PCI finances are healthy despite Covid pandemic

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is in a relatively good financial position, despite the difficulties and unprecedented challenges of the Covid pandemic of the past 18 months.

By Billy Kennedy
Saturday, 6th November 2021, 8:50 am
Updated Saturday, 6th November 2021, 10:06 am
Billy  Kennedy
Billy Kennedy

Church ministers and elders have been told that the church ended 2020 in a much better position than was feared in the negative climate of the pandemic with a lockdown of churches for a considerable period.

“Overall, there was a surplus of income over expenditure in 2020 similar to the previous year,” David Thomson, convenor of the Presbyterian Church support services committee reported.

Mr Thomson confirmed that the total funds of the church had increased to £77.8m.

Total income fell by about £1m from £29.3m in 2019 to £28.2m in 2020. This, he said, had decreases in a number of areas, including the use of Assembly Buildings in Belfast as a conference facility.

Although income fell, expenditure also decreased from £27m to £25.8m due to the general scaling back of some activities and the use of furlough payments with the Presbyterian Church in Ireland receiving £740,000 from the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has 550 congregations, with about 100 of them located in the Irish Republic.

On another financial front, 93.4 per cent of the Presbyterian Church’s United Appeal target for 2020 was met. A total of £3,057,174 was received from the congregations against a target of £3,600,000. The deficit was further reduced by late congregational payments into 2021 of £305,849. The targeted United Appeal money is levied proportionally on each congregation.

Individual Presbyterian congregations administer their own accounts, raising the stipend (salary) and expenses for their minister.

The Presbyterian United Appeal finance is used to underwrite foreign and home missions with 27 mission workers in 20 countries. It also supports congregational outreach projects, the work of deaconesses in the church, youth activities, and the role of the 28 Irish Presbyterian chaplains in the armed services, hospitals, universities and prisons.