Getting the Parish Back in the Black
Walter Middleton, Johannesburg – The discussions in The Southern Cross on parish finances have been timely and appropriate, especially since the economic situation in our country is bleak.
It is true that many parishes struggle to meet the rising costs of utilities, levies, salaries and so on. Parishes are also at times asked to raise additional funding for archdiocesan priorities, so “second” collections are taken up.
While there are some parishioners who have big hearts and give generously, many people, and the percentage can be quite high, do not give a cent towards the upkeep of their parishes. They are the ones with short arms and deep pockets.
Become Innovative and Creative
Parishes need to become more innovative and creative in becoming self-sufficient and sustainable.
We could start with giving R50 a month as a general minimum, and for people who struggle financially, R25. There will be others, I am sure, who can give much more than R50 a month.
I would like to suggest that parish priests not shy away from making a pitch every Sunday, maybe before their homilies or after the Mass, for all parishioner earning an income to get the parish’s bank details and start making payments by debit order.
Fundraising events could also be organised as they are an opportunity to get the community together in fellowship, but as long as donations/contributions for the events are voluntary.
Speed-Points for Mass Collection?
Tiro Amos Dinake, Rustenburg – Recently we parishioners were having a chat after Mass and discussed how difficult it is to put money in the collection box, basket or plate these days when increasingly people don’t carry cash.
We have debit cards, credit cards and we are able to operate effectively without cash. All petrol stations, restaurants and shops accept these debit cards and credit cards.
Can’t the Church introduce speed-points at Mass so those who do not carry cash can swipe their cards at collection time, or use smartphone barcode-scanning services? The option to use cash can remain.
Have other parishes tried that? If so, is the idea feasible and what has been their experience with it?