The Gaisford Memorial Book

Your Church Needs Your Financial Help!

Holy Mass was first celebrated in our church on the 29th May 1864. The cost of the land and the newly built church were paid for mainly by The Gaisford Family….Thomas Gaisford and his Wife as founders are interred here and there is a brass plaque on the wall as a lasting memorial to them. They were also very generous when extensions to the church were built in later years. After 155 years or more the weather in Worthing has caused some deterioration to the external fabric of the church, the roof covering, brick walls, stonework, windows, gutters and rainwater  pipes and the time has come to effect repair.

Just over a year ago we engaged an Architect to manage a comprehensive repair project and following tender procedures to five different contractors, we learnt what the cost of repair might
be, to put just the external elements of our church and centre into a fit state of repair. The lowest tender figure received to do only the necessary work to roofs, rainwater goods and windows was in excess of £300,000. We are reviewing the tender specification and hope to get to a figure of around £250,000. We do not have that sum in our bank account but the Diocesan FC may give permission to go ahead with the work and authorise a loan. That would be on the basis that we would be utilising funds held at the Diocesan bank, belonging to other more well off parishes in the Diocese and the loan is interest free. But your Finance Committee have to demonstrate how that debt might be repaid over a number of years, at say £25,000 each year… that would take 10 years. Well it can be done with your help and so I am appealing to you on behalf of Fr Terry and your Finance Committee to consider what you might be able to do to help raise sufficient funds to get our project underway.

Our church and centre are Grade II Listed buildings, so we have a statutory obligation to maintain them but because of that, we can claim back any VAT on the cost of repairs…which is very helpful. We need to boost our roof fund, which stands at around £30,000, to around £80,000 at least. Our initial target is to raise £50,000. It might be that you would like to make a personal donation to the cause. It is the case that gifts and bequests from individuals, over the years, have kept us out of the red as a parish. We should all acknowledge that and be very grateful for the generosity of those parishioners past and present, like Thomas Gaisford, It might be that you would prefer to raise funds by way of sponsorship, by entering the Worthing marathon, or over a period of time, as a group within our parish community……this project and the ongoing debt we must repay are the concern of each and everyone of us and will be for some time to come.

Please consider carefully how you might help financially and next week, when you come to Mass, please make a special donation to get our project off the ground. In view of what is before us, it is appropriate that some form of record is kept, to acknowledge your kind efforts and generosity in defraying these huge costs. So, when you next visit our parish website, you will see “The Gaisford Memorial” book. We intend keeping it as a digital record of donations received, however big or small, and whether you prefer that your contribution should be made  anonymously, or on behalf of your family or your community group…it is a matter for you. The Memorial Book can be updated periodically and in fact the first entry has already been made anonymously for you to see; so please read it. Please come next week with your special donations for our project in envelopes marked “church roof fund’ and include a note if you would like an entry made in our new digital memorial book.

If you are a member of the parish Gift Aid scheme, please use one of your spare envelopes. If you are not a member of the scheme and you pay tax, please use one of the yellow envelopes available in the church entrance. Lastly, you should also consider setting up a monthly standing order to support your church and I suggest this to you because all churches are experiencing a serious problem; not entirely new. Parishioners come to church with no money in their pockets, because they use debit cards or mobile phones to buy even small items from shops; we are a cashless society. Well, your church cannot survive on the loose change that you might be carrying in your pocket or handbag; many churches in this country, including Catholic churches, are closing for lack of financial support. So please make a new commitment to support your church financially.