Giving at St Michael’s

A hand giving to another
Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Like all parish churches, St Michael’s is entirely reliant on the generosity of local people for the income that helps to fund our life, mission and ministry as a local church.

How can I give a one-off donation?

If you want to make a one-off donation, you can do it in several ways. Firstly, you can make a donation right now online using the Give-a-Little website. Follow this link to donate now.

Donate online

If you prefer to make your donation offline, you can either place your gift in the collection during a Sunday service, you can put the gift in the wallsafe in church, or you can post a cheque to the Treasurer.

If you are giving in church, you can give by cash or cheque.

If you want to post a cheque, please make it payable to “Offham PCC” and send it to “The Treasurer, St Michael’s Church, c/o The Vicarage, 138 High Street, West Malling, Kent, ME19 6NE.

How can I give regularly?

The most helpful way to give is to give consistently and regularly by setting up a Standing Order. By doing so, one big advantage is that you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring money to church! It also helps St Michael’s as well because we can plan more properly with a better sense of what income we will have each month. You can choose whether to give every week, or every month, or how ever regularly you wish to do so.

To set up a Standing Order, please download this form. Either fill it out and take it to your bank, or use the details on the form to set-up your standing order yourself with your usual Internet banking provider.

The joys of Gift Aid

If you are a taxpayer, you can make your donations go even further by signing a Gift Aid declaration. For every £10 you give, the Government will give us an extra £2.50 meaning you can make even more of a difference at no cost to you! Please note you must pay an amount of Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax at least equal to the tax being reclaimed.

Once you have completed a Gift Aid declaration form, all the gifts you give (whether one-off gifts, collection envelopes on Sunday, or a standing order) can qualify. Download the form to get started.

Where does our money come from?

There are a number of ways in which St Michael’s receives income. We regularly run fund-raising events and we receive an important sum of money each year through the parochial fees that are paid for weddings, funeral services and burials in the churchyard.

However, the largest and most important source for our finances are the generous donations of people who worship here. Giving is very much part of Christian discipleship and the church has always thrived on the sacrificial actions of its members as they give of their ‘time’, their ‘talents’ (their skills and experience) and their ‘treasure’ (their material wealth and possessions).

How much does it cost to run St Michael’s

In 2023, the total costs for running St Michael’s church will be approximately £40,000 or just under £800 every week. You may be surprised to hear that it costs that much money to run a church. We do sympathise and understand it may feel like a great deal, so let us try to give you an idea of where the money is spent and what costs we have to bear.

“Parish Offer” is the largest slice of our costs and it has risen dramatically in recent years. It is a contribution we make to the Church of England via our Diocese, the Diocese of Rochester. It now accounts for over 35% of our costs. It helps pay for things in the diocese and nation which help to support us as a church – from child protection to ethics, education to the media. It also includes the costs of our local ministry; not only paying our Clergy and meeting their expenses, but also contributing towards the training of new Ministers and covers the ancillary expenses related to deploying clergy.

Our beautiful building is the next biggest item of expenditure and, as with all old buildings, it is expensive to maintain. Around 35% of our income goes on the church building, both in maintenance and in the costs of running services. The rest goes directly on church activities, outreach and community work and then finally administration and other costs.

St Michael’s PCC also choose to give away 10% of our income to support Christian work in other countries and we support several local charities. Many churches operate with this model and it’s based on the notion that, as Christians, it shouldn’t all be about serving our own interests. If the church isn’t giving generously to others, we aren’t really modelling something we hope to replicate amongst our congregation.

How much should I give?

There is no set rule as to how much you should give. In the Bible, St Paul teaches that everyone should give “what they have decided in their heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9.7). In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21 verses 1 to 4, Jesus watched the rich make a great display of giving their wealth and then observed an old woman put in two small copper coins. He praised the woman and said she had given more than all the others because it was all she had. The lesson for us is that it’s not about the amount that matters, it’s about the sacrifice and about our attitude when we give.

A principle in the Old Testament was that God asked the people of Israel to give at least the first tenth of their income, known as the ‘Tithe’. The Church of England’s General Synod has challenged every adult church member to give a half-tithe, or 5% of take-home income (after tax and national insurance) to the church in which they worship, and a further 5% to other Christian organisations or secular charities they wish to support. If everyone gave 5%, the burden would be clearly shared fairly in proportion to God’s generosity to each of us personally and St Michael’s would have enough each year to not just meet our needs but to invest in our growth.

A good principle to go by is not to think ‘how much have I got to spare after I have paid for everything else?’. Instead, try thinking first about how generous God has been to you, and how you might want to respond. You will know you are being generous if, when you think about the amount you are giving, it would make a difference to your lifestyle if you were given that amount back! But remember, God doesn’t demand anything of us in return for his love. Anything you choose to give is a response to God’s love. It doesn’t earn it. God already loves you more than you could ever earn or deserve.

Who knows what I give?

Nobody in the church will know what you give except the church’s Treasurer and one or two people who work with the Treasurer to manage our finances. How much, how often (or even whether) you are giving is kept totally confidential. Everyone is welcome to attend church and be a full member and participant in the life of our church and it not dependent in any way or your ability to offer financial support and to give.