613: CHURCH MAKES MORE MONEY THAN STARBUCKS OR McDONALDS

 

“A warm welcome to Zingcreed the only religious blog with more questions than answers – we support the seekers not the believers! This blog has to give way to my other outdoor blog in these warm summer months. When I look out of my window in the morning and I see the sun shining, I just want to go for a long walk in the country – warm sun, fresh air, exercise and bird-song – what could be better? And when I’m not doing that, it’s off to the allotment with my partner to weed my strawberries or shift a load of manure.
To get a glimpse of summer in London’s green belt, check out my photos at petersgreentubewalks.wordpress.com.

I rarely read the Daily Mail, although my grandpa in Bridgwater, Somerset, was a lifelong Daily Mail crossword fanatic, and I learned  how to break cryptic puzzles sitting at his knee: he also taught me to play billiards and how to care for cacti; but I came across a copy the other day and read the piece on Britain’s inquiry into historical child abuse and why the person in charge, a kiwi judge, had resigned. Towards the end of the article there was given an example of how much paper work the commission of inquiry had to wade through: the Archbishop of Canterbury had submitted 7000 documents, and the Benedictines of the London borough of Ealing had submitted 4000 documents! Precisely what that implies, I don’t know: but I suspect it might be years before these documents enter the public domain. If I’m still blogging when that happens I shall report on it.

Today’s post is also taken from the Daily Mail and it’s about how much dosh the Anglican church has in the UK. Read this in the context of all the other pieces I have written about the bible and poverty (see the index mentioned on the title page).

I hope you find this interesting,
In solidarity,

Peter Turner.”

Even though church attendance fell by 7.6% from 2004 to 2013, income rose over the same period by over 30%! It is one of the UK’s biggest corporate players.

So, how much has the C. of E. got?

£6.7 billion, which the Church Commissioners invest as follows:
£325 million in treasury bonds,
£48.5 million in Royal Dutch Shell,
£36.6 million in HSBC,
£31.2 million in BP,
£25.1 million in GlaxoSmithKline,
Hyde park estate in London,
Metrocentre Mall on Tyneside,
UK forests, it is the UK’s largest forest owner,
Queen Anne’s bounty, a fund set up in the 1700s to help the poor and now worth billions,
many historic landholdings.

What is its annual income, and where does it come from?

  • These investments listed above generate almost half the church’s income.
  • Operating and trading income is also a major source of revenue; that’s charges for renting church halls, wedding and funeral fees, cathedral entry charges and gift shop sales.
  • About half  the income comes from church members in 12000 parishes who donate an average of £13 a week, that’s £676 per person per annum (a cinema ticket to see ‘Jason Bourne’ cost me £8 this week). This is usually collected by tax-efficient donation schemes; the church is urging members to double their gifts.

How does this compare with other well known companies?

The Church of England’s  income is bigger than the turnover of McDonalds in Britain. £1.41 billion in 2013 beating McDonald’s earnings of £1.37 billion, and Starbucks’ of £400 million. By comparison Google made £3.38 million and Amazon made £4.3 billion. It is by far the biggest charity in the UK, earning 3 times more than Oxfam, but this doesn’t show up in lists of the largest voluntary organisations because it is splitinto many different charities.

Criticisms

  • As a charitable organisation, the C. of E., like all other religious organisations in the UK doesn’t have to pay any taxes.
  • Investing in fossil fuel producers like major oil companies doesn’t say much about their green credentials. At least they don’t appear to be investing in arms, alcohol or tobacco.
  • It’s hypocritical of Archbishop Justin “Oilwelby” to call for politicians to “halt the accumulation of power and wealth in the fewer and fewer hands, whether those of the state, corporations or individuals.”
  • Despite the church’s campaign for all workers to get the ‘living wage’ of £8.25 an hour, the church pays some of its own staff less.
  • The church has enjoyed “controversial tax breaks.”

Source: Daily Mail 13/11/15 p. 27

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One comment

  1. Neo-Pelagius · · Reply

    Aaaaah the C of E … the Achilles Heel of our oppressors?

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