Last Friday the Archbishops’ Council, House of Bishops and Church Commissioners announced that they would be adding £35m to the £75m already pledged to support dioceses. This news was welcomed by Diocesan Secretary, Mike Eastwood as he works to develop the partnerships between the national church, our diocese and parishes to respond to the financial crisis that the coronavirus has sparked.
Meanwhile, in April the Diocese of Liverpool saw the highest increase in Parish Share receipts of any Diocese in the country.
Mike Eastwood stated “This is remarkable. We are the diocese with the lowest level of historic assets in the country; we have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country; and yet we continue to see the generosity and mutuality of the people of God in this Diocese.
These figures are humbling and inspiring in equal measure. Our first step down this long and challenging financial road is the best possible one we could have taken.”
While both pieces of news are encouraging we remain realistic about what lies ahead. Mike said: “We have been clear about the scale of the challenge setting out realistic information about our finances whilst stating the practical steps we are taking”.
The Diocese of Liverpool has taken pragmatic, decisive steps to minimise the financial impact of the crisis. This includes the furloughing of support staff, salary sacrifice by non furloughed staff and the voluntary furloughing of curates. These all help with our financial position. But we remain concerned about the impact across our parishes. We are working hard to support parishes across our diocese. We know that the way we give to the local church will have to change. That’s why we are encouraging parishes to push the Parish Giving Scheme and online and text giving to help them with their finances.
As Mike Eastwood stated: “We know that we have a long and hard road ahead that will continue to involve generosity and sacrifice for all of us. And we cannot use the April Parish Share figures to declare victory; our financial challenge remains stark. But we can celebrate and give thanks to God for the generosity of our Diocese.”