmingham diocese were the most generous givers in 2011, statistics published by the Archbishops' Council's Research and Statistics Department suggest.

The C of E finance statistics for 2011, published on Monday, contain information provided by parishes via their annual finance return. The statistics show that churchgoers in Birmingham, who make regular donations, gave an average of 5.7 per cent of their income. Churchgoers in Sheffield diocese who made regular donations followed close behind, donating 5.6 per cent of their income.

The lowest proportion of income was donated by regular givers in Hereford diocese, where an average of two per cent of weekly income was donated.

The statistics show that the income of parochial church councils, across the C of E, increased, in actual terms, from £897 million in 2010 to £916 million in 2011. A significant proportion of this income came from donors, whose giving rose from £539 million in 2010 to £546 million in 2011.

The increase in donations, however, did not match the rate of inflation, meaning that, in real terms, income fell from £943 million in 2010 to £916 million in 2011.

The C of E's National Stewardship Officer, Dr John Preston, said: "2011 saw another year of increased parish incomes and giving, in large part due to the faith and commitment of regular givers. Although overall growth in income was lower than inflation, it is encouraging to note that the average weekly gift from our planned givers has risen by a further three per cent."

Parishes reported a deficit in 2011, for the third year running. But the deficit was smaller in 2011 (£13 million) compared with 2010 (£21 million). A foreword to the statistics report suggests that this shows "that churches are now adjusting their spending to meet available funds, as well as falling back on reserves built up prior to the recession".

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