Funding the Church of England

It takes just over £1000 million a year to run the Church of England, financing its 13,000 parishes and 43 cathedrals.  For more details see The Church of England Today and Financial Overview 2004-2013.


Where do the funds come from?

Around three-quarters (£750 million) comes from worshippers in the parishes. Over the past five years, parishes have increased their giving by around £100 million to meet increased ministry and pension costs.

Across the Church, regular, tax-efficient giving rose by nearly 50% in the five years between 1999 and 2004.


  • over £200 million is given tax-efficiently each year through Gift Aid and a further £60 million is recovered from the Inland Revenue in tax;

  • £200 million is given in cash and donations by congregations and visitors;

  • £250 million is raised through legacies, special events, the letting of church halls, bookstalls, fundraising and parish magazines etc.

Around 16 per cent (over £215 million) comes from the Church Commissioners who manage assets of £6.7 billion (at the end of 2014) on behalf of the Church:


  • In 2014 the Church Commissioners' total return on its investment was 14.4 per cent. The Commissioners exceeded their long-term target rate of RPI + 5 percentage points. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.8% per annum. After taking account of expenditure the fund has grown from £2.4bn at the start of 1995 to £6.7billion at the end of 2014.

  • In 2014 the charitable expenditure of the Commissioners was almost £215 million. Independent research carried out at the end of 2014 suggested the Commissioners were one of the largest charitable givers in the UK and the eighth largest globally.* Commissioner funded projects ranged from clubs and drop-ins to youth work and food bank hubs, all supported by local churches.

In addition, income for the Church of England is generated from:

  • £50 million through income on reserve funds in parishes;

  • £50 million through income on reserves in dioceses and cathedrals;

  • £30 million from fees paid for weddings, funerals and chaplaincies.

How the money is spent

By parishes:

  • The 'Parish Share' paid by parishes to dioceses contributes to the costs of clergy stipends across the diocese and, from 1998, pension contributions.  The way the contributions are calculated varies from diocese to diocese.

  • The working expenses of their own parish clergy - phone bills, stationery, car mileage etc.

  • In addition, some parishes employ local staff, such as administrators, youth, children's or community workers.

  • Running costs of the church, and church buildings. e.g. insurance, heating, and lighting etc.

  • Maintenance of church buildings and new building work costing in the region of £160 million per year. In 2004 parishes successfully reclaimed over £6 million of VAT payments by taking advantage of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.  Such VAT costs fall directly on parishes and it is appropriate that the Scheme responds directly to parishes as they deal with the heavy burden of caring for their Listed church buildings.

  • Many parishes give financial support to UK and overseas mission agencies, and to local and international charities. In 2004, parishes gave away over £40 million to such causes.

By dioceses:

  • The majority - around 90 per cent - of the 'Parish Share' and other income (for example, from diocesan property or land) is used by the dioceses to pay for the clergy and other diocesan ministries. That is the costs of stipends, pensions and National Insurance, parsonage housing, Council Tax and training expenditure both for ordinands and in-service development. This also includes money spent on ministries that support the parishes, such as youth work, children's work, stewardship and communications.

  • The remainder is divided between the costs of ensuring the diocese is run efficiently, centred on a administrative team and an amount paid to General Synod for the national Church responsibilities. (See below for details)

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The 'National Church'

Archbishops' Council (including work commissioned by General Synod)

The Archbishops' Council, chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, consists of bishops, clergy and lay members. It gives strategic direction to the national work of the Church of England, within an overall vision set by the House of Bishops and informed by an understanding of the Church's opportunities, needs and resources.

Supporting the Archbishops' Council is the professional, management and administration team, based at Church House, London, and led by the Secretary-General.

The Council's expenditure in 2008 was £73.2 million, which included £41.6 million of grants paid to the dioceses.

The 2010 budget of the Archbishops' Council, which is funded by diocesan contributions, falls into five categories:

  • Training for ministry: the costs of selecting and training tomorrow's ordained ministers - £11.8 million or 43 per cent  An average of 510 men and women have been ordained each year over the last three years

  • National support costs: the costs of running national services, such as General Synod, mission and public affairs, education, legal services and communications - £10.3 million or 37 per cent. A wide range of activities is covered. See: The Archbishops' Council

  • Grants: contributions to ecumenical and other bodies, such as the World Council of Churches and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland - £1.5 million or 6 per cent.

  • Mission agencies' clergy pensions contributions: a contribution to the pensions of retired members of Church of England mission agencies - £830,000 or three per cent

  • Retired housing subsidy and administration costs: the costs of helping retired clergy with a home in retirement - £3.3 million or 12 per cent

More details on the Archbishops' Council's 2012 Budget.

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In addition, the Archbishops' Council is responsible for distributing:

  • Allocations of Ministry and Stipends Support for low income dioceses: funds provided by the Church Commissioners which are issued as parish mission and ministry support to the least 'well-off' dioceses - £28.7 million in 2008.

  • Mission Development Fund: funds provided by the Church Commissioners which are issued to all dioceses for mission initiatives but can also be used stipend support - £4.8 million in 2008.

  • Extra mission and ministry support - £8.0 million in 2008 - distributed to dioceses as parish mission and ministry support based on their stipendiary clergy numbers.

The Church Commissioners

The Church Commissioners manage the historic assets of the Church of England, worth £6.7 billion. The portfolio of assets includes stock market investments, and commercial, residential and rural property investments.

The Commissioners' mission is to support the Church of England's ministry, particularly in areas of need and opportunity.

In 2014, the Commissioners made payments of:

  • £123 million for clergy pensions based on service before 1998

  • £46 million for parish mission and ministry support

  • £32 million for diocesan and suffragan bishops' stipends, housing, office staff and working costs

  • £5.5 million for the stipends of the Dean and two residential canons in each cathedral, and grants to cathedrals, mainly for other staff salaries

More information about the Church Commissioners

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The Church of England Pensions Board

The Pensions Board provides retirement services set by the Church of England for those who have served or worked for the Church.  This includes:

  • administering three main pension schemes for over 250 employers and 35,000 people (clergy and others in stipendiary ministry, lay employees, and staff of the national church institutions),
  • managing assets of over £1.8 billion, and
  • providing housing for 2,500 retired clergy and their dependants.

More information about the Church of England Pensions Board

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More information:

Giving and Christian Stewardship

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