St. Mary’s and St. John’s Churches Appeal
- Written by Tony Gowers
Donhead St. Mary is fortunate to have a beautiful 11th century church which is the only Grade 1 listed building in the parish. In Charlton, St John's is a 19th century church and Grade 2 listed building. Together, they have been serving our community for centuries.
In April 2012 we launched an appeal to meet the cost of major repair works and to provide additional and much needed regular income. The Diocesan architect's five-yearly survey identified repairs costing in the region of £75,000, equivalent to £15,000 over each of the next five years. Our existing sources of revenue such as collections, the parish fête and other fund raising events are insufficient to cover this. Indeed they are taken up entirely by other outgoings such as heating, lighting, insurance, routine maintenance and our contribution to the rector's stipend and Benefice running costs. Additional funds are required specifically for maintaining the fabric of St. John's and St. Mary's.
Our challenge has been compounded by the theft of lead from the roof of St. Mary's. In April 2012, lead was stripped from the south aisle roof, allowing rainwater to enter and damage the plasterwork. Then in October 2012, lead was stolen from the north chapel roof too. Permission was obtained from the Diocese, English Heritage and the Local Planning Authority to replace the lead with terne-coated stainless steel, which is cheaper than lead and hopefully less attractive to metal thieves. However, even after anticipated insurance claims, we are left with a significant shortfall.
So this is what we are doing...
- The PCC has written to all households in the parish, explaining our predicament and asking for support. Many generous one-off donations have been received and these have enabled us to go ahead with urgent works to the roof of St. Mary's. However, further necessary works to both churches are on hold until a stable financial footing can be established.
- An appeal has been made for recurring donations specifically to cover the fabric of the two buildings. If our target of raising £15,000 annually by recurring giving can be met, then normally recurring repairs to St. Mary's and St. John's can go ahead. Members of the PCC are attempting to talk to everyone known to have a connection with either of our two churches, and explaining why we need help. Initial response has been positive and it is proving to be a great opportunity to hear people's concerns and to be able to explain the mysteries of church funding! If you are approached by a PCC member, please don't give them a hard time!
- We are urging more parishioners to step forward and organise fundraising events. These are a great way of bringing friendship and enjoyment to the task of fundraising, and they bring us together as a community. Examples to date include an art exhibition and sale, concerts and coffee mornings. If you have ideas for a fundraiser or need help to make it happen, please get in touch.
Many parishioners have been amazed to learn that there is no funding from within the Church of England, or from the state or local government. Even the fees which we are permitted to charge for private services such as weddings are notional and insufficient to contribute to the fabric of the church buildings. Funding really does have to come from us, the people who worship in these churches or who simply appreciate their presence as significant buildings with a vital role in our community.
Please join the growing band of friends who are assuring our two churches' future with regular giving. To make a donation, or if you would like a copy of the PCC's 'regular giving' leaflet or have an idea for a fundraising event, please telephone 01747 828192. If you prefer, you can send an email via this web site to the PCC Treasurer - click here to open the contact form for the Treasurer to send the email.