Did you know the word ‘charity’ means ‘love’? We show our love by financial giving and charitable fundraising. Belonging to any church means learning to see the benefit of giving of ourselves to that church and to the other people within it. This includes our time and talents but also our money.
St Peter and St Paul is part of the Church of England and an important sign of our commitment to belonging to the one worldwide church is the money that we give that goes beyond St Peter and St Paul. This includes the charities that we support but also the financial contribution that we make each year to our diocese – the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. This central way of organising the payment and upkeep of clergy is important. Without it, churches in poorer areas of the diocese would have to close.
Once this sum is added to all the other things that we need to pay for (e.g. the cost of maintaining our buildings, outreach projects, etc.) it means that St Peter and St Paul needs to raise almost £1,500 a week to continue running. Some of this money is raised through endowments, concerts, the church shop, the bookstall, events such as Ride and Stride, our monthly Saturday coffee mornings and the Christmas Fair. But the overwhelming majority of it comes from the dedicated direct giving of members of St Peter and St Paul.
Raising money is no easy task! Our Benefice’s share for 2019 was £65,965. Of that Clare pays almost half. Cavendish pays £18,140, Hundon pays £5,937, Stoke by Clare pays £8, 245 and Wixoe pays £2,970. Though we are pleased to say we have managed to pay our share in full, it is a huge undertaking. However the New Testament does contain examples of Christians responding to God’s love by giving generously. Remember the example of the poor widow who gave as much as she had in Mark 12:41-44, or in 2 Corinthians 8-9 we see the church in Corinth giving faithfully to help a community of people they had never even met. And of course even though he had no money we all know the story of the little boy who offered Jesus his meagre lunch of loaves and fishes in Matthew 14:14-21 – and look how that turned out for the five thousand. Profound things happen when we as a church give.
You don’t have to be a regular attendee at Clare Parish Church to see the value in contributing to the upkeep of the church. The parish church is one of Clare’s primary visitor attractions. Hundreds of people come through the door every year and sign the visitor’s book. If you run a business in Clare, or if you are resident and love to see a busy, thriving high street and marketplace, please consider giving to the upkeep of the church – a superb landmark building in the centre of our historic town.
Thank you to all those who took part in the Ride and Stride event this year, cycling and walking to as many churches as possible in the area.
Though it was tricky with some churches closed due to fears of Coronavirus, our cyclists were able to get ‘ticked off’ on a list. Sponsorship money goes to our church building fund.