NEWSLETTER – October 2008

This year's harvest festival begins, as usual, with the school service in church, on Friday 3 October at 9.30am. In the evening, at 7pm, all are invited to the Harvest Supper, in the crypt (entry down the steps on the north side of church, opposite the gate into the churchwardens' garden). Please bring some food to share if you can. There will be a quiz!
Our all-age festival eucharist will be on Sunday 5 at 10.15am.

Finance Quiz
At the end of the service on Sunday 21 September (appropriately, since we were celebrating St Matthew, the disciple who knew about money) our Treasurer Richard Powell, with the help of his daughter Martha, led a simple and amusing quiz to raise awareness about the state of our parish finances. We agreed that it would be good to reproduce it here, for the benefit of those who were not present.

For each figure there were three possible answers; the first person to get the right answer got chocolates – but you will have to imagine these if you guess correctly!

  1. Nil

A   The money we got from the Government last year

B   The number of legacies we received last year

C   The number of Father Michael’s expense claims this year

  1. 1,711

A   the electoral roll for Tower Hamlets Deanery

B   the average cost of running the church every week

C   training for ministry costs paid by the national church per parish

  1. 24,000

A   our giving last year

B   the subsidy we get from the diocese to pay for our priest and the wider church

C   the amount of Father Michael’s expense claims last year

  1. 16

A   the average weekly donation

B   our worst church attendance on a Sunday

C   the number of people in the Stewardship scheme last year

  1. 2.79

A   Martha's weekly pocket money [£3]

B   the cost of a pint of beer [??]

C   the notional weekly amount given per person by those on the electoral roll

The answers:

1 – A. Some people imagine that the church gets state funding. We do not (unlike some other European countries, where buildings are maintained, and in some cases salaries paid, by the state). What we do get is Gift Aid, the system of reclaiming income tax that we have already paid – but this is in a sense 'our' money. We did receive one legacy last year. The Rector makes quarterly expense claims.

2 – B. Tower Hamlets Deanery had 1772 enrolled members last year, and the training costs per parish were £1,650.

3 – B. The total cost of maintaining one stipendiary priest in London diocese - stipend, pension, housing, national insurance plus central and training costs - is £59,000, and our current Common Fund contribution is £35,000. (Why this obsession with the Rector's expense claims, I wonder?)

4 – C (there were 63 people on our electoral roll in 2007). B is, fortunately, not correct – nor, unfortunately, is A.

5 – C. Martha gets £3 a week, and a pint is less than that – which puts our giving in perspective. Of course, many regulars are far more generous, but we do need to widen our 'giving base'. Weekly envelopes are available for those who wish to use them – this helps us to budget, and also to increase our Gift Aid claims. Please ask if you would like a pack of envelopes.

Parish website
Our website <> has finally been launched. Please visit it and let us know what you think, and also if you have any problems navigating it. Behind the main pages is a wealth of more detailed information, particularly on the church building and the history of the parish and its clergy, so there is something for everyone. The monthly calendar is on the home page (we promise to keep it up to date) and these monthly newsletters are archived.

Quite a few of the documents and books referred to are kept at the Bancroft Library. Tower Hamlets has a particularly rich collection of local history material, and there is currently a campaign, which St George's is supporting, to keep this in one place and at its present, purpose-designed location, rather than hand the building over to Queen Mary College. You can find out more from the campaign website <>

Parish database
One way of improving our communications, particularly when people are not at church on Sunday when last-minute changes of plan are announced, is to have an email list, so that reminders and other messages can be sent out. This will be a 'blind' list so that your email address will not be published to others. If you use email, please will you provide us with your address, either on a slip of paper at church or by sending a message to <>

Lambeth Conference – a summary from Bishop Stephen
Do not believe anything you read in the Press!

1   More than 65% of our time was spent in worship and Bible Study.

2   The first 3 days were spent in retreat at Canterbury Cathedral.

3   The Bishop in mission was at the heart of the Conference, with many outstanding lectures.

4   A process and structure which allowed every voice to be heard and a lot of reflective listening to take place. A model that others might follow to their great benefit.

5   A realisation that in the Anglican Communion we have something very special and a means of living within the mission context that differs across the world.

6   A march through Whitehall. I have been on many marches, but none where I was walking hand in hand with people from the most vulnerable parts of this planet, who will have no future unless we seriously and urgently address issues of climate change, poverty, education, gender equality, HIV/Aids. These with the five marks of mission set our global agenda for the next decade.

It was a privilege to be with those from so many parts of the world where faith is both vibrant and costly.

A request from the Cathedral
Every year, St. Paul’s welcomes over 25,000 school children and the Education Department exists to ensure they get the very best out of their visit. We urgently need more people to join our team of volunteer guides for school groups. If you are reasonably active and enjoy talking to children and young people, and are able to come to the Cathedral on one day a week, we would love to hear from you. Full training will be given! All volunteers will be expected to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from the CRB. For more information, please contact Laura Arends, the Head of Education on 0207 2468 353.

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