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.
"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.