Once again the time has come round to the Church anniversary and Gift Day to be held on Sunday 9th October which I would invite you all to respond to. For me it seems like only yesterday that we had last year’s anniversary, whilst for Stephen this is a first celebration.
The church finances are still holding firm although the level of offertory giving both through the collection plate and via bank payments has fallen this last year, which is disappointing. I would like to thank everyone who has continued to make financial contributions to the church. The standing orders, bank payments and cheques received have been an essential lifeline financially. Without this, the finances of the church would be in an extremely perilous state but we continue to meet our financial obligations and are moving forward to, and planning for an exciting future serving God in our community in ways that are both new and old.
A significant reason for our continued success has been the mission and outreach that the church has sought to carry out in the community around us; having the vision to seek to serve those who are less fortunate and to demonstrate the love of God in care and other practical means of support. Part of that vision is the ‘Connect: A Space to Share‘ building project with ‘Make & Brew‘ operating the café in the new link area. There are significant financial demands from this project to deliver a building that is right for our mission purposes so please continue to be as generous as you can towards the repayment of the borrowing incurred from completing this project. Single gifts and regular standing orders are both needed to repay the loan. The annual cost of loan repayments is just over £25,000 which remains a challenge. In addition, there is some concern that the financial aspect of this project has made our financial outlook appear rather inward looking; focusing on the need to pay for the work and the borrowing. This is something that we wish to correct by creating the ability to respond positively to situations where financial need is presented to us all over the world. Our founder, John Wesley said ‘The world is my parish’ so it is important for the finances of the church to be in a position where our actions as a church can reflect this statement and respond appropriately.
At the moment, every one of us is having to look carefully at their budgets with the cost of energy in particular, but also inflation during this time of great uncertainty. The church is no different. The gas price has doubled and the electricity contract is due for renewal during the next year yet we continue to offer a ‘space to share’ with the community around and about us.
The church is also seeking to employ a ‘Children and Families Worker’ in order to improve and develop the work that we are doing with young people and families. The appointment was approved at a previous church council and has been financially supported by the Circuit but we will need to provide some funds for the new worker to operate with as the activities he/she will need to engage in will inevitably incur some cost.
Whenever we celebrate an anniversary (a birthday or wedding anniversary) we bring a gift. Please consider an Anniversary Gift to the church to help to ensure the future of God’s work in this place. The money that you give will be used for general church purposes, supporting the day-to-day work of the church, the work of the Families Worker and maintenance of our building. In order to demonstrate the church’s commitment to supporting financially situations in the wider world where funds are needed, a tenth (tithe) of the sum given plus any relevant Gift Aid from those who are able to give in that way too, will be ring-fenced for an ‘Emergency Response Fund’.
With every blessing to all our members and friends as we celebrate together.
Rev. Stephen Robinson (Minister) & Neil Hitch (Treasurer)
On behalf of the Church Leadership Team