The Churches of Our Lady of Lourdes Haworth and St Joseph’s Keighley have a fine tradition of witnessing to the faith in very many ways ranging from individual support of one another, helping the poor and developing a community spirit. Past generations have worked hard, both to build our two fine Churches and to maintain them.

As you know, a little over a year ago, both churches combined to form the new Parish of Our Lady and St Joseph’s. As the parish finance committee, we felt it was important to let all parishioners know a fuller picture of the financial situation our parish faces.

Due to Diocesan finance regulations the parish combined both accounts from 1st April this year. The handout that you will receive at the end of Mass is based on these figures. In brief, the Parish is in debt to the Diocese for approximately £215,000, yes you heard right, £215,000. The Parish has cash at the bank, and on deposit with the diocese of totalling to around £61,000.  The net position, therefore is that the parish has a net debt of £154,000 in total.

Income for the parish for the 5 months to August ’17 was £30,000 and costs have been £27,000.  We have therefore a surplus of £3,000. Our income is currently covering our costs, but it isn’t enough to make inroads into the debt.  The loan is being repaid at a rate of £200 per month, so at this current rate, it will take 90 years to repay the parish debt! This is not a good position to be in.

There is however a way that this can be addressed. We are very grateful for your current donations, but we need to increase the income of the Parish if we are to become financially viable. We are therefore asking if you will review your current donation level to the parish and increase this if possible.

If you are a taxpayer, and don’t currently donate via Gift Aid, please complete a Gift Aid declaration form and contribute by numbered envelope or standing order.  This enables the parish to claim 25% of your donation from the taxman, meaning for every £10 you give the parish gets a further £2.50.

Numbered envelopes are not just for tax payers and adults only. For example, when reviewing the financial situation the church faces, it makes good sense to do it as a family and to include your children in the process.

The problem we face, although current, is likely to be an ongoing one within all denominations as church attendance possibly declines in the future. It makes good sense therefore to include all the family in its resolutions and recognise our children being as important as their parents in our church.

Years ago, a well-known bank encouraged children to save a few pennies weekly to foster the saving habit early on in their lives. The bank recognised their regular contributions as being more significant than any profit they obtained from their small deposits.

Perhaps, we as a church family, could do likewise by encouraging our children to contribute a few pennies of their weekly pocket money in an envelope? The amount is not the important thing; it’s their involvement and their knowledge that they are as important to the church as their parents are! It’s an idea to think about.

Thank you for listening to this appeal. Please take a handout as you leave Church.  I will be at the back of church if you want a box of envelopes, Gift Aid or Standing Order forms. There will be an opportunity at the next Parish Forum Meeting to ask questions about Parish Finances and if anyone has any further ideas on how to increase Parish income, please pass these on.

We are proud of the long tradition we have in our parish of faithful service to the Lord and witnessing to his Good News and our aim is to secure this for future generations.