Christmas is over and January bills and credit cards statements have left us all thinking we should turn the heating down, drink less alcohol and dip into the holiday fund!
The church is no different (well perhaps not the alcohol bit). We have put together an end-of- year statement for income and outgoings and it does not look good. And the coming three or four months will see another £13,000 being spent on the tower repairs, on top of the initial £5,000 that has already been paid this month. This does not include having the peeling paint on the inside removed and repainted. Also in 2019 we have a five year “Quinquennial” building report which will no doubt bring up other issues we have to sort, such as the front wall that needs repointing.
If you are “Friend” of the Church you will know that your annual subscription (total in 2018 £1,200) goes towards Fabric (building works) as does our two fund-raisers: Jumble Sales and Christmas Fair/Coffee Morning, which raised £1,500 in 2018. However this money and the residual amount left in the “Fabric Fund” will be emptied with all the work on the Tower.
Our “General Fund” is supported by church service collections, planned giving, donations and the Flower Festival (which raised £2,400 last year) The Fashion Show raised a further £1,200. This money pays for clergy expenses, electric, gas, grass cutting, supplies, etc, We try to have £12,000 in this account for contingency for the coming year after current year’s bills are paid. However, we will have dipped into this for the Tower. In other words, we are running out of money with no idea or manpower to raise more.
Those who attend church (15/20 people) are called upon time and again to give money, support raffles and tombolas, plan and help with events (and spend money at the events!) in order to maintain your Parish church. A core group of those, the Parochial Church Council (PCC), try very hard to use that money wisely and think of ways to raise more.
However, the congregation is slowly decreasing as few young people attend to replace the older members. Not to mention that it is increasingly difficult to ask octogenarians to help with fund raising, although remarkably they still do! The PCC will also be short of members after April this year. This means there are less and less people to keep this large building functioning.
So what do we do? Wait for the congregation to disappear then have the Diocese close the church? Let it deteriorate once there is no money left, which will force its closure? And what does that mean for you? In the short term perhaps not a lot. You’ll still have the spire to look at, the clock ringing the correct time, you can still hold a wedding or funeral there and come to the occasional Christmas service for the next year or two. But what about long term? Do you care?
WE NEED YOU if we are to keep our Parish church.
Will you become a Friend (application forms in the church)? Can you write a cheque to Pett PCC (donation box in church)? Can you run an event to raise money? Can you volunteer your time to be on a Committee to look after the building?
Pett Parochial Church Council