Peterborough Diocese is bucking the current trend for other Dioceses across the country. While many are losing numbers of clergy, with Bishop Donald’s plan we are growing in clergy numbers.
Also, where the national average numbers for givers are down, in Peterborough Diocese those numbers are up.
Nationally, the number of individuals who give to their church is down by 2.1%, but in Peterborough numbers went up by 4%.
Parish finance statistics for 2014 were release last September and show lots of positive indicators.
Nationally, the average giving per person is up 4.1% – and giving as an average of a person’s income, is the highest it has been at 3.5%. (This takes into account the average national income, including salaries, wages pensions benefits).
In Peterborough Diocese average giving went up by 6%.
For the Diocese, the total income that churches receive went up 9% – almost three times the national number of 3.8%.
What does this all mean?
Paul Adams, Peterborough Diocese Stewardship Officer, said: “I think nationally we’re doing a better job of educating people, teaching people about giving and living generously. We have more stewardship officers nationally, than ever before.”
He said that there is an overall theme for 2017.
“The message this year is about living generous lives. The Old Testament principle of tithing is still a good and important measure, but when Jesus came, he changed everything. He gave himself completely, and he calls us to do the same.”
Paul said that living generous lives is not just about the cash.
“Our response needs to be generous in giving our time, talents and finances completely to God.”
He said that there isn’t an exact figure for generosity.
“Generosity for some may be 2% or 10% or maybe even 20 – 25%. In Matthew 12 we have the story of the Widows mite: she gave all she had! The Archbishop of York is well known for saying he gives 20% of his gross income. We need to sort it out with God, from the first of what we have, not what is left over.
It’s about being generous with our whole lives and everything we have.”
Paul talked about other ways in which we can give.
“One of my colleagues this week sent me a great blog that reminded me that we have the greatest gift to share – our faith – and the gift of Jesus. If we would only talk about it and share that with others a little more. That would grow all of our churches!”