We don’t often talk about finances, but they are part of church life. The provisional results for last year are now available and we will hopefully consider audited results at the Parish Annual General Meeting.
As expected, there was a deficit last year and the Parish had to access some savings. The deficit, however, was not nearly as large as budgeted. That was mainly due to a higher than budgeted income.
Overall, expenses were quite predictable and as budgeted. Some costs were slightly lower, others slightly higher. In particular, there was the extraordinary expense of clergy removal costs—getting the family down from the North Island. Repairs and maintenance for the Church and Hall also exceeded the budget. It is likely that we will continue to see significant costs for maintenance of the church and hall. Already this year, we had to replace and re-wire the sump pump. The greatest expense is still staff costs, followed by property expenses and the Diocesan Quota.
Our budget in part reflected the expected difficulties due to COVID-19. While we received no income from hall bookings for nearly three months and giving was also down for some time, hall bookings and giving picked up again later in the year. We also received the wage subsidy, which did more than cover any shortfall. There is a clear trend of people giving more through online banking and away from envelopes. Offertories are the main form of income for the Church and reflect the importance that it plays in people’s lives. Additional income was also received from fundraising activities, such as a concert and the book fair. These events are important not only from a financial perspective, but also an opportunity to work together. The parish also received a refund of insurance payments of just over $5,000 made in 2012. This payment was earmarked by the vestry for maintenance costs.
Financial pressures will continue for the Parish and we will need to consider finances into the future, especially as low interest rates seem to be with us for some time to come. Bequests may be one way of helping the church at times of low interest income. Carefully considering the use of our finances is part of responsible stewardship.