Good morning. Perhaps I should firstly introduce my self, just in case you do not know who I am. My name is David Mugford, and I am the Stewardship Recorder for this church. My main role is annually to claim gift aid from HMRC (formerly called Inland Revenue), which brings me close and in confidence to all who give to this church.
A stewardship campaign is all about giving, and giving money. Believe me, I find it a little uncomfortable in addressing you. Talking about money is one thing: asking is quite another. And I am very aware that giving is a personal thing.
I hardly need to tell you that costs rise annually, but our giving tends to increase when someone prods us into thinking about it. I’d like to think you have read the article in this month’s Titchfield News.
Giving is not like a James Bond film, where James travels seamlessly, with minimum baggage, no queueing, no tickets bought, no money ever in view. But real life is not like that. In real life, unexpected expenses occur, parishioners move away or sadly die, but hopefully new people arrive too. And giving is a part of real life, particularly for Christians.
We are, I suggest, all familiar with existing giving methods: by bank standing order, or by the blue (now brown) envelope scheme, yellow envelopes and cash. These all have their place, and will continue to be available for use. I do not intend to talk about these, but if you have a question, then please ask me. If you wish to join any of these methods of giving, or change anything related to them, then there is a suitable form at the back of the church to do so, and return it to me.
Since our last stewardship campaign, run by John White four years ago, the HMRC introduced an additional gift aid scheme whereby charities can claim gift aid on cash donations up to a maximum of £5000 per annum. But in 2014 we reached this figure in 9 months, so we effectively lost a potential £420 or so in gift aid. So this is why you regularly see in the pewsheet an encouragement to use the yellow envelopes if you are an irregular giver but are a tax payer. It costs you no more, but the church gains an extra 25p for every £1 you give. But please sign them.
We cannot afford to look a gift horse in the mouth, can we?
But I want to introduce you to a new way of regular giving. A new scheme, known as the Parish Giving Scheme, has this year been made available for parishes in this diocese to use. I am now briefly going to tell you the principal features of the scheme, and then you will be able to decide whether it is suitable for you to adopt, or replace what you already do. This new scheme is another option for giving.
The main features of the Parish Giving Scheme are:
– giving has to be on the first day of the calendar month
– giving can be on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis (but not 6 monthly)
– giving can be increased in line with inflation on an annual increment basis
– gift aid is recovered monthly rather than periodically
– you can elect to give anonymously if you choose
– the scheme is administered centrally by a charity office in Gloucester
The benefits for St Peter’s are:
– the charity will pay St Peter’s the sum of all the PGS giving plus the 25% gift aid element on the 10th day of the month
– the church sees its income smoothed out, cash flow is improved, and income rises to meet rising costs without you doing anything more if you say Yes to the inflation element.
How does it work? Simply, you, the giver, enter into a direct debit arrangement with the Parish Giving Scheme, which is a registered charity, to give a sum on the first day of the calendar month. You will be asked 5 questions: how much you wish to give: whether monthly, quarterly or annually; whether you are a tax payer or not; whether you wish your gift to be subject to inflation annually on the anniversary of your first gift or not; and lastly, if you wish to be anonymous or not.
If you enter into the scheme, then the link is between you and the PGS office, but they will notify me, and only me, of the individual giving by each person, the nature of your giving, and the treasurer will therefore be able to better forecast income over the coming months. If you are an existing giver by standing order, then the literature gives you advice about when to cancel an existing standing order.
I am not going to say more, but, just in case you struggle to remember all I have said, then I have written a leaflet entitled ‘Parish Giving Scheme – What it is all About’ and I invite you to take a copy from the back of the church this morning. This will tell you how to proceed into this new scheme, and give you an appropriate guidance to take your entry into the scheme. There is also a PGS leaflet titled ‘A better way to help your local church’: please take one of these.
If you feel already that the PGS is for you, then you will need the PGS Gift Form and we have a limited number of these. After the service, I’ll have a few in my hand.
It would help the church to know if you have joined the PGS so we have some idea what to be looking for, especially if your giving is on a 3 or 12 month basis, and we would ask if you would please let the Stewardship Recorder know.
If you need any further help or advice, please speak to me. My details are given on the bottom of the leaflet, and I will be available at the back of the church today to answer any immediate query that you may have.
On a final note, over the past two years I have thanked some of you for your giving. To you all, I would like to thank you now for all for your gifts to the church, in many cases over very many years.