Covid 19 and financial challenges facing the Anglican and RC Churches

Covid 19 and financial challenges facing the Anglican and RC Churches

“working together in the coming months to collectively re-shape our use of resources and ministry structures”

Collections in churches are badly hit by the pandemic writes Catherine Pepinster in The Tablet with the RC Church experiencing a catastrophic drop in income after churches closed in March. The experience so far, Catherine Pepinster said, is that priests who rely on church collections for their livelihoods have endured a catastrophic drop in income after churches closed in March because of the coronavirus lockdown. Even as lockdown eases given the limited numbers of people who have returned to Mass, the financial situation still remains precarious. In some Southwark parishes income dropped by up to 70 per cent. In the CofE the Rt Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, told the Yorkshire Post that the finances of the diocese would take a “big hit” as rental income halted, donation plate giving stopped and other income streams, such as tourism and that gained through weddings and baptisms, dried up. “It won’t be until the end of the year when we know what the true impact will be.” The Rt Rev Paul Slater, the Bishop of Kirkstall, said “At the moment, we’ve had no cases of churches saying ‘we cannot pay our basic bills’, but we are aware that we might get to that situation.” The Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley said the church was having to work with the “realities of the landscape” as income streams dried up, “quite a stark example of income just having dropped off totally.” The Church of England has offered a financial liquidity package to dioceses totalling £75m - and a further extra £35m in grants that have been announced - these are being made available to dioceses facing financial hardship. It has also asked the Government for £40m to fund repairs to cathedrals. The CofE spokesman said “The announcements of financial support from the national church for dioceses and cathedrals are about working together in the coming months to collectively re-shape our use of resources and ministry structures.”

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