From the Revd Cheryl Collins
Sir, — I read with interest your short paragraph concerning the record profits of Ecclesiastical Insurance in the first half of this year (News, 28 August).
As someone who has experienced lead-theft from two church roofs in her group of small rural parishes, I found this quite offensive. Although I was told that Ecclesiastical had now changed its policy about paying out insurance on lead-thefts, it is too late for us; and one of my small churches is trying to work out how to raise enough money to pay for roof replacement costing £27,000, and parish share of nearly £24,000, with a village population of c.650. Meanwhile, the inclement weather continues to damage the chancel ceiling, despite our best efforts.
I am not claiming any special circumstances for my parishes: I suspect we are representative of other parishes in a similar position. Although I understand that the money has gone to the Allchurches charitable trust for distribution, it would be a welcome gesture, at least, if Ecclesiastical were proactive in drawing the attention of churches in a similar position to mine to the possibility of a grant from Allchurches, and did everything it could to help them succeed in their application.
Ecclesiastical’s previous policy has tainted it in my eyes, and the eyes of many clergy and parishioners. We would find it easier to hear it described as an “ethical” financial-services group if such action was taken.
The Rectory, New Road
Chevington, Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk IP29 5QL