A CHALLENGING YEAR FOR CHURCH FINANCES
It’s that time of year again, year end accounts for 2020, getting them prepared for the Kirk Session, Presbytery and not to mention OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), usual drill……so says Robert (Paton), Church Treasurer.
“When the lockdown was first mentioned early last year”, says Robert, “I remember taking the books and records for the 2019 accounts mid March to our auditors, dropping them at their office in the city centre and having a conversation with the audit Partner when she and her staff were busy packing files to close their office. She said to me that they hoped to be back at their office…”June at the latest”. Well that as we know was a forecast they and we got totally wrong”.
Like many churches across the UK, our income has been very badly hit with the loss income from a number of sources ranging from the loss of hall rental income, which was starting to grow very fast following the church hall refurbishment with more and more groups booking space, and then loss of income on a Sunday, estimated on average circa £520 per week, with services either being cancelled or severely restricted in numbers. In addition to this we also lost income contributions from our regular church group activities.
The draft accounts, which were agreed by the Kirk Session on 3rd March, showed that we would have made a deficit of £32k but with special grant support of from the public sector which we secured, including “furlough grants” for our staff who were unable to work, this reduced the deficit to £16.2k.
The deficit was kept to this figure following a special request late last year when we asked church members who were not able to hand in their traditional “envelopes” on a Sunday to do a “catch up” before the end of the year, and this made a huge difference too.
“Looking ahead” says Robert, “it is not all “doom and gloom”, we still have a modest reserve in the balance sheet but this is reducing further as we will not have the same level of grants in 2021 as we got in 2020, and whilst there has been great success with the vaccines programme, looking ahead there may not be a return to “normal” church activities until late summer which will in turn have a knock on effect to church finances. Current challenges this year before we do anything include major scheduled maintenance work on the church organ, circa £8.5k, and essential repairs to the church clock £2.8k”.
“We are all very grateful to members maintaining their contributions during this very difficult time.”, concludes Robert, “All we would ask as we start to come out of the tunnel is for members to please retain their contributions and for those who wish to return their envelope contributions please do so by lodging these in the church bank account. You can contact Pam in the office and she will give you our bank account details”.
Thank you very, very much.