A decision to voluntarily increase parish share

22nd April 2022

“I put my hand up to agree to the decision, but at the same time I was thinking to myself ‘I can’t believe I am doing this!” This was the moment Anne Hewett, Treasurer at St John’s Church in Keynsham, voted to voluntarily to increase the amount the church gave in parish share at a recent PCC meeting. The vote was called so the church could decide between paying the same parish share as last year or a higher amount to reflect adjustments and inflation.

Anne, by her own admission, has always been someone who ‘moaned and groaned about our Parish Share’. “I worry about it every year and like many others I spend time wondering how on earth we are going to pay it, as we keep no cash reserves”, so it’s not surprising that when St John’s DCC voted to increase the amount the church gave, Anne was shocked, not just by the decision to do it, but that she herself backed the proposal, and felt so at peace with the decision.

But by the very next morning, most of the extra money needed was already in the church account. A donation had been made by a parishioner who was unaware of the DCC decision the night before. Anne was stunned, she says “It was incredible when I saw it in the account-; it felt like God was affirming our decision; I felt quite shaky, like I was walking on holy ground’.  The following day, the church heard it had been given a retrospective grant for work on the bells, which more than covered the difference outstanding!

"The fact that the person who gave the money, did so ‘anonymously’ and was so clear that it had no strings attached was also a gift.  ‘I don’t know why I put the money across just when I did, but I would like to encourage others to follow God’s prompting when they feel it’, they commented.

"This was encouragement for the entire DCC. ‘We followed God’s guidance to be generous, to be a witness and not to stand by, but to act.’   Anne comments that since this act of faith by a parishioner open to God’s prompting, several others have now made donations."

Gary Watson Lead Giving and Funding Adviser at the diocese received a message from Anne the same day and was similarly encouraged, “I was truly overjoyed to hear such a powerful testimony and was reminded of a verse in Luke chapter 6, ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’ It’s never an easy thing to step out in faith when the way ahead is unclear, but following where God is leading you is never futile.”