Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

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Typical parish church running costs

Local parish churches are independent charities. The members of the church council (the PCC or Parochial Church Council) are trustees of the charity. If the annual turnover of the church exceeds £100k, then the charity needs to be registered with the Charity Commission.

To operate a parish church, there are many costs involved. It's important to ditinguish between capital projects and ordinary running costs. The simple distinction is 'do we incur this cost every year?' If the answer is 'yes' then it's a running cost.

Capital projects

If you are contemplating or undertaking a capital project such as building works, replacing or buying equipment etc. then people at Church House may be able to guide you to where finance might be found. Of course finance is not the only issue that needs consideration. Start by speaking to one us (see 'Speak to somebody' on this page).

Running costs

Normal running cost include energy bills, office bills, clergy expenses, upkeep of church fabric and the 'parish contribution' (see below).

Significant savings may be achievable by registering with the Parish Buying Scheme (click here) which procures using the bulk buying power of the whole Church of England and the Church in Wales.

The parish contribution

Often one of the largest outgoings in the local church budget, many people ask what the Parish Contribution actually procures. The short answer is that payroll, training, housing and pension costs for clergy, together with buildings insurance, are all handled at diocesan (or regional) level. So are a portfolio of professional services that it makes sense to offer regionally rather than locally. All of these are paid for by the contributions of parishes across the diocese.

Assessment practices vary from diocese to diocese. In this diocese, the exact parish contribution that each local church is invited to pay will be assessed by the local Deanery treasurer in consultation with the rural dean and the elected members of the local deanery synod.

Speak to somebody

At Church House we have some full-time employees, some part-time employees and some external consultants. Our aim is to provide a good service level to parishes while keeping costs down.

If you have a question about diocesan finance or the legal frameworks under which parishes and the diocese operate, please call our Finance Team on 01273 425798.

If your question is about improving income or reducing costs, call John Sherlock on 01273 425685.

We welcome telephone calls and can usually put you through to the right person or ask them to call you back. Our switchboard number is 01273 421021.