Bless me! Church charity coffers bulge

PEW, what a lot a money! Suffolk's church congregations have dug deep and collected a record £4,270,494 in 2002; a staggering £308,573 more than 2001.The £4.

PEW, what a lot a money! Suffolk's church congregations have dug deep and collected a record £4,270,494 in 2002; a staggering £308,573 more than 2001.

The £4.27 million represents over 97.5% of what was requested from the county's 450 parishes in the 2002 local church budget.

Nearly seventy five percent of the budget is spent on salaries, housing provision and pensions for the clergy.

Michael Wilde, chairman of the Diocesan Board of Finance, said: "The great result for 2002 is the latest in a line of good financial performances for the diocese.


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"It is a wonderful response from the parishes, especially as large sums of money, that were once available to us from the national church, have now been diverted to other needs.

Indeed, Suffolk's congregations are now supporting the work of dioceses in poorer parts of the country like Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham," he said.

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Suffolk's church parliament, the Diocesan Synod, has agreed an increase of 8.2% in Parish Share contribution in 2003 with better off parishes being asked to offer more if they can.

Rev David Cutts, of St Margaret's Church, in Soane Street, Ipswich, welcomed the news.

He said: "This is obviously very good news. I think people are very aware that the contribution from the Central Churches Commision is not as great as it used to be and are happy to help.

"When people can see a need and they know it's making a difference, I think they are happy to help."

Father Paul Bourner, of St Thomas' Church, in Bramford Lane, Ipswich, added: "In our congregation there are some very generous people. It's normally the people who have the least to give who give the most money."

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www.suffolkchurches.co.uk

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