My Dear Friends

The Church of England is gradually introducing, diocese by diocese, a new way of organizing its regular voluntary income. It’s called the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS), and our Diocese, Oxford, adopted it last November.

Waltham St Lawrence Church has decided to become a PGS parish, so if you are a regular donor at the moment and/or on our Church Electoral Roll you should be hearing from one of our team in the next few weeks. Here are the answers to some FAQs...

What is the PGS? Essentially it’s a centralized system for receiving regular donations to the church, based on Direct Debits.

What are the advantages over Standing Orders and envelope giving? Two main ones:

  1. Because all the DDs are collected on the first banking day of the month, the church receives one consolidated credit 9 days later, detailing all the individual amounts.
  2. The system allows donors who wish to do so to have their amount automatically adjusted each year according to the official inflation rate (RPI). It’s so easy to forget to increase a Standing Order: a gift of £100 a month made 5 years ago now needs to be £117 to maintain its real value. Tick the relevant box on the PGS form and the problem of ‘static giving’ is solved.

How else is PGS better?

  1. PGS collects the Gift Aid continuously and sends it on to the parish once it’s received from HMRC. This improves the church’s cash flow.
  2. The more people switch their giving to PGS, the less cash handling and paperwork there will be for our Treasurer and Sidesmen and -Women. At the end of each calendar year and tax year, the PGS will provide a statement of the amount given by each donor, which will be very convenient if you need to fill in a tax return.

What if I’m a non-taxpayer and so can’t use Gift Aid? No problem: you can still give via PGS and just not sign the Gift Aid box.

How flexible is it? Donations can be monthly, quarterly or annually, and can be started, stopped, increased or decreased at any time with 10 days’ notice.

What about confidentiality? It’s just as confidential as the present system of Standing Orders and envelopes. You can even ask for your identity to be known only to the PGS (though we hope you won’t want to go that far!).

Do I have to join PGS if I want to support the church? No, Standing Orders and envelopes will continue, and for occasional and extra donations envelopes will still be the easiest. But we hope that the vast majority of our regular giving will now be via PGS, given its considerable advantages for the church and for its donors. We shall be celebrating the system ‘going live’ on 29 April, the day of our Annual Meetings.

Who pays for the service PGS provides? The PGS is a lean and efficient organization, and all its costs are met by the Diocese.

Where can I find out more? Our PGS Working Party is being led by Jeremy McEvett, who will be very happy to hear from you. Tel: 0118 934 9849 or 07782 325185. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

q By the time the next Lych Gate is published, Easter will be hard upon us, so now is my opportunity to invite you all to some or all of the church’s Easter events, listed on the Church Calendar page and on a separate Easter card inserted in this issue. On Maundy Thursday (29 March) the 8 pm Communion service will include The Washing of Feet for those who wish to take part. This ancient practice commemorates the actions of Jesus recorded in John’s Gospel about how at the Last Supper he washed his disciples’ feet, even though he was their master and this was a slave’s duty. It was an acted-out lesson in humility, love and service in which he bade us all imitate him.

Your sincere friend and Vicar