Worshippers raise record amount

By John HowardReligious Affairs CorrespondentA SENIOR Church official has praised Suffolk worshippers for raising a record amount of money last year.

By John Howard

Religious Affairs Correspondent

A SENIOR Church official has praised Suffolk worshippers for raising a record amount of money last year.

But they have warned the diocese will be looking for more money from congregations this year.

Congregations collected a record £4,270,494 last year for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, £308,573 more than 2001.

Michael Wilde, chairman of the board of finance for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “It is a wonderful response from the parishes, especially as large sums of money that were once available to us from the national church have now been diverted to other needs.

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“The great result for 2002 is the latest in a line of good financial performances for the diocese.

“Indeed, Suffolk's congregations are now supporting the work of dioceses in poorer parts of the country like Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham.”

Suffolk's church parliament, the diocesan synod, has agreed an increase of 8.2% in contributions from worshippers this year, with the better-off parishes asked to offer more if they could.

Almost 75% of the diocesan budget is spent on salaries, housing provision and pensions for the clergy - the rest goes towards areas including training, administration, mission and church buildings.

But the Rev Jan Fowler, parish priest at Combs, near Stowmarket, said: “It's harder for people to find the money - like everything else, it is often hard to find the money for things.''

The Rev Nigel Hartley, parish priest for five village churches near Stowmarket, said his churches had to raise in the region of £20,000 to £30,000 for church repairs alone.

But he added: “St Paul said God loves a generous giver. It's a mark of our commitment to God, what we give. What we give is really part of our Christian discipleship.”


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