10th March 2015

fr_simonDear All

It’s not often the Vicar talks about money. Like all voluntary organisations St Nicholas struggles to balance income and expenditure. As I’m sure you know, apart from Gift Aid, we receive no help from the Government, or indeed any other organisation towards our day to day expenditure. By far the largest call on our income is the Diocesan Common Fund – currently we pay the Diocese £80,000 per year, that excludes Fr Andrew’s Stipend (salary).

So I thought it might be useful to explain what Common Fund is and how it is made up.
“Common fund is money given by congregations in every parish in the Diocese of London. It is collected from rich and poor parishes to provide and support clergy, and to further our work in every parish across London, they are contributions made by everyone for everyone.”

The Diocese calculates that it costs approximately £75,000 to keep a priest in a parish. Obviously the clergy do not receive a Stipend of £75,000 so where does this figure come from? Here is a table from the Diocesan website:
£25,000 Stipend
£2,000 National Insurance
£9,000 Pension contributions
£700 Resettlement grants
£2,000 Council Tax
£10,800 Vicarage
£9,700 Training
£2,400 Schools outreach
£2,700 Areas and deanery
£8,900 Parish support services (Diocesan Office)
£3,600 National Church
(£1,800) Parish Vacancies (Saving)

St Nicholas has always paid just a little more than the cost of keeping an incumbent (me) here, that’s because the PCC believes it is important to support parishes who cannot meet their full costs. Of the 400 parishes in the Diocese almost 200 are classified as ‘deprived’ and in need of support. This is important because we want/need to keep parishes in areas where without our contributions their presence would evaporate.

I hope this helps to explain just one aspect of our parish finances. Do remember that we raise and pay this contribution before we switch the lights on!

Fr Simon


Dear Friends,

Well, the humiliation of the England Cricket Team is pretty much complete. Rolled over by lowly Bangladesh on Monday, we are the first of the big sides to be knocked out of the World Cup down under. ‘Tis verily a black day for all those who love English cricket. I suspect a few heads will roll and changes will be made and the selectors will take a long hard look at what is going on. Or rather what is not going on….which is, I guess, a fairly good link to what we get up to as Christians in Lent. Are there changes in our lives we could make ? What could we do more of? What could or should we do less of? If we take a good hard look at ourselves do we like what we see? The answers of course, to these questions are between ourselves and God but sometimes – especially in Lent – it’s worth taking a good hard look in a spiritual mirror and reflecting on what we see. And if we see things that we don’t like, rather than beating ourselves up, perhaps we might be encouraged to lift that situation or worry to God and listen very carefully and see what He might be saying to us. The God who created us; the God who loves us, is big enough to deal with anything we can throw at him. The hardest part of course, as with so many things in life, is simply taking that first step…..

With every blessing,

Fr Andrew