Offertory Collection Counters
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Quite a number of years ago Canon Tangney asked a few lay people to assist him by counting the offertory collection, today there are still one or two of those loyal people still performing this very important task.
The counters perform a vital role in the Parish; they work as part of a team on a 4 weekly rota basis. Since we became one Parish, John Henry Newman in 2011, we have increased the size of the teams to take into account the extra workload of counting the collections from our three churches. That said, the job has become easier, with the organisation and division of labour. Although the task requires accuracy, often infectious laughter can be heard from the parish office when the counters are at work. It would be appropriate to offer a word of thanks and appreciation for the conscientiousness of the counters who are 100% reliable and should anything crop up, even at short notice, they arrange for a substitute to cover for them. They realise how important teamwork is and for the personal security of their colleagues handling cash.
There is a requirement for the separation of loose cash given on the plate and the envelopes where Gift Aided Donations are made. These amounts are counted separately and recorded for each Mass, in each of our Churches. None of the counters are aware of the identity of the envelope giver, and confidentiality is vitally important. Should there be a special collection, the same method is employed and similarly recorded.
We have another band of people who continue the role, described above; for the Sunday evening collection and then prepare the monies in readiness for banking. It is not only the money from the Offertory collection that is counted and banked, there are other monies that come through their hands e.g. Youth fund, paper monies including the Parish Magazine; rents for the use of The Newman Centre and offerings given for the votive candles at the shrines in the different churches to name but a few.
You may find it surprising to learn that not all monies taken in the offertory go into the Parish account; the parish has to make a contribution, known as the assessment, to the Diocese and this is no small amount. This is a percentage, around 30% of our total income and goes towards the running of the Diocese. Last year this represented £74,000, also the bank makes charges for us to deposit cash with them, again this is a considerable sum, and it is around £100 per month. Bank charges could be reduced, by budgeting, as we do with most of our household expenditure; have you considered setting up a standing order? This is the obvious answer and although the banks still make a charge for this service it is a cheaper option than depositing cash with them and one which would benefit the Parish. Taxpayers can also benefit the Church by allowing the parish to claim back the tax that has already been paid on their donation. Tax is claimed back at the basic rate of Income Tax; this means that for every pound (£1) donated, the grossed up donation is worth £1.25. We need not be concerned about this as the Church is a registered charity and is therefore entitled to claim this back from HMRC, formerly known as Inland Revenue. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/gift_aid/basics.htm this is now common practice wherever we go, if we are visiting a place of interest we are asked if we would like to gift aid our admission charge, so why not let our own Church benefit.
Thank you for reading the above, perhaps you might consider changing the way you make your offering to the Church by setting up a standing order and equally as important by taking out a Gift Aid on your donation, you know this makes sense, see Mary Gairn (parish administrator) for details.
Published Tue 16th Apr 2013 13:37:06