The information on this page is available as a pdf below. A gift aid form is also available and a standing order mandate (which contains all the details you need to set up a standing order on telephone, smartphone app or internet banking is available below too.
If as a visitor to the area, you were to stumble unexpectedly upon St Paul’s Irton, you might be forgiven for wondering what such a building was doing here. There are no villages or hamlets in the parish. Pausing to take in the view from the church reveals only isolated farms and houses.
St Paul’s is a beautiful building in a stunning location. It is large, with a well-endowed churchyard, a peal of eight bells, gorgeous pre-Raphaelite stain glass saints and a very respectable organ. It is a building to be proud of but personally what gives me the most satisfaction about Irton Church is the people. The building creates the space for people to gather but the welcome comes from the team of volunteers who make things happen.
The sociable nature of this scattered community needs a focus and the annual programme of services, concerts and exhibitions has contributed that for many years. Along with Santon Bridge Village Hall, the church provides the only public space in the parish. It is the venue for family celebrations as well as times of personal and national memorial.
Maintaining such a community resource is both time consuming and expensive but the more people get involved the easier it becomes for everyone. We are seeking your practical support for the community life of this parish. We need help with maintaining and cleaning the church and we need your financial support to help pay for the service the Church provides.
I hope you find this leaflet informative and helpful as it explains where our finances come from and how we spend them. If you have questions for the Wardens, or myself please be in touch, we would be happy to talk with you. I would ask that you consider your response prayerfully as I can assure you that all offers of support will be received with gratitude.
It is the hope of the PCC that we can all continue to enjoy St Paul’s as a venue for worship, reflection, and celebration for many generations to come. Those who have gone before us have left us an amazing legacy. Now it is our turn to decide what we will pass on to our children and grandchildren.
Rev’d Canon Gill Hart
We are so very lucky living in this beautiful area, being part of this Community with its fellowship & neighbourliness. The present pandemic has proved to us what an amazing area we live in and how we are able to support each other.
St Paul’s Church, with its ancient cross, is a wonderful Grade II* listed building at the very centre of this Community of Irton and has been so for centuries. It has been hard not to be free to visit it and to enjoy each other’s friendship at our regular services and events.
This Community has worked so very hard over the past 150+ years to support our heritage and enable it to move forwards. This has been especially hard in the recent months but the church stands as proud as it ever has. It has been inspiring to see how many people have contributed towards this centre during these strange times.
Now the Parochial Church Council (PCC) is working towards creating a plan for how to move into the future and how to maintain the local ministry and building so that the church can continue to meet the needs of all the souls in the parish and can in its unique way be a rich blessing to our Community.
We have been commissioning reports on various aspects of the building and its contents so that we understand what maintenance and remedial works need doing in the immediate, short and medium terms to keep this important site in good condition to serve well the needs of our cherished, local Community.
We all know how special the stained-glass windows and hangings are and what an amazing organ we have (recognised by a grade II listing.) We are now aware what work needs doing to keep the windows safe and maintain the organ in tiptop condition. We are getting more advice on up-to-date conservation thinking on our ancient cross.
Some of you will have seen a drone flying over St Paul’s recently, taking a stunning set of photos of the building in its glorious setting. This has given us a wonderful record of the roof and tower, parts of the building we could never otherwise have inspected without costly scaffolding. Our huge thanks to the team from the LLWR at Drigg who provided and flew the drone as part of what they give back to their local Community.
The future of St Paul’s is dependent upon support from our Community. Money is seriously needed to enable us to pay for the maintenance and running of the site. Grass cutting, heating oil and boiler servicing, water and electricity supplies, electrical safety reports and remedial work, cleaning, insurances, servicing of the electronic hymnal, repair of the lightening conductor system… These are a few of the costs we have had this year. And we have just got the quotation for replacing the rainwater goods, an essential piece of maintenance to keep the building waterproof.
Also, we need practical help to move forwards. The future of St Paul’s depends on our Community. Local people are this future, people to run the business of St Paul’s. For a number of years this work has been undertaken by a few people with great help from the wider community. More people are needed. The future is in the hands of the parishioners, particularly the younger ones and we hope that you will want to come forwards to help.
Thank you for engaging with St Paul’s Stewardship 2020.
The Parochial Church Council of St. Paul’s Church, Irton
Our income comes mainly from giving by our congregation and other parishioners, the gift-aid we claim back, fees and fundraising. We do not receive any money from the Diocese, though they do subsidise the cost of our ministry. The vast majority of the money we spend is for local ministry. None is given to the Diocese except to part-pay for local ministry; we do not pay for Diocese costs or for the Bishops etc. Maintenance of the building and grounds and insurance account for most of the rest of our spending.
This year’s estimate is that we will spend £6,000 more than our income. This is possible as we have unrestricted reserves of £14,000. But these reserves will only last two years at our current level of spending and income, and even at the present level of spending we do not pay our full share of the cost of ministry.
Running the church is expensive. For example, giving of £10 a month could pay for our annual boiler service and safety check, £20 a month could pay for half of our heating oil each year, £30 a month could pay half of the recent bill for repairing our lightening protection system, £40 a month gets close to paying for this year’s electrical safety report and remedial work or could pay for just half the cost of grass cutting. At £50 per month it would take four people to pay our insurance premiums.
Ministry is expensive too. The Diocese calculate the cost of a stipendiary minister is £64,000 per year (this includes average recruitment, training, pension and housing costs) so even £100 a month cannot quite pay for the true cost of a week of ministry.
But every little helps and together we can make a big difference. You can help by promising to pay a certain amount each month, called covenanting. At the moment 27 people do this and give on average £20 a month. Some give less and some more, depending on what they can afford. And if you pay tax and can gift aid your giving, we can claim an extra quarter of what you give us from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Last year we were able to claim about £3,000.
You can give monthly by setting up a standing order (a form is enclosed) or by increasing your existing monthly amount if you can afford to give more. Please remember to increase your giving each year in line with inflation. Or you can visit our regular giving page and set up a monthly direct debit. You can find our giving page for regular giving at https://bit.ly/IrtonStPaul2 or by using the QR code to the right:
The above links or these QR codes will take you to a secure site set up by the Carlisle Diocese where you can make your donation online safely.
If you don’t gift-aid already perhaps you would consider it (form enclosed) or perhaps you would be kind enough to remember us in your will (more information available.)
The Treasurer to the Parochial Church Council of St. Paul’s Church, Irton
Many of you will know that our Rector, Gill Hart, will be retiring in February 2021. At the moment it is not known whether the Diocese can afford to retain her post. We understand that decision will not be made until Easter. In the meantime, ministerial oversight will be provided by The Rev’d Philip Dorling, who will be our new Mission Community Leader. Philip, and his family will be based in Gosforth, and he will lead a team of retired and lay ministers who will continue to provide worship opportunities in the parish.
For the PCC to be able to commit to meeting the cost of maintaining our Church building and providing ministerial oversight including the provision of the family celebrations of Baptism, Weddings and Funerals we urgently need more people to give of their time and talents to practically support the church. And we need more people in the parish to commit to giving financially on a regular basis because without this within two years Irton Church will be struggling to provide the service it presently does.
We are sure that you share with us an appreciation of the value of an active local church. Over the years, both lay people from the parish and ordained ministers have served this community, providing worship opportunities and pastoral support in both good times and bad. This will continue, provided we play our part and give generously, both with our time and with our financial gifts.
St Paul’s is for the future & for our children & the future generations of our community
Many thanks for engaging with our stewardship renewal and especially in anticipation of your generous support, either through your time and talents or by your giving, or both. Together we can make a difference, set St Paul’s, Irton on an even keel and secure its place at the heart of our rural community.
The Parochial Church Council of St. Paul’s Church, Irton