The reality of late is that our monthly income is not meeting our monthly outgoing. There has been a considerable drop in the weekly offertory! I have been consciously aware of this for a long time now, and I try not to burden you with this.

When the St. Thomas More Church was still open we had an additional income from the Presbytery, and also a Playgroup that was quite successful for a number of years. Manifestly, with the closing of the St. Thomas More site and everything moving to St. Edmund’s, there has been a loss of revenue, somewhere in the region of £25,000 per year. Coupled with diminishing offertories, this is most certainly taking its toll on our parish Finances. I am very consciously aware of every parishioner’s financial situation; there are so many demands on all of us today, mortgage, home maintenance, cars, family expenses, and the list can go on and on!

The survival of any parish is holily dependent on the generosity of the faithful People of God. You are those people! Your weekly contribution sustains the life of the parish. Your offering reflects your thanksgiving to the Lord no matter how great or small it may be. There are always some who may be in the position of giving more. As Cardinal Hume used to say, an hour’s salary was not an unreasonable offering. If we think of some of the luxuries we purchase, a bottle of wine, a packet of cigarettes, a meal out, Weekly Gym membership, and season tickets to sports venues. Perhaps a good benchmark would be that suggested by our Parish Accountant, that if everyone gave the price of a cup of coffee that you would purchase on the High Street, this would certainly enhance the Weekly Offering. Of course the ‘widow’s mite’ is always welcomed.

You are all aware of the ongoing costs of maintaining your own homes; and the bills keep coming in! This year we had a severe winter. As you know I’ve always tried to keep all our buildings warm, for example, some months the Gas Bill was between eight and nine hundred pounds a month. Utilities are extremely expensive. Capitation to the Diocese of Brentwood is £2,200 per month. Monthly salaries are approximately £1,300. Fr. John’s Salary is £675.00 per quarter. These are just some of the regular bills.

I appeal to your incredible generosity, and your sense of belonging to this parish. Your Gift Aiding is so important, and the use of weekly GA

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