There’s good news to report on the financial front this month. First, as many of you will all know, Peter and Alison Wintgens left us a gift of £50,000 when they left at the end of July. They made a special request that the funds be used to develop our discipleship and our equipping of lay ministry at St Mary’s. The Church Council will be looking at creating a Discipleship Development Fund this month, which can be used (in Peter & Alison’s words) “to equip the people of St Mary’s in Christian discipleship and ministry through individual training, congregational resourcing and Christian formation.” We think this offers exciting possibilities.
Second, we also have good news on Gift Aid. Our Gift Aid administrators, Chris and Erica Sage, have worked wonders in getting a backlog of Gift Aid repayments from the Inland Revenue. There have been many hours of work, frustrating telephone calls, and plenty of patience and determination. But, in the end, in late October we received over £22,000 of Gift Aid reclaims. We all owe Chris and Erica a debt of gratitude: please say thank you to them when you see them.
Looking ahead, the autumn sees our regular Everyone Campaign, in which we all – new members and old – are invited to pledge an amount of giving for the year ahead, in the light of the plans we have to develop our ministry at St Mary’s. This work is being co-ordinated by Matthew Guest, who would welcome an additional pair of hands to help him. The details of the Campaign will be available soon.
Everyone is particularly important this year. Alongside the good news, the less positive news is that the regular giving to St Mary’s has taken a bit of a dip in 2016. There may be many reasons for that, but what it does mean is that we need to work together to encourage Everyone at St Mary’s (there’s a clue in the title!) to become a regular giver to the church, and not just when we are present at worship. It would be good to see a step increase in our pledged income by the end of this year. Of course, we need to say a big thank you to everyone who is a regular giver already. Please may we encourage you to join us.
Finally, a plea for some forward planning. St Mary’s has been blessed this year through some income from bequests. Not everyone can be as generous as they would want to be to their church and the charities they value during their lifetime. But at the time of death, it is a wonderful opportunity to make a generous gift to the future of the church. So, when you are next reviewing your will, please remember your church.