Planned Giving

The purpose of planned giving is to ask parishioners to think about whether they are giving the right amount to their parish. This is important because parishes do not receive any central support. They are required to be self financing.


A letter from Canon Stuart to all Parishioners


St Mary’s Rectory


4th October 2014

Dear Parishioner

Happy Feast of St Francis of Assisi. What a great day
to ask you “to preach the gospel without using words”

St Mary’s is a dynamic and energetic parish and you – our parishioners - have made it so. But it is also different from many other parishes in that we have a very large turnover of people. At least a third of our congregation leaves and is replaced each year which means that we must constantly think about how we can best draw newcomers into the life of our parish…… order to keep  it alive and vibrant!

So, for example, we organise regular events to get people involved in various voluntary activities. We also normally run a planned giving campaign* every Lent. This is a time when we invite newcomers – and others who haven’t already done so - to think about what they contribute financially to the parish. Unlike parishes in other parts of Europe and beyond we do not receive help from the Government or the Central Church authority……we are required to raise enough money to cover all our costs ourselves.

However, we didn’t have a planned giving campaign during Lent this year……for a very good reason. In the autumn of 2013, I was asked by the Cardinal to put before the parish the Growing in Faith vision. The parish responded wonderfully and we raised £900,000 in pledges (spread over 5 years) but, in view of this, we felt that couldn’t run our usual Lenten campaign.

But it’s now nearly a year since Growing in Faith was completed and, with so many people coming and going since then, the Finance Committee and I have decided that the time has now come when we should do so and I would like to explain why.

We last had a planned giving campaign back in March 2013 and, as happens in most parishes if action is not taken, there has been a slight drop in our collections. This is not an immediate problem but we do need to address the issue as a number of costs have gone up over the same period. In addition, we will soon have a second priest which will increase our ability to meet the needs of our parishioners but will also increase our costs!

So far as our building work is concerned, Stage 1 of the development is almost complete and we will soon be able to return to our church and experience the wonderful new heating system and enjoy the restored floor! This work has, of course, been very expensive but, thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we have already raised around half the money that we need to pay for the work…….and the new heating system will be cheaper to run!

However, we will still need to take out a loan from the diocese to cover the balance. This will need to be repaid and, looking further ahead, we will also need to raise additional funds to pay for Stage 2 (which will involve replacing all the lighting and redecorating the church).

So I am afraid that we can’t afford to relax!

Can you help?

Talking about money when times are challenging is not easy and I would like to say very clearly that I do not want anyone to give more than they can afford – particularly if you are living on a fixed income or a pension or if you gave all that you can to the “Growing in Faith” campaign last year.

What this means is that we will need the help of those of you who are still in a reasonably strong financial position…perhaps because you are in a secure job or because your financial commitments have gone down over the last year or so.

Only you can decide if you can do more to help but, if you are new to the parish or missed our last planned giving campaign I would like you to think about three questions over the next two weeks.

Am I giving the right amount of money each week?

Some people put £1 or less into the weekly collection and, if that is all you can afford, you shouldn’t give more. But what I would like you to think about is the place of the parish in your life, what you can afford and then whether you are giving as much as you could. Cardinal Hume once suggested that people who are in paid work should think about an hour’s pay when deciding what to give.    The minimum hourly wage is now £6.50, which may sound a lot, but it’s less than the cost of some take-away meals. Could you afford that each week?

What happens to the Parish when I'm not here?

It is not always possible to come here to Mass every week, but the parish is still here and we still need money to pay the bills even when you cannot come. So I would like you to think about giving a regular amount each week (or month) which you would give even if you couldn’t come here to Mass. You can do this by setting up a monthly bankers order (which also has the advantage of reducing our administration costs) or by giving when you next return to the Church what you were unable to give while you were away, which many of you do already.

Why don’t I add 25p to every £1 that I give with Gift Aid?

Finally, if you pay tax in the UK, I would urge you to consider giving with Gift Aid because, if you do, we can claim the tax that you’ve already paid on your donations - which will add an extra 25p to every £1 that you give at no extra cost to yourself. All you have to do is to complete a simple form saying that you pay tax and then pay by bankers order or by cheque. Alternatively, if you prefer making your contribution in cash, we can supply you with numbered envelopes so that we can claim the right amount of tax.

Please click here to download a Pledge Form

How will the campaign be run?

We will be focusing on this issue for the next two weeks and next weekend a member of the Finance Committee will set out the parish’s financial situation in more detail. What I would then like everyone to do is to fill in a pledge card telling us what you can do to help (as this will enable us to plan on a realistic basis). You can do this at any time (forms are available at the back of the church) but there will be an opportunity to do this during Mass on the weekend of October 18/19th.

You can, of course, simply write down what you give now if that is all you can afford. But if you can give a bit more, it will make a real difference and there will be absolutely no problem about changing the amount that you give if your circumstances change. All I can ask is that you do what you can and, whatever you decide, this letter comes with my thanks for your support and every blessing.

Yours sincerely


The Parish’s Income and Costs - January to December 2013

These were our average weekly income and expenditure figures last year (excluding money raised for and spent on building work and other one off items, grants and donations for other charities) and what they show is that we had a surplus of £777 a week. This may sound like a lot of money but it could be eaten up all too quickly as we still have to complete the renovation of our church and to keep up with ever raising costs.

Weekly Income

£ per    Week

Weekly Costs

£ per Week





Weekly Loose Plate


Council Tax & Insurance


Weekly Envelopes


Heat, Light & Water


Weekly Standing Orders


Ongoing repairs & maintenance


Gift Aid recovered


Administration & staff costs


Christmas & Easter Offerings


Catechetical & liturgical costs


Candles & Papers


Clergy costs (including supply priests, travel & housekeeping)


Parish Activities, Catechetics & Sundry Income


Repository, papers & candles




Parish activities, grants & sundry




Contribution to the Diocese/Deanery






Total Weekly Income


Total Weekly Costs


*The purpose of a Planned Giving Campaign is to raise the general funds needed to cover the parish’s day to day running costs. Other campaigns (such as “Growing in Faith” and the annual appeal for the Sick & Retired Priests’ Fund) are designed to raise restricted funds for specific purposes and cannot be used to cover these costs.

Please click here to download a Pledge Form

Please click here to download a Banker's Standing Order Form

Envelopes can be ordered by using the Pledge Form

Please return your Forms when completed to the
Parish Office, Draycott Terrace, Chelsea, SW3 2QR or hand them to one of the Welcomers at Mass.


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Site last updated
1 April, 2019