I have now received the figures up to the end of May. The overall message is that, like Alice in Wonderland, we have to keep running hard to stay in the same place. In the areas that we have been making particular appeals, I don’t yet have the results of the Gift Day which mainly show in June ; plate collections increased over the Easter period, but overall are CHF 2,000 less than at the same time last year. We are very grateful to those of you who have responded. If you are not part of the pledge scheme, please think how the church may be affected during the periods when you are absent in the coming months.
The overall figures at the end of May show a deficit of CHF 17,500, compared with a break-even position at the same time last year. Last year’s figures included a very generous donation of CHF 10,000 from the Oak Foundation towards the youth ministry. I have just received confirmation that they will kindly donate CHF 5,000 this year, which reduces the comparative discrepancy to CHF 12,500.
In particular, ministry costs increased by CHF 5,500. The costs of the youth ministry increased by CHF 5,000 and the music ministry by CHF 3,500, part of the latter was additional costs of CHF 1,500 for Mark Jones, directly covered by a donation, and the rest was caused by phasing of tuning for the organ and pianos. Youth ministry costs were forecast and budgeted. There were swings and roundabouts in other costs.
Administration and maintenance costs increased by CHF 5,500, including cleaning by CHF 2,500 which was budgeted ; insurance by CHF 1,000 and a large increase in Diocesan costs, CHF 5,000, also budgeted. These are partially offset by reductions elsewhere.
At this stage in the year, I am forecasting a deficit of CHF 8,000, which is very dependant on giving continuing to hold up. It would clearly be preferable if we were able to avoid any deficit.
For some time now, we have been conscious that people, particularly young people, no longer carry cash. We will be making it possible to contribute by SMS, starting in August or September, and we will be running a small pilot project in advance of that. The Church of England has a contract with ‘Sum-up’, which is being extended to the Diocese in Europe and we will be part of the pilot roll-out. This will allow people to make electronic payments easily.
We know that there are charitable organisations or individual foundations that are interested in educational activities or youth programmes. The opportunities that we provide, particularly through music with the organ and choral scholarships and also Voice for Life, give young people valuable training and experience. If you have ideas and particularly if you have contacts which you think we could develop, do please get in touch with me.
Meanwhile, someone can remind me of the end of the Alice in Wonderland story, but I remember it as being successful !