Prestbury churchgoers asked to dig deeper to pay clergy bill
PARISHIONERS in Prestbury are being asked to dig deeper in their pockets to help their churches.
The North Cheltenham team ministry is in financial difficulty because it cannot raise enough money each year to pay for its three full-time vicars.
At the moment they can pull together £159,000 in donations, but the bill for its paid staff stands at £168,000, which includes accommodation and training costs.
The shortfall of around £9,000 is picked up by the diocese.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Contributions from St Mary's and St Nicholas' churches in the village make up the lion share of the fundraising per year at more than £110,000.
But they are now being asked if they could give even more to help pay difference.
The Reverend Canon Michael Cozens is in charge of the North Cheltenham team ministry and he said the financial burden of the shortfall was falling on the diocese.
As a result, the diocese is running at a deficit.
He said: "What's happening is that the shortfall is coming from the central pot from the diocese and that is why the diocese is in deficit.
"Effectively, the diocese is overwriting that cost at the moment by drawing on its reserves, so it is a difficult situation of the clergy costs not being covered.
"We are doing all that we can and every year we have increased the amount we give to cover the costs, but it is still not enough and we cannot find any more money.
"The diocese is saying that they cannot keep running at a deficit, so longer term they could start cutting clergy if we cannot pay for them."
Mr Cozens and his team hope to up their income not only through the kind-hearted donations of parishioners. but also through fundraising events.
There are plans in the works for a large fete and an open gardens event in June.
He added: "We are saying to people, 'please think about how much you give and if you can give more, then please do'.
"It is partly about asking people how much they can give, but also we will be looking at how we can raise more money.
"If we are able to raise more income then we could give more to cover the cost of our clergy so that, ultimately, we will not be taking from the central pot.
"We would hope that would mean that we could maintain the level of clergy we have."
The North Cheltenham team ministry also includes the churches in All Saints, Swindon Village and Cheltenham St Peter, and Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington.