The Anglican Church in Palma has fallen on hard financial times. The current church building of the Parish of St Philip and St James, which was designed by the architect Sr. Carlos Sobron, was built 50 years ago this year and today the Reverend David Waller, who has been the Anglican Chaplain in Palma since 2012, admitted that the church is facing a financial battle. Action is being taken but the church needs the support of the local parish and the community at large.
Before the church was built, the Anglican services were conducted in an old soda water factory in El Terreno, so over the past 50 years the parish has come a long way, but Reverend Waller wants to ensure that the church enjoys at least another 50 years.
“I guess that the church’s financial problems began in 2008 when the recession struck. Since then the church has been spending more that it has received. Only by small amounts each year but that has all mounted up and obviously there are standing bills to pay like electricity and heating etc. They cannot be avoided. The recession also caused a number of wealthy parishioners to leave and, of course, the community has contracted to a certain extent in Majorca.
"One has to be aware of the fact that we, like all Anglican churches outside of the UK, receive no funding at all from the church, despite paying in every year to a central office in London which handles our legal affairs etc. In the UK, the churches pay in but then get back: we pay but get nothing in return. So, we’ve drawn up a long-term financial management plan and brought our budgeting etc. in to proper order.
"We’ve also set up a social committee which, under the guidance of Edward Ingram, is going to be organising monthly fundraisers, the first of which was Bring Me Sunshine, in a bid to raise more funds for the church. The second event is a comedy evening on 11 March. And we are looking at ways of increasing the number of wedding blessings. But we’ve also got to educate the community. We’re totally self-funding and people have to be made to appreciate that one’s got to pay for what one’ s got - as much as I would love to be able to, I can’t operate the church for free.
"I have to say that we’ve been having to juggle the funds for a while but the congregation has responded exceptionally well. Everyone has been very positive and very energetic and they have put a lot of work in organising fundraising events and other activities. And what we have found is that the increase in social events has had a side effect on the community: the congregation, which is already very strong, continues to grow which is very encouraging to see. So, I hope our plans for the future work so that the church will still be the heart of the community in another 50 years time.”
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