Sixteen churches who participated in a scheme organised by the Church of Scotland’s Stewardship and Finance office all saw increases in their offerings last year.
One congregation’s giving rose by a staggering 44 per cent – a particularly pertinent figure given the recent credit crunch.
The results, contained in the Council of Assembly’s supplementary report to the General Assembly, noted that these 16 churches were in urban and rural parishes, as well as having different membership figures.
The income of over 1,400 congregations continues to be the principal source of income for the Church of Scotland.
Most of this comes from the offerings of members and adherents, which amounted to £59.9 million in 2009. In addition, the tax recovered on offerings made under the Gift Aid scheme amounted to £11.1 million.
When these two amounts are added together, the total of £71.0 million is a decrease of 1.1 per cent on the total for 2008. Total congregational income also showed a decrease of 1.1 per cent in 2009.
But the report argues in the economic climate which prevailed in 2009 most charities would be delighted to report such a small decrease in income.
It also commends the stewardship programme to congregations who are serious about wanting to increase their financial giving.
Led by Head of Stewardship Reverend Gordon Jamieson and five Stewardship Consultants, the programme continues to be an effective way of encouraging members and adherents to increase their giving and enable more sharing of the gospel through the worship, mission and service of the Church.
This year is also the 50th anniversary of the Church of Scotland employing staff dedicated to the teaching and promotion of Christian stewardship.