Church of England sees rise in giving
The Church of England saw parish incomes exceed £900 million for the first time since before the economic downturn, new figures show.
Financial statistics for 2011 reveal an increase in parish incomes of nearly £20 million to £916 million that year.
The majority of this income came from donors, which rose by 1.3% to £546 million, with planned giving exceeding £10 per subscriber each week for the first time and tax-efficient giving reaching £10.70 a week, or £46.40 a month, more than double the average of £17 given to the charitable sector each month.
Churchgoers in Birmingham Diocese gave the highest proportion of their weekly income to their churches at 3.0% - 5.7% among tax-efficient givers - against a national average of 2.0% - 3.3% among tax-efficient givers.
Average weekly tax-efficient giving in dioceses ranged from £6.40 to £20.20, while weekly giving per electoral roll member ranged from £4.10 to £9.40.
Dr John Preston, National Stewardship Officer, said, "2011 saw another year of increased parish incomes and giving, in large part due to the faith and commitment of regular givers.
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"Although overall growth in income was lower than inflation, it is encouraging to note that the average weekly gift from our planned givers has risen by a further 3%."
The report noted a rise in income from dividends, interest and property, up by 7% to £33 million between 2010 and 2011.
Income from trading, such as in church hall lettings and book stall sales, was also strong, rising by more than 6% to £93 million.
Investment in church buildings for maintenance and improvements to facilities topped £200 million for the first time, and parishes also made significant donations to mission organisations and other charities, totalling £49 million in 2011.
2011 was the third year of deficit in a row for the Church of England but parishes were able to make reductions on the £21 million deficit in 2010. This has been helped by churches falling back on reserves built up prior to the recession.