THIS WOULD BE A GREAT WAY OF FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING FATHER MARCIN AND OUR PARISH IF YOU CAN.
7th April 2020
Heather Hauschild, Chief Operating Officer of the Diocese of Portsmouth writes…
The Covid-19 has brought tragedy and immense disruption to the UK and countries across the world and we pray for the isolated and suffering, for those have lost their lives to this disease and for the bereaved who are mourning their loved ones. Our Diocese has also been very heavily impacted by the necessary actions to contain the virus. Our churches have had to close and much of our usual activity has been stopped or severely curtailed. We suffer the loss of the sacraments that are the heart of our faith. In the midst of all of the turmoil we have been able to find innovative ways to reach out to those in need and to minister as an active church community across the Diocese which bears testimony to the commitment and love for the faith as we become Christ to each other in a new way.
It is however true that the human consequence of this lockdown is having a very significant impact on our financial resources. Across the Diocese we will lose about £50,000 per week in loose plate collections and some of our income generating activity such as rental of halls. Many parishes were already struggling to meet all of the demands as the cost of running a parish, supporting the priest and keeping buildings going were not matching the donated income received and this crisis has exacerbated the situation.
Across the Diocese we have taken the very difficult decision along with many other organisations to furlough a number of our parish and central support team so that we are able to take up the Government support that will be available to cover staff costs of 80% of their normal salary up to a limit of £2500 per month for each member of staff. While this guarantees an income for staff it does mean that staff pay is reduced. Our staff work incredibly hard day in day out to enable parish life to flourish, and they support our priests. We want them to be able to come back to work as soon as possible. Staff are not allowed to work if they are furloughed so we understand the impact of this on the parishes, the priests and the staff themselves who are loyal and committed to their job
However, we simply cannot cover the loss of donations without taking up the government support scheme and we know that even after we have done this, we are left with a big gap in our money and we still need to work out how we will manage to meet all our commitments over the next few months. We would be so grateful if you would all consider if you are able to support your parish by giving a regular donation though standing order and letting us know if you are a taxpayer so that we can apply gift aid which increases the value of your contribution. If you already donate in this way and have not increased your standing order for some time you may be willing to look at this again. You can also continue to give through the donate button on the parish or diocesan website.
Easter will be very different this year and we have published ways in which you can participate online with the Triduum through the St Swithun’s Parish website and your own parish website.
Our Easter Offerings are given for our priests and form a substantial part of their income. Please remember our priests and if you can give your usual offering for them this will be most gratefully appreciated.