The Common Fund allows us to put a vicar in nearly every parish.

The Diocese of London is big: it stretches from Heathrow in the west all the way up to the Olympic site in the East and from central London right out to Barnet and Enfield.  We represent over 400 parishes, serving over six million people.

The Common Fund is about every parish seeing itself as part of the big picture and giving generously and sacrificially.

We can be present in every community because of the work our parishes do – and not just in bricks and mortar but in people.

Shared at the common fund meetings in 2024:

What is Common Fund?

Common Fund is money given by congregations in every parish in the Diocese of London to provide and support clergy, and to further God’s work in every parish, across London.  That is why our contributions are called the ‘Common Fund’; they are made by everyone, for everyone.

The Church of England receives no money from the state for mission or ministry.

The Common Fund pays clergy wages, their pension, their housing, their training and it even pays for the training of a parish’s next vicar.

Why should we contribute?

We have the privilege of sharing in mission and ministry through Common Fund:

  • To provide clergy in our parishes to enable the Church to work throughout London as a sign of our commitment to proclaim Christ’s Gospel
  • To share our resources with our fellow Christians because we recognise the importance of our Church’s mission for the future
  • In thanks for God’s generosity towards us because we believe wholeheartedly in our Christian faith.

Diocesan finances

In 2022, we estimate that we will need about £35 million to sustain the Church of England in London.  Roughly 75% of this is needed simply to house and pay the clergy, and to provide for their pensions.  The Diocese of London is fortunate in that it has some resources from ‘yesterday’s congregations’ which are invested in property and funds.  The income is used to help pay the costs of keeping clergy in parishes, and to contribute towards the wider work of the Church of England.

Briefly, money comes in from:

  • parishes (Common Fund);
  • rents and investments;
  • other donations.

and the Diocese of London spends it on:

  • paying parish clergy, including pension, NI, Council Tax;
  • housing for clergy;
  • training for new priests and existing clergy;
  • giving to other less well-off dioceses in England;
  • developing lay ministry;
  • supporting parishes in many other ways.

What is the average cost of a parish?

The basic running costs of the parish; heating, lighting, insurance, repairs, services etc; are paid for by the congregation. On top of this, supporting one full-time priest in a parish and contributing a fair share of the costs of other activities is estimated to amount to around £87,775 per parish in 2023. This can be divided into three roughly equal parts:

  • We pay the parish priest;
  • We pay pension contributions and provide a house;
  • We train new clergy, support parishes in many ways, help schools, help the wider church.

A simple breakdown of the figures:

Based on a parish with one cleric and one house.

2021 2022 2023 2024
Stipends 27,600 27,900 28,870 30,680
National Insurance 2,300 2,325 2,550 2,980
Pension Contributions 10,000 10,000 8,730 7,480
Resettlement Grants 900 975 995 1,040
Council Tax 2,200 2,310 2,790 2,970
Housing 12,700 13,040 13,330 14,120
Training for Clergy and Ordinands (trainees) 12,500 12,400 12,830 13,470
Safeguarding 900 1,200 1,240 1,300
Central Diocesan Support 5,000 4,900 5,070 5,320
Parish & Area Support 8,800 7,850 9,030 9,480
National Church Support Activities 4,600 4,600 4,760 5,000
Vacancies Saving -2,300 -2,300 -2,420 -2,540
Total (Parish Standard Cost) 85,200 85,200 87,775 91,300

Who decides how much a parish contributes?

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) in each parish decides how much to give.

Each parish is told the costs of keeping its clergy and its share of other costs.  The PCC makes an offer based on its knowledge of its own finances and diocesan finances.  The generous offer reflects the parish’s ability to give as well as how much it costs to run the parish.

Not all parishes can give this full amount, so the generosity of past generations supports parishes that cannot meet their full costs.  However, this inheritance is limited, so for the Church to be present across the whole of London, the less well-off parishes also depend on generous, committed and sacrificial giving of their own and from better-off parishes.

What happens if the Diocese doesn’t receive enough Common Fund?

In past years when contributions to the Common Fund have not been sufficient, there have been reductions in clergy posts and lay posts.  In some parishes, self-supporting clergy have been appointed, or two parishes have been put together.

2021 has been an exceptionally difficult year for us all as we have together responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.  PCCs have faced challenges on many fronts including organising worship, serving our communities, and managing parish finances.  We are extremely grateful to all parishes for their ongoing generosity in supporting the work of our ministry in London through your continued Common Fund contributions.

During the current pandemic the Diocese of London is supporting parishes through the challenges of Covid-19.  The aim is to ensure that we can pick up from a good base when these difficulties subside.

The Diocese of London is expecting to run at a deficit in 2020 and 2021 and will draw on reserves to fund the difference in the short term.  In addition, the level of Parish Standard Cost is being controlled by using property assets effectively to support mission and ministry and by controlling costs in view of the current financial climate.

Thankfully, it has been possible to balance the books in recent years, and with good governance and faithful generosity from congregations it is hoped to continue that pattern in the future to grow God’s kingdom across the Diocese of London and beyond.

Some facts

  • There are over 500 stipendiary (paid) clergy across the Diocese of London
  • Another 140 clergy give their time free (self-supporting / non-stipendiary clergy)
  • There are over 400 parishes in the Diocese of London
  • Almost 200 parishes are in areas classified as ‘deprived’
  • There are 150 church schools.