Our churches are very important to our congregations, and many people want to leave a gift to their parish church in their will.
On this page we cover:
Last year Anglicans gave £65 million to their parish church by leaving a legacy. Whether large or small, these gifts have made a huge difference to many of our churches. At a time when most parishes struggle to make ends meet, it can be difficult to make provision for much-needed repairs to the building, or to employ a youth worker, or to install a kitchen and toilet.
Making provision for loved ones is important, but when that is done a gift to the church in a will is an opportunity to make a lasting gift to God – it is an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving to God, can support the church now and secure its future in the years to come.
A legacy is often unexpected and unasked for, but there are some things you can do to encourage people to think about leaving a gift to their church.
St Giles Church, Farnborough
’Legacies have made a huge difference to St Giles. Church buildings are expensive to maintain and through legacies we have been able to undertake essential repairs whilst also purchasing specific items such as Bells, Altar frontals, prayer books and soft furnishings, given in memory of specific people. A legacy of £30,000 allowed us to rewire the whole church. We couldn’t have done it without this generous gift from someone in our congregation. Remembering your parish church in your will can ensure that not only will the worshipping community of the future have help and support, but an important part of our Nation’s heritage will be preserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations.’
People leave a gift in the church in their will….
• To make a difference
• To give back to God
• To help others
• Because they trust you
• To reduce inheritance tax
Sometimes they choose not to, because…
• They haven’t made a will
• They believe the Church of England is rich
• Don’t think the church will spend the money wisely
• Think there is nothing to leave
• Think a small legacy is not OK
• Would prefer to leave money to the cats’ home
A PCC Policy
The PCC should discuss and agree a policy on how they will manage any legacies which come their way. That will give people considering a legacy some confidence that you will look after their money wisely. Ideally, there will be as few restrictions as possible.
Put up a poster and leave some leaflets at the back of the church for people to pick up, to make them aware that you welcome legacies, and to give them something to think about.
If you have a parish magazine have a regular paragraph about legacies, and if you receive a bequest write an article about the gift, the giver and how you will use the money for the benefit of your church.
For free leaflets and other materials for encouraging people in your church to leave a legacy click here: Legacy Giving - Other CofE Initiatives - CofE Print Shop (cpo.org.uk)
Put information about legacies on your website, A Church Near You Page and social media.
Point people in the direction of the National Church Legacy web pages: www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/church-legacy
Encourage people to write a will. Why?
• You choose what happens to your estate
• You can take care of the children
• You can provide for unmarried partners, stepchildren and others who won’t automatically inherit
• You can reduce the amount of inheritance tax your estate will have to pay
You can write a will for free!
The Church of England has partnered with an online will writing service called Farewill. As part of this arrangement, you can write your will for free, though if your will is likely to be complicated you will need to see a solicitor. To get started click here: www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/lasting-gift-your-church/writing-your-will/free-wills
Tell everyone about it!
If you have been blessed with a legacy, it’s OK to celebrate it. People in your church family will be glad that you have received some much-needed cash. It’s good practice to tell people what you have done with the legacy, or what you plan to do with it, so everyone can see that it has made a huge difference. It also keeps alive the memory of someone in the congregation for whom your church family was important enough to leave a gift in their will. It may even encourage others to follow suit.
More resources from the Church of England
To find out how to run a legacy campaign click here
To find out how to run a legacy event click here
The Church of England’s website, where you will find all this information and more can be found at www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/church-legacy
Generous Giving Adviser