This week Rev Paul Peterson caught up with our treasurer, Jamie Paddon, to find out how the coronavirus lockdown was impacting Christ Church.

P: Thanks for chatting to us Jamie – the big question for you as treasurer is what impact is the coronavirus lockdown having on Christ Church’s finances?

J: Well, the two main concerns for us are the lack of income from the rental of our halls and the Parish Church, usually we’d expect to generate over £3,000 per month, and as no physical services are taking place, we are unable to collect donations ordinarily put into the collection bag. We understand it is difficult for those who give through the envelope scheme to get their gifts to us. The loss of all cash donations could potentially impact us up to a further £3,500 for every month the church buildings are closed. So that’s up to £6500 in total each month.

The PCC agreed a break-even budget for our general fund at the beginning of the year, so clearly that puts us in a difficult position. That’s on top of the already quite substantial debts that we have still got to pay off for the building work we’ve had done.

P: So tell us first of all what the PCC has been doing to reduce our outgoings

J: We have been able to furlough three members of staff, because their workload significantly affected, which means the Government is paying 80% of their wages with Christ Church topping up the remaining 20%. In addition, one member of staff has generously offered to donate 2 months of their salary, rather than being furloughed. We expect there will also be some minor savings on utility bills, staff expenses and photocopying. However, these savings nowhere near offset the losses in income we expect to suffer.

P: What would your message be to those watching this or reading about our situation how can we as church members help.

J: There are two main ways; For those who usually give through the envelope scheme, please keep setting your gifts aside and you can either get them to Dave Tooby, our planned giving secretary whose address is in the directory, or let Dave know and he will arrange for a member of the Giving4Life team to pick up your envelopes and ensure your gifts are banked.

For everyone else, I want to re-emphasise the benefits of the Parish Giving Scheme. Through this process your gifts are collected by direct debit paid straight into the church’s bank account, gift aid is claimed automatically on our behalf, and there’s always an option to increase your gifts in line with inflation each year. It’s really easy to set up – you can either fill in a simple form from Dave Tooby, or it can now be done over the phone. (Tel 0333 002 1271). The details are also on our website. All you need is your bank account number and sort code, and the Parish Code, which is 050605085.

P: Sounds pretty straightforward. I know around 170 individuals or families already give regularly via planned giving – it’s such an easy way to support the mission of Christ’s Church. However, we have more than 300 members and so we are strongly encouraging everyone who possibly can to give through the Parish Giving Scheme, which is the most efficient form of giving. Any final comment?

J: Only to say that we are aware that for some people finances are really tight at the moment, or their job circumstances may have changed, so we absolutely understand if your levels of giving need to change. There may be others who may be in a position to consider making an increase in their regular giving or who feel led to make a one-off donation at this hugely challenging time. Whatever your circumstances, we’re just so grateful for every gift we receive however large or small. This is a real opportunity for us all to play or part in the ongoing story of Christ Church.

‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’ (1 Chronicles 29:14)