CANTERBURY CONGREGATION OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY
REPORT FROM THE FINANCE GROUP, JUNE 2016
Dear Members and Friends,
Let us first introduce ourselves, your new Finance Group: we are Richard Baker, Fiona Chapman and Pauline Thomas, with attendance of our priest, Willem Boonstoppel when needed.
Our first task was to review the situation with the change of priest. We first looked at the changes that were taking shape over the six months leading up to the change of priest, then drew up a budget to cover the payments we knew would have to be maintained – heating, utilities, maintenance, and the really big one, insurance – for the church building , house and their contents. After that we discussed with the Lenker, Tom Ravetz, our possible contributions to Forest Row and General Fund. It was very clear to all that we could not meet the expectations both had of us.
Some of you may wonder why we should start paying to Forest Row. This is because it is important that we support the work that Willem is doing in Canterbury. All of his living and professional expenses are carried by the Forest Row congregation to which Canterbury is now affiliated. And a reminder too, that the General Fund is what allows all the central activities of The Christian Community to be carried out, including the lenker’s expenses, synods and other central expenses.
We have now agreed to contribute £350 per month to Forest Row and £120 a month to General Fund. Over time, we hope more or less to double the amount we pay to Forest Row, especially as Willem gets into his stride here! This would be a more realistic reflection of the cost of carrying him, given that a lot of his time and energy is focussed on Canterbury.
However, to do this, we need to look to an increase in the amount we can each contribute. So can we make our annual appeal to everyone to consider when last they raised their contribution, or how they make a contribution, whether made via Standing Order or via the collection bowl.
It is especially helpful to us to have regular Standing Orders as this make budgets more firmly based. But the Collection Bowl, or one off gifts, are also vital parts of balancing our finances.
At this point can we also give our usual reminder that the contributions for coffee cover more than the drink and biscuits consumed – they also cover domestic supplies – and so far we have avoided having to employ a cleaner or gardener though it is a small band who carry the bulk of both activities – why not volunteer for some happy activity with congenial friends ironing/ flower arranging/ cleaning /weeding/grass cutting etc. – see Christina’s lists, shortly to be reactivated for this and other opportunities. And remember to put something in the refreshments bowl, please. Too often there is one lonely pound or two as no-one has thought to take it round……
On the plus side we can now report that the water ingress problems we reported last year have now been solved so we are grateful to Michael Roberts for his work on that.
We should also like to report an amazing gift from the Council of Management – the upgrading of our very damp cellar room. After their visit last year they offered to make this a dry space for us, work to be overseen by Michael Roberts. The builders have just completed the work this month. So on your next visit, make sure to include a viewing of this new space which will be most useful initially as office and storage space for files and records that are currently kept in various people’s houses. The Council of Management paid the bulk of the costs of around £16,000 for this and the water problems, while we contributed around £4,500, a sum left over from contingencies in the overall building project. A carpet has still to be bought for the floor – offers of help to choose and order this to David Chapman.
So now we have completely exhausted the building funds and all future work will have to be budgeted in our Blue category, along with Insurance, most of the Utilities and stipend for our priest – and it is in this part of our finances, fuelled by regular congregational donations that we struggle most. (Insurance came up trumps when our alarm system was vandalised – probably some prank by merry students, refunding all but the £100 excess of the costs of replacement parts – so that vast expenditure £2 -£3,000 per year did pay out something when needed…)
The house at 55 keeps paying for itself, its loans and necessary maintenance and a little more than its own share of the insurance – though this year the tenants have not been as easily managed as in previous years, but we hope for better times when the tenancy changes in the summer.
Once again we will enclose a Standing Order Form with this letter but for those who only receive a digital copy a call can get one sent – to Pauline on 01303 891163, or you may pick one up at the church.
We should like to thank you for support in the past and look forward to a successful year of further development.
With good wishes,