Parish Returns of Finance and Mission – everything you need to know?
Why they matter
Every year your church is asked to complete two returns about membership, attendance and church finances. It is not uncommon for me to hear Churchwardens or treasurers say, ‘We send all this information, but what benefit do we receive?’ Here’s how completing the Returns for Mission and Finance benefits every level of the life of the Church – local, deanery, diocese and national.
The diocesan and national perspective
The mission and finance statistics paint a picture of our common life across the country and helps identify trends and spot mission opportunities. They make it possible to plan in terms of clergy deployment. The financial figures indicate the Church’s finances at the grassroots. One practical example is where this information has helped us lobby the Government, but this is only possible if we have an accurate picture of the pressures at the local level.
As a Diocese, the returns from parishes are vital for planning for our shared mission and ministry and robust data is essential if our Bishop’s Council and deaneries are to make good decisions about how the Church uses its resources.
And the local perspective – what’s in it for us?
Have you seen your Benefice or Parish Dashboard? Every year, the national team take your data and produce these dashboards for mission and finance which are there to help you answer important questions about your parish or benefice: who lives here, who comes to church and who are we missing or not meeting? The Dashboard gives an important snapshot and so can inform your mission and outreach opportunities. This enables church growth.
How to submit your Parish Return?
Wherever possible, please complete your return online using the National Church’s Online Parish Returns System.
Where do I go for help if I’m stuck?
Please don’t give up! If you’re completely new to this, need login assistance or have general queries please contact the Diocesan Parish Returns Team either by email or call 01865 208200.
When is the information required?
Statistics for Mission Return
- 2021 – The 2021 Statistics for Mission Return online form is not yet open for submissions. Please note the deadline for submitting your completed mission return will be 31 January 2022. We appreciate that for some of our smaller churches, it is easier to complete and submit a paper form. Paper copies should be returned to the diocese, marked FAO the Department for Mission and Ministry, to our Church House Oxford address in Kidlington. Alternatively electronic copies can be sent to us via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parish Finance Return
- 2020 – The deadline to submit your 2020 Parish Finance Return via the online parish returns system has now passed. You may still submit your data by completing the 2020 Parish Finance Return form and emailing it directly to email@example.com.
- 2021 – The deadline for submitting your 2021 Parish Finance Return is still to be confirmed, but is likely to be before end of June 2022.
Need help with your parish returns?
For login assistance or general queries please contact the Diocesan Parish Returns Team either by email or via phone using the main switchboard number: 01865 208200. If you encounter technical issues with the website you can also contact the National Church’s Statistics Unit via email and they will be able to assist with these problems.
You can download the User Guide which explains how to use the Online Parish Returns system. You may also find it helpful to complete either a PDF or Excel version of the Returns form before you enter the information online. These forms are below and each form includes helpful notes which outline exactly what data is required.
- User Guide (for the Church of England Online Parish Return System)
- 2021 Statistics for Mission (doc)
- 2021 Statistics for Mission (pdf)
- Frequently Asked Questions (General)
- Frequently Asked Questions (Finance)
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