I am left rather confused as to what Vikki Woods is on about in her strange little piece in the Telegraph. I don’t want to be too nasty, as she seems to have the Church’s interests at heart. I just don’t understand or recognis a lot of her article.
First some relevant facts:
PCCs and other such church governing bodies do sometimes meet in people’s front rooms. They’re comfy and warm, with coffee-making and sanitary facilities. This doesn’t imply any particular issue with the local church itself.
The item on the agenda after apologies that Vikki Woods refers to is normally something along the lines of “matters arising”. But if apologies is item one, that may be the source of one of her local church’s problems – I would argue it should probably be “opening prayers”.
The item “Finance” is normally a straight P+L report. Mostly L, admittedly. Raising the folding stuff to keep the roof on normally comes under “Fund raising” or occasionally, bizarrely, “Outreach”.
And some questions and suggestions:
Vikki Woods’s village seems to have a thriving pub, a school, a village hall and the church. Villages with this many amenities normally have sufficient population to provide more than six churchgoers. Again, perhaps the vicar could institute prayers before PCC meetings?
Vikki Woods’s local clergy appears to be strangely absent – again, could this be why there are no prayers on the PC agenda?
I’m new to all this, but I reckon an 18 grand Parish Share for a church with a clergy shared with neighboring parishes is a bit on the high side. It should imply an average weekly attendance of 20 or so, even in a fairly posh parish. I will stand corrected, but it strikes me they’ve either been inflating their October count or they’ve got a full-time, yet invisible, vicar all to themselves? Or maybe the parishioners hide when VIkki pops in to Church? Or, since the Share depends to a degree on the socio-demographics of the parish, a thought strikes me – does Vikki Woods live in the grounds of Buckingham Palace? As I say, I could be wrong on this one. But if they really are paying 18 grand a year, I suggest they save money by letting the building fall down and moving into the school. It’s warm, as well.
And one final thought – it’s about ethics, of course it is. But it’s also about paying for the wages, homes and pensions of the clergy and others that work in every village across the country – even Vikki Woods’s thriving village with its oddly small congregation and invisible vicar. To do that, you’ve got to invest, or else to raise those Parish Shares – which are big enough, for sure. To do that without ever getting it marginally wrong is incredibly difficult. But that’s true for all of us. Buy from a supermarket and you’re propping up all the newspapers and television channels they’re advertising with – whether you approve of those or not. Drink milk as a diligent vegetarian, and you’re subsidising the price of meat pies. If you’ve every bought a Mars product, turns out you were sponsoring bear-baiting in Ukraine. We’re in this world and we do our best, but we’re still in it.