Amount churches pay to diocese being investigated

LOCAL Church of England congregations are committed to sending £646,998 to the Diocese of Winchester this year – but there are moves to change how that sum is calculated.

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LOCAL Church of England congregations are committed to sending £646,998 to the Diocese of Winchester this year – but there are moves to change how that sum is calculated.

And Winchester has also indicated that it wants to revise how it is structured to create greater accountability.

Both issues are highlighted in the diocese’s 2012 annual report, which also outlines a change to how the finance board which controls spending is made up.

This removed direct representation from Guernsey and Jersey as well as other bishops, archdeacons and members of the clergy.

Guernsey and Jersey’s relationship with Winchester is strained and there is talk of splitting from the diocese with the Dean, the Very Rev. Canon Paul Mellor, acknowledging that there are ‘a whole range of issues’ that have led to this situation.

Comments for: "Amount churches pay to diocese being investigated"

Woody

If they're unhappy with their relationship with Winchester and are unhappy with the amount they have to pay to them... Could they not break off and form a "Diocese of the Channel Islands" and keep all of the money in house? Maybe then we could stop paying for them through our parish rates when a lot of people don't want their money going towards the church

soph

We can be cast aside and ask to join another another diocese?

Just because of another island's spat!

No qualms about paying here for parish church upkeep but one wonders how and who monitors it?

Where are the accountable income/expenditure to be found?

johnl

Could somebody tell me where this money comes from,does it come from collections from the congregations or does it come from Parish rates system?

Dave Gorvel

Money to diocese of Winchester is from collections, fund raising etc. but repair of churches and rectories is from a parish remede. If repairs where done in a business like way it would reduce the remede dramatically.

CSR

Dave,

You raise an interesting point there ref the repairs; do the parish authorities have any powers to 'vet' the tenders the church accept in respect of repairs etc, or do the church have 'carte blanche' to accept what they 'feel' is right.

It sounds like you have information that suggests the remede could be reduced if a new method of working was adopted? Can you comment any further?

Dave Gorvel

CSR. Since the ratepayers/parishioners own the churchs and rectories, we should have more say but if there are more douzaine members who are happy leaving it historically to the churchwardens nothing happens. If the majority of douzaine members were prepared to force the issue costs would come down by as much as 30 to 40%.

The management at the moment is in my opinion appalling, no business would survive if run as badly.

The PERRC report could change this as long as the members(rector, two church wardens, two douzaine, two parishioners) of this new committee are open minded and not all aligned to the church.

I have always believed since the church is an historical building we should repair it on the basis every £ should be spent efficiently.

CSR

Thanks for the response Dave, it seems like a good parochial shake up is needed. I am not against the parishioners providing a 'reasonable' level of upkeep for a parish church as I believe it to be an important part of parish/island life (I am not particularly religious by the way), but as you say, a more 'business like' approach is needed.

Island Wide Voting

It would make very interesting reading if the GEP were to set a cub reporter the task of researching the Press Gazette archives to dig out the individual annual costs of each parish Church and Rectory repair bills over the last say five years ( ten would be better)

I remember a few years ago reading that the accepted 'single' quote for re-pointing the Torteval Church steeple was several times more than I paid for my house in the 60's

Surely there should be at least an unwritten rule that three quotes are sourced before anyone can 'forcibly volunteer' parishioners to pay up for possibly vastly overpriced work

Martino

At the same time perhaps the GP could get hold of a certain Deputy Gollop and find out why he and his PERCC committee still have not come up with any concrete proposals?

Getting ratepayers to fund the actual churches is one thing but funding the rectories is simply unacceptable in this day and age. When are we going to see some action?

Watcher

Martino

There have been a succession of Chairmen and Committee members "working" on this issue since 2004 (ish) . With apologies to Simon and Garfunkle all we have had is "the sound of silence". Time to grasp this difficult nettle and actually do something, Deputy Gollop is always telling everyone else what they should be doing, about time he walked the talk.

Martino

Could not agree more Watcher and I almost sense a conspiracy here. If you wanted the status quo who would you appoint to "work" on this matter?

A patsy politician who is a master of dither and dather and who will spent years on it and, when he and his weak committee finally come out with some a 'report', it will be a rather worthless document that avoids the more difficult issues. Hopefully I will be proved wrong though.

Dave Gorvel

Rectories will be run by the douzaine on behalf of the parishioners, if John Gollop get something in gear, as he has done little so far.

Again the churches have fellowship halls etc in the rectories stopping the full use and income obtainable.

It is up to more parishioners (not just a few)to attend and vote on these issues.

Every item in the remede has to be approved by them pour or conch.

My parish has a website all this information should be in with minutes of meeting etc. There should be no secret of what is spent or done with ratepayers money.

Island Wide Voting

A good opportunity to ask Mr Gollop about progress would be at the next States Assembly question time ... that's what question time is for

A great pity that some of the lesser known deputies don't use that time more often to raise their own profile,but so many of them appear determined to avoid rocking the boat

Shane Langlois

CSR

Parishioners have always had the right to reject any expenditure on their Parish Church or Rectory at Parish Meetings. In 2012 PERRC made a series of simple recommendations which survived the then Chief Minister’s attempt to torpedo them and they were approved by the States. A key resolution was that the parish’s ownership of its Rectory would be formally confirmed, it would become part of the parish’s secular property portfolio. All we should be waiting for now is the legislation stemming from those resolutions to be drafted and presented to the States. Who knows what the hold up is?

IWV

There is no need to enlist the help of a cub reporter, PERRC reported those figures on p810 of Billet IV 2012.

Martino & Watcher

There are concrete proposals as all PERRC’s recommendations were approved by the States in 2012. It is curious however that Watcher’s “sound of silence” has descended since then.

PLP

Shane

You have confirmed what I thought was the case - namely that parish church expenditure can be rejected by parishioners in a democratic vote. All that remains therefore is for those who feel strongly about this to turn up at the parish meeting in sufficient force (it shouldn't take that many!) and vote against the funding.

I accept that wouldn't solve the underlying problem of church/state entanglement or deal with the Ecclesiastical Court (which still needs looking at) but I reckon the loss of funding for a few parish churches would force the issue to the fore in double quick time.

For the record my personal belief is that no statutory imposed rates / taxation should be used to fund churches. It is for the local church communities to fund their places of worship - indeed at the heart of the Christian faith is the principle that the church should be serving and giving to the community, not taking from it.

I take on board Disciple's point that the buildings are attractive as I agree with him. Nevertheless, the current situation is so alien to the New Testament Christianity I read about in the Bible and has created such ill feeling towards the church within the community that if the price of correcting that is a few ancient buildings it's a price worth paying.

Island Wide Voting

Shane

Thanks for that.The report can be found at ...

http://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=5385&p=0

It looks like all the work has been done and at 124 pages,starting at page 795 it's certainly quite comprehensive.The charts on pages 810 and 811 show that the average cost of the ten parish church repairs and maintenance between 2001 and 2011 amounts to £39,000 per year and £7,800 per year for the rectories

£7,800 per year is probably much more than most of the ratepayers spend on their own homes each year but we in the Vale appear to come out best at £1 per year on the rates for the rectory and £9 per year for the church

It looks like it's entirely up to the parish ratepayers to attend in sufficient numbers to make their objections at the rates meetings if proposed repairs appear to be over priced

Joshua

And yet we allow them to be exempt from tax.

Nick Le P

John West explained the reasons for this on the other thread. However, I am guessing that in your opinion all charities should pay tax on donations etc?

Also as a non-resident, could you confirm what rate of tax companies pay in Guernsey now?

Phil

Tax rate for companies is between 0 and 20% depending on their activity. They are not tax exempt.

Nick Le P

Presumably you are if you pay 0%? How many companies does that apply to?

Phil

Being taxed at 0% is different to being exempt.

I suggest you direct your question to the income tax office.

Nick Le P

Of course you are right Phil, however, the result for the exchequer is the same.

Also, I agree with you and others who feel that your rates and Ecclesiastical Court fees should not go to C of E funds. That said, I think that Churches and other charities should remain tax exempt.

Mike

I always have and always will resent part of my rates going to a church.

nicky St Peter Port

This seems to be an inordinately large sum to ask of the Island Churches which, presumably will come from collections and practising congregations.

I have no objection to paying for church upkeep out of my rates while the Church of England is the Established Church of our country. As such its being is entitled to upkeep by the populace.

Phil

Me too Mike, I'm seriously considering not paying them next year and forcing the issue through the courts, all the way to Strasbourg if necessary.

Ditto with the fees payable to the ecclesiastical court, at some point in the (hopefully distant) future, I will have the opportunity to challenge these as well, and it's very tempting to do so, why should I or anybody else have to pay money to the parasitic Church of England which has billions in assets yet still leeches non believers?

Herbert Roth

Agreed Phil & Mike.

My family has recently had probate dealings with the Ecclesiastical Court & the whole process seems designed to make them large amounts of money for very little actual work.

Government & religion should be separated, we are no longer living in medieval times.

Clive

100% agree with Mike, Phil and Herbert here. That we're forced, against our will, to pay for something that some of us do not want and do not believe in is terrible. If the Church wants cash then their free to rinse those that want to give. But it should be optional.

That it's included in our taxes is disgusting quite frankly. I'd like to see a breakdown of how much the taxpayer actually pays towards the church as I think it would open some eyes.

I've no problem with people wanting to believe in God, that's a personal choice (no matter how i feel about it), but it should also be a personal choice if we want to give them any money.

Disciple

We should definitely have a breakdown of where our money goes, without any question at all, it would be very reckless not to.

I do not use a parish church personally and so I would not want to contribute towards wages, training or staff accommodation, but the ornate building is a part of the parish and I would not want to see them fall into disrepair. I am quite happy to see money used to keep these beautiful buildings structurally sound.

Alex Cross

You've hit the nail on the head there!!

johnl

User pays,why should the non Church goers have to pay for a small minority of people who are afraid if they don't go to Church they wont go to a so called heaven.

Watcher

I assume the funds collected from Guernsey go to Winchester to defray the cost of maintaining a Church of England presence on the Island. I don't know where that money comes from but I guess that it comprises weekly collections from the faithful, bequests from the grateful and probably a substantial amount that is collected through the Ecclesiastical Court? However, due to plurality issues there are currently only about seven rectors and that would equate to nearly £100,000 each to cover their salary/stipend/wages and presumably their pensions. Their homes are provided and maintained by the parishes so their outgoings are purely for food, petrol and services. If you allow even a generous £40,000 each then that would leave a chunky sum of approximately £400,000 each year to defray OUR expenses on maintaining the churches through the parish rating system. £40,000 each parish annually would seem to go a long way towards covering that expenditure. If my arithmetic is faulty or if my understanding of what happens is incorrect I am sure somebody will enlighten me. I did try asking the CEO but as usual there was a deafening silence.....

Time to start asking questions but I think the answer is staring us in the face.

Pouqued

Good luck Phil, something needs to be done about these parasites.

Tired Out from Working

And what is your take on the "parasites"I am forced to pay for, i.e, all in receipt of benefits, especially those who do not and will not work, and yet we are forced to pay these scroungers hundreds of pounds each per week? Just interested on your take on people paying a nominal sum for a four bedroomed states house, or perhaps you are happy that one mother is not able to decide on which of three possible men is the father to her spawn? Please enlighten us do. I have nothing to do with the COE or any other establishment, but I really think that issues referred to above are more irritating to me at the moment,

Island Wide Voting

http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/facts-stats/funding.aspx

Watcher

IWV

That information does not fill me with joy, it appears parishes in the UK obtain a far greater benefit from C of E assets than we do. No need for the Church of England to fund repairs to the churches in Guernsey, the parish officials extract it from the parishioners. This definitely requires somebody to dig a little deeper.

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year IWV, perhaps 2014 will see your dearest wish come true - you might even have to change your name !

milly

the sooner this payment to the religious mafia for the church upkeep and rectory is stopped the better.also at the next parish meeting of mine i will be expecting to hear that the vicar of our parish is paying rent for the rectory,as he expects the ratepayers to pay for his repairs as well. as a company they are in a win win situation as we give free board and lodging to their workers.

Justaminute

I do wonder where the GP got the information from for the sum of £646,998 to the Diocese of Winchester by the local Church of England. Is that the money Guernsey and Jersey CoE sends to the diocese or only Guernsey and where does the money come from? I think these are reasonable questions for anyone of the CoE Parish to their church leaders.

However I couldn't find this figure in the annual financial report of 2012 from the Diocese of Winchester .

Please read more on the link

http://www.winchester.anglican.org/assets/downloads/diocesan-life/synod-governance/WDBF%20Final%20Signed%20Accounts.pdf

I did find some facts for example on page 10 of above financial report about their property transactions:

Quote:

Other property transaction

Property transactions have taken place in the general reserve: the sale of part of houses in Guernsey and Ampfield totalling £936,000; the purchase of curate houses in Winchester Deanery for £400,000 and Guernsey for £535,000.

Or on page 26 there are details about the funding for healthcare and travel for the deans of the Channel Islands.

Quote from Page 27:

The Channel Islands Deans received stipends of average £31,575 - £37,186. The housing of The Deans of Guernseys and Jersey are provided locally according to custom, and they also receive grants towards the cost of travelling to and from the UK, and healthcare, as do other clergy in the Channel Islands.

In my humble opinion the reported sum of the GP could be either an underestimate or less likely an overestimate. It would be a democratic and trust winning move, if either the GP or the Channel Islands ' deans would publish a reference for the congregation to be able to read the accounts of their payments, if there is nothing to hide.

The Germans pay 8-10% church tax on top of their income tax etc. although their respective churches are rather rich already but at least they can opt out paying that tax,if they are not a believer and don't attend the church.

Seems fairer to me.

Futu

It gets worse.

At least two parishes I know of pay a good percentage of the costs of any work done to their churches to another company to 'oversee' the work, which essentially involves sending some junior minion to pop up, look at the work and say 'yeah, that's fine'.

This lucrative scam has been going on for YEARS, and the Douzaines who sanction it will not do anything about it, most probably due to the church connected old boys network and not wanting to upset anybody....

!!

Tim

Religion the mother of all frauds- that £600 k could help with healthcare and schooling here.