Parish Offering System
The Diocese - like most others - operated a Parish Share system (sometimes called the Quota). In it, parishes sent some figures to the Diocese (eg number on Electoral Roll, Usual Sunday Attendance, Parish Income, etc) from which was calculated the amount each parish should pay towards the costs of running the Diocese, paying and housing the clergy, and so on. The formula used was complicated because it attempted to be fair to less affluent parishes and smaller parishes, as well as to larger or more affluent ones.
Because the formula was complex it was not transparent, and had some unintended consequences - for example, that growth was "taxed".
In 2008, the Diocese was the first in the country (now copied by other Dioceses) to move to a Parish Offering System, under which Parishes tell the Diocese what they promise to pay towards the cost of running the Diocese. (There is an important Deanery role here - where one person in each Deanery has conversations with Parishes about what the Offer from the Deanery as a whole looks like.) The Diocese asks parishes to make generous and realistic offers:
- realistic about the amount of money they can really pay - it is not helpful for the Diocese if it gets unrealistic offers which can never be fulfilled
- realistic in comparison with the costs of ministry - each year the Diocese, after it has constructed the Diocesan Budget, tells parishes what those costs will be; the Diocese is very careful that only those costs which are genuinely part of supporting local ministry are included
- realistic about the Offer in comparison with the relative wealth of the parish
- realistic that anything less than inflationary increases will mean either other parishes paying more or a cut in the number of clergy
- generous - going beyond these
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