Gifts that keep on Giving

Convener of Council reports

As we come to the end of the financial year, we have to review our own position, and to ensure we are able to fulfil our ambitious plans for the year ahead. We are a membership organisation, a self-supporting, self-sustaining community and all the money we raise supports St Mark’s. This gives us the opportunity and responsibility to determine our own priorities and to develop our plans. Only a small amount every year is forwarded by us to support the General Assembly. It is important that everyone understands where our money is spent and the challenges we face. At St Mark’s, our two biggest expenditures are on the costs of having a full time minister and the upkeep of our lovely building.

We agreed, at the AGM earlier this year, that we wished to have a full time minister, and as we progress our plans to consider the appointment of an experienced full time minister, we must ensure we have sufficient regular income to support this position. We rely on donations from members and income from legacies to fund the costs of the minister.

While we have made some savings this year, we need to increase regular giving to meet the salary costs of a full time minister. The best form is through regular contributions from Members by Standing Order. Not only is this much more straightforward for us to administer, we can plan more effectively. Furthermore the government gives us Gift Aid, roughly increasing the value of Members contributions by a further 25%. Many Members have Standing Orders in place, and Council will be inviting those who do not yet have a Standing Order to set one up. For those who already have a Standing Order in place we ask that you review the amount you regularly give to reflect our increasing costs. For those who can afford it, we suggest a donation of at least £10.00 per week, which is £40 per month, £500 per year. This would give us the level of income required to support the costs of a full time minister. If you are unsure about how to set up or adjust your Standing Order, Brian Robertson will be happy to advise you.

Legacies are a great way to support the future of St Mark’s, so you may wish to remember St Mark’s when making or updating your will. We understand that many of our Members are retired, and are on a pension and, in these circumstances, you may consider supporting St Mark’s by naming the Church as one of the beneficiaries in your Will. We are ever grateful to the legacies we have received from past members, in particular from the Geddie sisters, Isobel and Mary, whose legacy makes a substantial monthly contribution towards the costs of a minister. We have also been advised that shares may be transferred to St Mark’s in a mutually beneficial way for both the giver and St Mark’s. If you wish any advice on any of these matters please discuss this with Brian or me.

We use the income we raise through letting our Church and Hall as a venue for the Fringe and for other events during the year. In recent years we have substantially increased our income from lettings, such that we are now bringing in approx. £15,000 per year. This meets the cost of heating, lighting, and cleaning our beloved space, and contributes to routine maintenance costs. We have been able, this year, to put some money towards improving our facilities. However, major repairs do challenge us, and in 2017 we anticipate our foundations will require further work due to drainage problems. When we have more information we will come back to everyone about this matter and the costs involved.

We can anticipate that 2017 is going to be both an exciting and a challenging year. This places a considerable responsibility on us to sustain our community. As we are reminded every Sunday:

It is a privilege to govern and maintain our own community ourselves.

Thank you to everyone for their support and contributions.

Happy New Year,

Mary McKenna.