Ministry Share: A Guide

We all know that the parish pays Ministry Share, but what is it for, how is it calculated and how is it shared?

Peter Campbell, Chair of the Diocesan Board
of Finance, provides a detailed explanation

Put simply, it is the financial cost of spreading the Gospel and maintaining ministry in our diocese, shared among all the parishes of St Davids. It is a commitment of our faith, rather than a tax or imposition, which finds its beginnings in the earliest days of the church and a very similar financial pool of funds is described in Acts.

So, how is this pool of funds calculated and how is the cost distributed? Often those two questions are treated as one and doing this can cause confusion, for example, when the diocesan budget goes down and a parish’s share goes up.

In fact they are two totally separate questions.

The first question: the funds required. The funds required for the pool are calculated each year in the diocesan budget. The Bishop and senior staff have to calculate the number of clergy required and this is the biggest single item in the budget: 82% in 2015, £4,206,664. That includes clergy stipends, pensions, housing, expenses and training and amounts to about £46,000 for each full-time paid cleric.

The diocese has other expenses too. Quinquennial inspections of churches, grants, youth teams, property costs, safeguarding and administration bring the total  amount expected to be required for 2015 to £5,144,704.

Having arrived at the amount required, the diocese has to look at the income it can expect from other sources.

In 2015 the Representative Body of the Church in Wales will give a grant of £1,159,226 and income also comes from investments, charitable activities and, for the first time, from the use of Mrs Hazel Jones-Olszewski’s legacy.

The total of other income for 2015 is expected to be £1,742,013. The difference is the amount that the parishes pay as their Ministry Share: £3,402,691.

The second question: the cost distribution. Over the years every diocese has struggled with finding a fair way to distribute the costs. In this diocese we held a consultation including public meetings in every deanery and the result was that the cost is shared on the basis of three years average Sunday attendance.

The figures are returned each year by the wardens and incumbent and it is vital to get them right.

The total of average Sunday attendance for the last three years was 5,658 per Sunday. So if a parish had an average Sunday attendance of 25 then that parish’s share would be 25/5658 of £3,402,691 which is £15,034.

There are safeguards that prevent a parish, rectorial benefice or united parish having a rise or fall in their contribution of more than 15% to allow for times of change or unusual fluctuations in attendance. However, the distribution of the contribution within a rectorial
benefice or united parish is determined by their internal governance, and not centrally, so the percentage fluctuation may vary within those groups.

One important point to bear in mind about any set of statistics is that they should only be used for the purpose for which they were collected. So average Sunday attendance figures for a parish are used to calculate the Ministry Share the parish pays from its total income which includes fund raising events and so on, as well as individual contributions from parishioners.

It follows that the statistics are not an indication of what an individual should pay and should not be regarded in that way.

Love guided the contributions in Acts and no set of statistics should change that!

This article first appeared in the March 2015 edition of Pobl Dewi