Parishes – what future for the parochial system?

Thursday, 9th October 2014
St. Mary’s University Church, Oxford, OX1 4BJ
5:30p.m. to 7:00p.m. Free of charge.

Chair – Professor Linda Woodhead

This event has now taken place


  • Andrew Davison

    Revd Dr Andrew Davison is known for his theological and philosophical contribution to the debate...

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  • Andrew Mawson

    Lord Mawson, OBE is an English social entrepreneur.  He was brought up in Bradford and trained for...

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  • Anna Norman-Walker

    Anna Norman-Walker studied Theology at St John’s College, Nottingham. Formerly a nurse and having...

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  • Provocateurs Parishes

    Prudence Dailey, Michael Moynagh, John Reader...

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  • Robin Gill

    Robin Gill is Emeritus Professor of Applied Theology. He was previously the first holder of both...

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  • Parishes - Introduction and all presentations (38.56)

  • Andrew Davison presentation (5.27)

  • Robin Gill presentation (4.59)

  • Lord Mawson presentation (3.55)

  • Anna Norman-Walker presentation (5.24)

  • Parishes - Questions, comments & responses


2 Responses to Parishes – what future for the parochial system?

  1. John Barnett says:

    The parish system is making way to a circuit model in many rural and now deprived city areas

  2. David Shepherd says:

    Tell me whether this is fair. The Church Commissioners control a stock market and property portfolio worth £6.1 Billion (2013). That fund has generally grown at about 5% above the Retail Price Index from £2.4 Billion in 1994.

    Last year was a fantastic year for the CC. In the First Church Estates Commissioner’s words:’Everything that could go right did go right.’ The fund grew by 15.9%

    Staff remuneration for the CC ranges from 10 staff earning between £60k – £70k and approx. £330k at the very top. Their contribution to the Archbishops Council in 2011 was £37.4M.

    Some years ago. it was agreed that the Church Commissioners’ funding for episcopal ministry would be a fixed percentage of the overall distribution to their beneficiaries. Over 2011 – 2013, the funding was increased by 2 per cent for Archbishops and 4 per cent for bishops. The total sum contributed to the Bishops’ Office and Staff Costs was £17M in 2011 and £20M in 2012. This grew to £31.2M in 2013 (Source: The Church Commissioners annual Report 2013).

    The Church Commissioner contributed £41.2M to the Archbishop’s Council in 2014 compared to £37.4M in 2011.

    By comparison, the 44 Dioceses coughed up £28.5M for the Archbishop’s Council. That was a proportion of the Parish Share that goes to the National Church.

    All of this is dwarfed by the £121M in Church Commissioners’ Pension payment to ensure that all Anglican ministers up to 1998 ordination can enjoy a final salary pension of approx. £13k and a ‘lump sum’ of £39k.

    I can truly empathise with the struggle of churches that can barely keep the lights on. There’s no quick fix, and, yes. I am my brother’s keeper wanting to support neighbouring churches.

    Nevertheless, instead of expecting, on the basis of improved attendance and a poorly devised affluence factor, that growing churches should give more year on year, its the final salary pension scheme that has raided the till. Why not ask the bishops to run their offices much more efficiently, so that more can go to genuine mission? Why not expect some community engagement project to be self-funded? Why not expect the Church Commissioners to give the dioceses a break by giving significantly more to the National Church than they did in a bumper year?

    On, no. But that couldn’t possibly be fair, could it? It’s so much easier to remind just the laity who can only look forward to their index-linked pensions (if that) about the theology of giving. That should work!

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