a VICAR is calling on local residents to help avert a financial crisis facing All Saint’s Church.
Last year the 7th century church experienced a large funding shortfall despite generous donations from the congregation and various fund-raising activities which together brought in £89,500.
This was not enough to cover the building’s £96,500 annual running costs so the £7,000 shortfall was plugged using reserve funds, meaning that there is less in the reserve pot this year which could leave the church in crisis the near future.
Rev Geoff Hollingsworth, the vicar of the Pocklington Group of Churches, explains: “The situation facing us in 2011 is more difficult because the church’s reserves are only £10,000 and so if we face another shortfall it could use up these reserves which means that in 2012 there would be no reserves to fall back on.
“This would leave us with difficulty in paying the church bills.”
The church has served Pocklington and the surrounding villages for over 1,300 years and Rev Hollingsworth hopes that the local community will play a big part in helping to secure its future.
He is keen for local residents to get more involved in the financial upkeep of church and plans to set up a new group of ‘friends’ for All Saints, as well as launching an annual fund-raising Gift Day, with the first taking place on 29 October.
The Gift Day will give people the opportunity to learn more about the church’s expenses as well as to make donations to help the building overcome its financial problems.
Rev Hollingsworth said: “In addition to the annual Gift Day, we would like to set up a Friends of Pocklington Church, consisting of people from the wider community who would help the congregation to raise much-needed funds to keep the church in good condition and to secure its future for the whole community.”
It costs £265 per day to keep the church open and Rev Hollingsworth said: “Times are getting harder for many families in this present economic climate.
“Costs are continually rising for everyone and many organisations and businesses are facing difficulties in meeting their costs.
“The church is no exception.”
If anyone would like to join the Friends of Pocklington Church, contact Rev Hollingsworth on 01759 302133 or the church office on 01759 306045, Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 1pm.
The Gift Day will take place at the church between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 29 October.