This web page provides support and information for parishes about Parish Share.
The web page includes the following:
- An introduction to the new parish share scheme for 2023 by Bishop Guli
- The 2023 parish share scheme explained
- Further guidance and information:
- Good practice and materials from deaneries and parishes
- Parish Share 2023 leaflets
- Parish Share 2024 timetable
I am very grateful to the many people in parishes across our diocese who contributed to the consultation and discussions that helped us develop this new approach to parish share.
I know parish share has been a cause of frustration in Chelmsford Diocese over the years, as it has in many others. I'm aware in particular that there was a sense of injustice and a concern about a lack of transparency in the previous share scheme. I hope that the scale of participation and quality of conversation during the consultation has allowed us to understand these concerns and address them for the future.
I also know that this new approach will not be universally popular or solve all the challenges we face in resourcing parish ministry.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the new share scheme will be that some parishes will see a significant increase in the amount of share they are asked to contribute, whilst others will see a significant decrease. This is the consequence of removing and changing some of the elements of the old scheme that led to parishes of similar means in similar contexts being asked to contribute very different amounts. These arrangements were not applied universally, included individual deals between parishes and the diocesan office and understandably led to a sense of injustice, a lack of transparency and a breakdown in trust. So it is right that we address these concerns, but for some parishes this will mean a significantly increased and potentially unachievable suggested contribution for 2023.
Please be assured that where this is the case, we will support you on a journey towards achieving a sustainable contribution rather than expecting that you will be able to contribute the increased amount in year one. It is important that we avoid any situation where a parish that has worked hard to contribute its share in full, becomes demoralised by a suggested share contribution that is unattainable. See question 8 of the Parish Share FAQs for more details.
At the same time my hope is that in some cases where parishes receive a significant decrease in suggested share contribution, this will enable and encourage generosity towards neighbouring parishes in their deanery that may be struggling.
So, unpicking some of the issues that caused greatest concern in the past will not be straightforward, easy or painless but I am hopeful that the new parish share scheme will have an important role to play in how we journey forward together in our shared mission and ministry.
Reflecting the concerns and ideas of those who serve in parishes
Firstly, I’m hopeful that the diocesan consultation has enabled us to listen well to the concerns and ideas of those who serve in parishes. Of course, not everyone was in agreement about the way forward, or some of the detailed solutions, but the consultation did give us clear direction in terms of the values that should underpin the scheme and some of the changes that should be made.
Enabling mutual support
Secondly and most importantly, the consultation told us that there was a strong consensus for a parish share scheme that enables and encourages mutual support between parishes.
As disciples of Jesus we are called to love and help one another. We see the mutual support that the early church demonstrated in Acts, as churches sent money and people and prayed for one another. They expressed their relationship towards each other in Christ through their mutual support, even when that support was costly.
In Christ we can never be separated from one another. We are a single diocesan family formed of many parishes. Our diversity is our strength and our desire needs to be to see one another flourish in Christ. If we just pay for what we get, we’re not thinking of other parishes and we’re not living a life of mutual flourishing in Christ.
For parish ministry to flourish across the whole of our diocesan family, a greater number of parishes that can afford to contribute more than the costs of their own parish ministry will need to help pay for ministry in less affluent parishes. I’m hopeful that our new parish share scheme will help to enable and encourage mutual support between parishes.
A focus on resourcing and supporting local parish ministry
Thirdly, our new parish share scheme reaffirms our commitment to relentlessly supporting local parish ministry. Since I became Bishop of Chelmsford last year, we have begun a period of discernment about our direction of travel as a diocese and about God’s call into the future. Our recent Holy Sabbatical provided an opportunity for us to pause and attend to God’s voice more acutely.
This Autumn, we will begin to give more intentional thought to how we might articulate our direction of travel. This will not mean new initiatives or diocesan projects. Instead, it will mean a commitment to supporting and empowering, as best we can, each local context to discern for yourselves how you are to be God’s people in your part of the world, always facing outwards to the needs of the community in which you are based and working in partnership with others. This commitment to support and empower local parishes is at the heart of our parish share scheme:
Firstly, because we are committed to ensuring that the money parishes contribute through parish share is focused on resourcing and supporting local parish ministry rather than anything else. The answers to the first two of our Frequently Asked Questions set this out in a clear way.
Secondly, the new parish share scheme enables decisions about share contributions and resourcing to be taken at a local level through deaneries, empowering parishes not only to mutually support each other within a deanery, but to discern how best to deploy the resources they have been given.
Journeying well together
Finally, the success of the new parish share scheme will not depend on the new formulas or processes, as important as they are, but instead on how we approach our relationships with each other. How well we journey together.
We will not achieve mutuality or be able to discern what God is calling us to in our local contexts if we think of discussions with our deanery neighbours as an opportunity to negotiate the lowest possible share contribution.
Instead, we must prayerfully discern and discuss the contribution each of our parishes is able to make to our collective mission and ministry.
I appreciate this is not easy or straightforward at a time when personal and parish finances are under significant duress. But it is how we will achieve a mutual flourishing in Christ.
The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Chelmsford
Our booklet, Parish Share 2023, Frequently Asked Questions, provides an explanation of how the new scheme works, the values that underpin the approach and how it will work for your parish and deanery.
- How to read your detailed deanery assessment
- Parish Share phase 1 consultation report
- Diocesan Budget 2023, Diocesan Synod paper
- Parish Share Proposal to the June 2022 Diocesan Synod
- Detailed explanations:
In this section we will be sharing materials and ideas that have been used in deaneries to support the implementation of the new parish share scheme and in particular to encourage and enable mutual support between parishes. If you have materials or ideas that you would like to share, please email email@example.com
Colchester Deanery Materials
Thank you to colleagues in Colchester Deanery for sharing a Powerpoint presentation and leaflet that was used to support their initial deanery meeting. about the new parish share scheme. They are happy for other deaneries to adapt these resources for their own use.
- Deanery Meeting Powerpoint Presentation (including agenda)
- Deanery Meeting Power Point Presentation (including agenda) as PDF. *
- Deanery Parish Share leaflet
*This PDF version of the presentation may be useful for those without Powerpoint or where the Powerpoint presentation isn't displaying as it should.
This leaflet has been produced for parishes to share in their church community. The leaflet briefly explains the new parish share scheme, its underpinning values and how essential it is to supporting local parish mission and ministry in our diocese. The leaflet also contains links to the online resources.
The timetable has now been confirmed for the issuing of the 2024 deanery parish share assessments.
- 14 July 2023 – Area Deans and Archdeacons will be sent a draft deanery assessment so that they can check that the information that is used to calculate parish share in terms of ministerial deployment and housing is accurate. They will be asked to feed back any inaccuracies by the end of July.
- 25 August 2023 – Final deanery assessments will be sent to Area Deans, Deanery Lay Chairs and Deanery Treasurers so that they can begin the process of planning discussions with parishes
- 8 September 2023 – Final deanery assessments will be sent to incumbents, churchwardens and PCC Treasurers along with an FAQs booklet and resources to help communicate about parish share locally and hold deanery discussions
- 30 November 2023 – Following deanery discussions, Area Deans submit parish breakdowns setting out how the total deanery share assessment will be contributed by parishes within their deanery.