Fr McNeil, Church Treasurer - Dorothy Hill, Diocesan Parish Giving Champion - Nathan Bruce, Church Warden - Barbara Varley and St Mary's PGS Champion - Eric Smith with other St Mary's PGS scheme members. (Picture: Keith Blundy)

Newly signed up members of the Parish Giving Scheme amongst the congregation of St Mary’s Horden, better known as the Miners Cathedral, help exceed the 500th member mark in an initiative designed to simplify planned giving in the Diocese of Durham.

The congregation of St Mary’s have joined 32 other parishes in the Diocese of Durham to sign up to the ‘Parish Giving Scheme’ a UK Charity, run nationally and owned by participating dioceses, that helps reduce the burden on churches in collecting regular giving through the use of monthly Direct Debits.

Nathan Bruce, the Parish Giving Champion for the Diocese of Durham said: “Since we launched the scheme in January 2018 we have seen a rapid uptake in parishes and their congregations getting involved with the scheme. It’s great news that we can mark the 500th person joining the scheme here at St Mary’s in Horden. This is a church that might not be seen as one that would jump at the chance of embracing technology, but they have embraced the advantages the scheme brings with open arms.”

Nathan added: “The benefits of the scheme include: significant reduction in the amount of administration required by church treasurers; eligible Gift Aid is collected and forwarded to parishes monthly; members are able to budget for their giving and can opt to increase their giving by the rate of inflation each year.”

Nathan & Fr Kyle discuss the Parish Giving Scheme

Fr Kyle McNeil the Priest in Charge at St Mary’s said: “We got involved because the parish had never engaged in any form of electronic giving or any opportunity for people to automate their giving through the bank they were only able to give by cash. We had a number of people asking if they could give by standing order and we thought rather than do that with all the administration that would have required of us that we would go with the Parish Giving Scheme that is managed for us.

“Getting involved with the scheme has massively reduced the amount of administration we have to do and also means that the amount of cash and counting we have to manage is significantly reduced. Even more importantly it has improved the church’s cash flow as we are now seeing monthly returns of Gift Aid automatically which is a significant part of the monies we rely on to run the church.

Fr McNeil, Church Treasurer – Dorothy Hill, Diocesan Parish Giving Chapion – Nathan Bruce and Church Warden – Barbara Varley

“So far about a quarter of the congregation have signed up to the scheme and across that quarter, giving has increased by 10% this year alone. This may not be right for everyone, but gradually over time I am confident that more and more people will want to take up this process.”

Parish Treasurer, Dorothy Hill said: “I have signed up for this myself as it makes my giving easier, once you have done it, you don’t need to think about it, it just happens, increasing each year at the rate of inflation. In my church role as treasurer, it has made a huge impact on the amount of work I have to do each week.”

Another signed up member of the congregation Joyce Harrison commented that it just made things easier. She said: “It great not having to think about having money in my pocket. Even if I am not here every week, the regular collection means I don’t need to worry. In many ways, it allows me to focus on the service and not worry about the collection. I think this scheme is a win-win for all scheme members, but most importantly for the church.

If you would like more information about signing up for the Parish Giving Scheme please contact Nathan Bruce at Cuthbert House directly on 01388 660011 or via email:nathan.bruce@durham.anglican.org