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
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".