THE COMMON FUND:
Diocesan income and expenditure: the cost of a priest
The Diocese of Exeter asks each church to make an annual financial contribution to the cost of mission and ministry across the county each year.
This is known as the Common Fund.
This is known as the Common Fund.
The cost of clergy makes up approximately 75 per cent of the diocese’s annual budget and is by far the biggest single expenditure area. It costs £61,000 a year to provide a priest. I know what you are thinking.. surely my local priest isn’t earning £61,000 a year?
The answer to that is, no they aren’t!
This figure includes training, housing and pensions. In cases where a church has a common fund calculation that is higher than £61,000 they may be funding ministry in other areas. The cost is shared so that those in less affluent areas are not excluded from being part of the body of Christ. Our diocesan vision urges us to develop disciples and share our faith. The common fund helps this to happen.
Why should this matter to me?
As Christians, we are called to live out our faith, and to follow Jesus’ example. Did you know that there are more than 2000 verses in the Bible about money, wealth and possessions? Many of the parables are about our relationship with our finances. Do you ever pray about how much you give to your church? Do you consider it carefully, and believe it is an important part of your identity as a Christian? Is your gift proportionate to your income? In our café culture, not many of us would think twice about getting a coffee on our way to work, or perhaps when we go shopping with friends. Are there other leisure activities that you do, without really thinking about them too deeply? A bottle of wine here? Cinema tickets there? Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion (Corinthians 9:7) The thing is, sitting down and thinking about how we use our money is a really important part of our journey as disciples of God. We are stewards not owners of any wealth we are given. Real sacrificial Christian giving is about returning what we have been given to God. Not because it says so in a diocesan leaflet, but because we have a genuine respect for all that God has given to us in Jesus.
How is Common Fund assessed?
A number of factors are taken into account when common fund is assessed, so that the allocation is as fair as it can be across the whole diocesan family, from small church to large, from village to city. The same calculation is used for all churches.
The diocese considers:
• Investment income;
• The size of your church family (but not counting children and adults new to church) averaged over three years. That gives you your participant number;
• Local deprivation. An adjustment is made to take into account local levels of poverty and wealth so that richer areas help poorer ones. This adjustment is based on the English Indices of Deprivation.
Become a member of Parish Giving Scheme.
Is your church signed up to The Parish Giving Scheme yet? This is a great way to support mission and ministry in your parish. All contributions made through PGS go directly into your parish bank account. An improved cash flow can enable your church to budget more effectively. To find out more go to the parish giving scheme section of our website under ‘resources’: www. exeter.anglican.org
“It is called common fund because we all share a responsibility to fund mission and ministry”