This paper provides information about the work of the Essex Clergy Charity. It is addressed to all who have a particular concern for the welfare of our diocesan clergy here in the Diocese of Chelmsford.

It can be so hard to cope with personal difficulties when you live and work at the heart of a community. The Vicarage doorbell continues to ring even when the clergy have problems of their own. Family and friends may be a long way off, since many ordained ministers find themselves moving through a variety of parishes during the course of their working life.

Fortunately, help is close at hand: the Essex Clergy Charity offers an immediate response to the needs of hard-pressed clergy and their dependants. Our reach is very broad - the single as well as the married, the self-financing as well as those on the Church Commissionersí payroll, the inner city as well as the rural clergy of this vast Diocese of Chelmsford.


The Purpose of our Charity

Under the terms of its trust deed, the Essex Clergy Charity makes payments to "poor clergy" of the Diocese of Chelmsford, and their dependants. At the start of the school year there is a general round of grants to help with the cost of bringing up children, and a yearly award is made to the holiday assistance funds administered by the four Archdeacons. Retiring clergy receive a grant to assist with the cost of moving into a place of their own. Widows and widowers of Chelmsford clergy receive a grant at Christmas or Easter, and all clergy and their surviving dependants may be considered for immediate assistance (grants or loans) to help with exceptional expenditure occasioned by sickness or accident.


Extent of the Charity

We can help all who are beneficed or licensed within the Diocese of Chelmsford, whether stipendiary or non-stipendiary. Our support extends into retirement (where the last post held was in this Diocese) and after death continues to provide grants for surviving spouses and dependent children.

There are some needs that habitually fall outside the charity's normal range of grants, for example:-

1) expenditure that is the primary responsibility of other bodies such as Parochial Church Councils, the Church Commissioners or the Diocesan Board of Finance;

2) normal expenses incurred in moving from one appointment to another;

3) any increased cost of living associated with a change of appointment;

3) the cost of car repairs;

4) expenditure associated with continuing ministerial education;

5) costs otherwise recoverable through social security or insurance claims;

6) recurring costs (such as regular contributions towards long-term care expenses);

7) emergency/compassionate grants amounting to a sum totalling in excess of £1,000 per annum to any individual;

8) the cost of spiritual counselling (as opposed to medical counselling).


Government of the Charity

The Diocesan Bishop is our President, and the governing body includes nominees of the President and Area Bishops, plus co-options.

The Governors' task is to act as formal Trustees to the Charity, and to give general guidance and support to the officers who carry out the day-to-day duties. There are three Officers, all of whom undertake the work in a voluntary capacity: a Secretary, an Assistant Secretary and a Treasurer. We are currently looking to introduce a fourth officer to be known as our Development Officer.

The Governors meet on a quarterly basis, with an annual meeting to review the accounts. This is usually set in the context of an Annual Gathering where there is a warm welcome for all who have an interest in the Charity. An Annual Report is prepared for online publication and printed circulation.


Special Events

It is especially appreciated when parishes or groups of parishes are able to encourage particular fund-raising or awareness-raising events on behalf of the Charity. Examples of such events would be coffee mornings, luncheon parties, evening speakers or musical events with cheese and wine, quiz nights or other entertainment, or simply a plate for donations at clergy chapter or deanery synod.

Individual giving is especially to be encouraged: the Officers are able to advise on tax-effective giving either now or by future bequest, but much depends upon local 'champions' making the initial personal contact!

The inauguration of a new ministry is also a good opportunity to devote an offering to the Charity. In the absence of any other pressing need the Archdeacons commend that collections at inductions and other services of welcome should be directed towards the Essex Clergy Charity.

The Officers of the Charity are always glad to respond to invitations to address (or simply to attend) fund raising activities, or meetings of synods, church committees and other local gatherings where it is felt that such a presence would be of benefit to the Charity.


In conclusion - some brief historical notes

In the early part of the eighteenth century some proposals were put forward "for raising an annual contribution in the County of Essex towards the relief of the poor clergy of the said county, their widows and children". Among the chief advocates was the Revd John Maryon, Rector of White Roding, who gave the project his life-long interest and generous support.

As the work progressed, legal status became desirable, and the Charity formally came into being on 29 April 1747, incorporated under Royal Charter by Letters Patent. The records of the Charity are deposited at the Essex Record Office. Following the creation of the Diocese of Chelmsford in 1914, a new scheme was sealed by the Charity Commissioners and the Charity received the registered number 239238.



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