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Saturday September 21 2019

thevillage


thesquare

In Full . . .

Church has no cash to spare

Posted on August 30 2019 at 10:31:47

I would like to take the opportunity to clear up one or two misunderstandings in the letter about the new Cofton Village Hall in last month’s magazine.

The Church of England has no vested interest in the hall, which will be owned by the parish council and run by a group of voluntary trustees.

I and Sheri Gidney, former curate, have served as trustees along with a number of other hard-working local people, simply because we want to see this much-needed community facility become a reality.

The church hopes to hire the hall for a new Sunday afternoon all-age service for the benefit of local families, but will be renting it like other hirers – no special favours!

While, as Mr Cooke points out, the Church of England nationally has sizeable assets, most of these are committed to funding clergy pensions, the costs of training clergy, paying for bishops and other central costs, and (to a limited extent) providing assistance to the poorest dioceses.

Sadly there is nothing spare for local projects like this.

In fact the parish of Cofton Hackett & Barnt Green pays about £80,000 pa into church funds to cover the cost of having a vicar and to help parishes in needier areas, all of which comes from the giving of local church members. We are net donors, not recipients.

The church has helped the Village Hall in other ways. As well as the time Sheri and I have given as trustees, we have done all the photocopying for the appeal without charge, offered the Parish Centre at a token rent for fund-raising events like the nearly new sale and bake-off, and church members have given a significant proportion of the money raised in the local community.

Perhaps they know from experience that things won’t happen unless they support them.

It is true that St Modwen generously supplied water and gas to St Michael’s Church. This has allowed us to install a toilet, kitchen area, and new heating at a cost to us of about £66,000, which will allow greater community use.

The refurbished church will be open by the time you read this so please come and visit.

Finally, I would like on behalf of the trustees to thank everyone who has contributed towards the funds needed to equip the hall. It will shortly be handed over to the parish council and we are taking bookings from September 16: call 0121 249 0919 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I am sure it will be a fantastic asset to the community of Cofton Hackett and the surrounding area.

Rev Canon Rob Fieldson, Cofton Hackett


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