Stewardship News

Stewardship Case Study: Legacy giving at St Herbert’s, Carlisle.

The Rev Alun Jones has been vicar at St Herbert’s, Carlisle, for over 14 years. Like many parishes in Cumbria, St Herbert’s parish is a challenging context to minister in, falling within the most deprived 10% of parishes in England.

"One of the most interesting aspects of St Herbert’s stewardship over the last year has come through legacy giving. Stewardship is always challenging for every church, especially those in a challenging context with high deprivation and high crime. Paying the parish offer is our joy and privilege as part of the Christian church, but it is still challenging. Yet over the last year we have received through legacy giving some £18,000. One individual left £15,000 and another £2,000 and another £1,000. With these legacies we bought an iPad air and installed Bluetooth connections to our sound system, enabling us to play the music for our services through the iPad and sound system via the blue tooth unit, no need to pay £2000 every year for an organist anymore! This sound system also supports our film club, which attracts over 100 parents and children from the local estate each month. We have also bought new hymn books, and, are prayerfully seeking God on how to use the the remainder of this resource in the mission and ministry of St Herbert’s.

I found that talking to people plainly and openly about the difference gifts in Wills can make, did not come across as a taboo subject, but rather they were glad to be able to hear about how they could help after they had gone. It gave them a sense of ‘value to the church’, a sense of contributing to the church after passing in a financial way that they couldn’t afford whilst alive. Many people are simply not aware of the value to a church of leaving a legacy gift and ‘didn’t think of it’, and say ‘what a good idea’. It gave them a feeling of satisfaction whilst they were alive and added to their feeling of being a disciple.

So many people pass on without family nowadays that many leave their homes or belongings to other charities such as dog’s homes, a worthy cause of course, but not even thinking they could leave a legacy to their local church. Perhaps thinking, as many do, that the church is a rich organisation run from London, and not knowing that the mission of each diocese is curtailed and reduced through a lack of giving.

I would not hesitate to bring up the subject of leaving a legacy to parishioners and have included a note of the value of legacy giving in our annual giving review letter sent. People are actually quite relieved to talk to someone about how to organise their affairs in the event of their passing, it is not a taboo subject when handled with sensitivity and love."

Legacy giving can be a sensitive subject. If you would like any leaflets or booklets to help promote the joy of legacy giving in a positive and sensitive way, please contact Stewardship Enabler Sophie Hodge on 01768 807777, or email