Being set in a very affluent part of town, most people assume that St Paul’s must be a wealthy church. In fact the truth is quite different, and every year St Paul’s sets a tight, break-even budget. There is no money ‘lying around’ upon which we can draw. St Paul’s has no historic endowment and keeps only very limited reserves in the bank, as required under Charity Law.
Perhaps, some say, churches shouldn’t be wealthy – and it is certainly true that wealth brings challenges with it. But poverty, whatever some of its spiritual virtues may be, also brings challenges: and one of these is an unfruitful anxiety about whether we will, once again, manage to ‘pull it off’ and balance the books. Somewhere between our current position and what might be described as ‘being wealthy’ there is a middle place – one in which what we do can be done with a confidence born not only of the conviction that we are blessed by God, but also by the knowledge that we have the budget translate our vision into action.
Above all we are keen to break one repeating pattern in our life – namely that every decade or so some major piece of necessary renovation work means ‘all hands to the pump’ and a fund-raising drive that saps everyone’s energies and draws the focus of the community away from its proper focus: the worship of God and the extending of his love. Buildings are meant to enhance our life – not dominate them!
The Foundation aims to create an endowment that will both ensure adequate pastoral staffing and help future worshippers at St Paul’s to be freed from the anxiety that stems from maintaining an historic and aging building – and the raising of a capital sum that will enable much-needed development of the site. It expresses a desire in our own age to match the vision and courage of those who in the mid-nineteenth century build St Paul’s and established its tradition. They built for the future – and we must do the same.
If you would like to know more about the work and vision of the Foundation – or ways in which you can help its work – please speak to the Vicar or Churchwardens.