Monthly Letter

Fr James writes:


Thank you!!

I am writing to all of our regular givers and those that gave ‘one off gifts’ to say “Thank you”! Your generous giving is a vital enabler of our work together as a church.

We are able to: Pay our Parish Share, contributing our share of the costs of making ministry to every person living in this area. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution of our regular givers – you are making a real difference. Thank you!

Yours sincerely in the Cross of Christ Father James McCluskey

For many years churches have passed round a bag or plate during a service to collect offerings of money. It is probably fair to say that the reasons for doing this are little understood by the majority of the congregation. The passing of bags or plates can imply that what is being sought is a spontaneous cash contribution towards the church’s running expenses. Yet the purpose of the offering is far deeper than this, and should be an integral part of the act of worship.
Giving expresses our love for God, and responds to God’s generosity to us. Such grace not only creates a beautiful world for us to inhabit, provides generously for our daily needs and enables us to love and be loved. Supremely in Jesus’ self-offering, we have the way to be reconciled with the Father and to enter into an eternal relationship with him. Since “where our treasure is, there our heart is also”, the offering of money provides a unique proxy for offering ourselves back to a generous God. All of these rich themes feed into the offertory as the most visible and tangible expression of our giving as Christian people, and our offertory practice should reflect this.
Our church reflects the Christian faith and does so as one of the most outstanding beautiful and historical centres of Christian worship in Colchester; it stands as a towering and historical witness of Christians giving back to God by way of teaching and living the Christian life, living out the good news. The reality though of our situation is that it financially costs. This next year, 2019, our Parish Share we need to pay is £60,979. This has increased by 2%. If each adult on the current Electoral Roll gave £12.09p per week the Parish Share will be paid.
However this does not include utility bills, maintenance, and missionary costs. Nor does it make inroads into any works we ‘have’ to do regarding the Quinquennial Report of which £330.000 of works is required to spend on our church.
In these increasing challenging times I would kindly appeal to your good nature and faith. Do please respond to support the church in prayer and in as generously as you can with a response with a gift of money to support the missional work of the church, to maintain the building, keep the doors open, reach those who are yet to come to church and meet our financial obligations.
Do please note that our church receives no funds whatsoever from either the government or the church. The cost of keeping our doors open, supporting our ministries, and sustaining the worship we offer is borne through the funds we raise as a parish. Our principal sources of income are the regular giving from our parishioners, income from the rent of our Curate’s house, and fundraising that takes place through the year. We are, therefore, very grateful indeed to all who contribute in any way financially to supporting the life of our parish.
Regular giving is by far the best way of offering regular financial support to St. James is by direct debit rather than by putting cash in the collection on a Sunday morning. A Standing Order or Direct Debit simply pays a set amount of money stipulated by you once a month from your bank account to St. James’ bank account electronically.
Payments made direct to our bank make it easier for our treasurer to predict our income. They also mean your collection money does not need to be counted and taken to the bank. In addition to that, they are more reliable for you, as giving in this way means you know you’ll be contributing to this church even if you’re away and unable to contribute physically to the collection plate. It is also much easier for us to collect tax back on your contribution through Gift Aid……
Gift Aid: If you pay income tax in the UK and give money to St. James we can claim back the tax you have paid on that charitable gift. This means we can increase your gift by 25% without you paying a single extra penny. For example, if you gave St. James £100, we could claim back an extra £25 from the government which would mean we received a total of £125. This applies to regular giving as well as one off gifts. Not claiming Gift Aid is simply throwing money away, and all it requires is for you to fill out a simple form and return it to us.
Leaving a Legacy: No matter how large or small, every gift that is left to the Church can make a significant impact on our mission and ministry, and in maintaining our spiritual heritage. Please consider how a gift in your Will could help us meet the needs of future generations. One of the Church of England’s greatest strengths is its engagement in every community through its local parish church. A gift in your will can make a lasting difference by enabling your parish to achieve something that it would not normally do. You may wish to channel your gift to mission or community projects, to maintenance of the church fabric, to youth work or music, or in some other way. Once you have made provision for your loved ones, you have the opportunity to make a lasting gift to God, by leaving a legacy to His church. Leaving a gift in your Will to your local church is one of the most valuable and lasting ways you can continue to support the mission and ministry in your community.
A gift can be an expression of your gratitude and thanksgiving towards God, and can help keep your local church alive, and help transform its future.
Making a Difference: For many churches, regular giving is absorbed in ‘keeping the show on the road’. This usually involves everyday activities such as paying the parish share, insuring and heating the building, repairing the roof etc. A gift from your estate is different. Many churches have a legacy policy stating that they will not use legacy gifts for everyday expenditure; the PCC will spend your gift on a special project to make a difference. For example, a gift in your Will could support your church’s ministry to young people, refurbish the kitchen, support an overseas mission partner, help to reorder the church, preserve their historic church bells or equip the church with new Bibles. No matter how large or small, each gift can make a significant impact on our mission and ministry, and maintaining our spiritual heritage. Please consider how a gift in your Will could help the Church meet the needs of future generations.

Thank you. In the Cross of Christ Father James McCluskey