When will churches join the real world?

Over time on this blog, you’ll probably realise that I’m a bit baffled by many things. It’s fair to say that religion is one of these.

So it’s with no surprise that I read in the Birmingham Mail comments from a religious man which have no relevance to the real world.

The story regards talks by the Diocese of Lichfield on plans by the Church of England to standardise fees for services across the country. At present the initial service fees are standard, but at a regional level, churches are able to add extra fees for things like bell ringers, flowers and heating etc.

The quote from the Archdeacon of Salop, the Venerable John Hall said:

“I question the sanity of wanting to take over from parishes something which they have dealt with adequately for centuries.” 

I’m sorry Mr Hall, but that isn’t washing with me. Churches have been found out. There’s no problem with extras being charged where applicable and yes, if you need to hire the choir then there is a cost associated. But the Birmingham Mail report talks of heating being an extra.

HEATING?!?!? When I go to Morrisons I don’t get charged £20 for my shopping and then have a fee added for heating. Why should churches be any different?

The Diocese of Lichfield, like so many other religious institutions, need to get with the real world if they’re going to prosper in increasingly sceptical times. And at a time when finances are stretched, surely the churches have a duty to their congregation to be up front about costs?

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

6 Comments

  1. Aphex666

    18th February, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I have no problem with churchs charging extra for heating. I imagine the costs to heat each church vary quite a bit and this would make building it into the standard charge difficult.

    If anything the church ARE being open about their costs by offering things as extras rather than as part of a single figure.

    Incidentally Morrisons do charge you for heating they just aren’t as upfront about it.

  2. Sammy J

    19th February, 2009 at 11:19 am

    The problem comes though when you take different churches very near together. Why for example, can one church charge for one thing and the next church not?

    Morrisons may well charge me, but it’s a standard tariff across all of there stores – I don’t pay more for it in Chasetown than I do in Lichfield for example. And that’s something the church hasn’t grasped.

  3. Aphex666

    19th February, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I imagine the difference in charges comes down to a lot of factors i.e how much do they get from collections / fundraisers or how big is the congregation. Some churches may be able to charge less because they have more financial stability, others may have to make certain all their costs are covered.

    Maybe the church should operate like any business and shut down non profitable locations. That way they could offer the unified price point rather than allowing churches to set price according to circumstance so they can maintain a presence in their communities.

    Oh wait the church isn’t a business and the moment they become one you won’t have a big choice of where a service can be held.

    Finally an issue we disagree on!!!!!

    Are you having a bad week? Between this and the Bower Queen post it sounds like you’re auditioning for Grumpy Old Men before your time. Keep it up though this is much more interesting than a lot of other blogs.

  4. Sammy J

    19th February, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    You’ll soon discover that I’m always a grumpy git!

    Still disagreeing on the church thing though, if they don’t want to be judged by the standards of a business then surely the amount you pay for a service should be down to the individual in the form of a donation?

    And as for the Bower Queen, you’ll never convince me otherwise!!!

  5. Pingback: The Lichfield Blog » Blog Archive » The church plc can’t have it both ways

  6. John

    10th March, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    “Morrisons may well charge me, but it’s a standard tariff across all of there stores – I don’t pay more for it in Chasetown than I do in Lichfield for example. And that’s something the church hasn’t grasped.”

    You do if it’s petrol, don’t know about owt else

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