From the Revd Ferial Etherington
Sir, — I was sorry to read the sentiments expressed by the Revd Dr W. S. Monkhouse (Letters, 18 September), although I do sympathise with his very rational conclusions, despite their strong whiff of legalism.
Dr Monkhouse’s advice to the PCC is to reduce its share payment. But the whole principle of “parish offer” is to ask people to be generous and aspirational rather than purely rational in their giving. The parish share is not a tax or a quota, and provides for the whole body of the Church, not just individual parishes. There are many, many parishes that couldn’t exist at all, were it not for the generosity of those places that give over and above their “share” to the whole Church — without counting the cost.
My advice to the PCC would be to listen the US philanthropist Warren Buffett, who says that, “Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” Could a smaller and more practical worship venue be used, perhaps?
Carlisle CA2 4TX
From Canon Geoffrey C. Mills
Sir, — The Revd Dr W. S. Monkhouse tells us that his advice to his PCC is not to pay the full parish share. There may be readers who find this great news and just what they have wanted to hear.
I can appreciate the predicament of PCCs that find their funds are shrinking fast. But, once we all descend into negative and defeatist attitudes, the difficulties become even more severe. There are positive ways forward that stem from our desire to share together in the mission of Christ. It seems to me that these are the ones that we are called to adopt.
First, ways can be found within both a diocese and a deanery to give and receive support and encouragement. Growing in understanding and awareness of the way the Church around us engages in the Christian mission can make a difference. Even growth in personal commitment as followers of Christ is something to which we can aspire.
For some, that could result in an increase in regular giving, at least by a little. The most important thing is for all within the Church to feel confident in one another, both in understanding and in desire to take steps forward. How budgets are arrived at, and how we all work within those budgets, becomes part of the experience. Individual parishes have their own challenges, but, all being well, they can better see the priorities, and how to work on them.
GEOFFREY C. MILLS
8 Hall Road
Rotherham S60 2BP