What Would You Do With £4,500,000,000?

That’s the value of the property portfolio of Church of England plc – the Church Commissioners.

I’m on an electoral roll… Am I a stakeholder? Can I pursuade the board to do certain things with the cash? I hate to ask, but WWJD?

Fine time to pay tribute to Tony Banks MP – a true Trickster voice in parliament – who quipped in ‘Church Questions’ in the House of Commons in 1996s, when it was revealed they’d lost hundreds of millions in poor investments:

“May I suggest that one way of maximising [Church Commissioner] income would be to build congregations? Perhaps the best idea would be to privatise the Church of England, to get in a regulator– OfGod, or something like that–and a few consultants, and then start marketing a Lord who is suitable to the 21st century.”

OfGod. Nice. Think they might have something to say about redistributing that 4.5 billion.


9 responses to “What Would You Do With £4,500,000,000?”

  1. Un/fortunately the stat may add up in one sense but not be real in another e.g. all those Cathedrals must be worth a mint, but they aren’t a realisable asset… and many of the ordinary churches are so tied up in English Heritage red tape that on paper they look like assets but are actually liabilities… lies, damn lies and statistics!

  2. That’s certainly a factor… But I’m more thinking of the huge amounts of commercial property they own too. Springing out of the ‘Who Owns Britain?’ programme on last night. As they explained, the reason they have it is to pay the pension funds etc. etc…. Which brings us back to the validity/sense of so many full time leaders.
    I think when Peter could say “Silver and Gold have I none…” there was an important element to his poverty in the power of his gift. Remove the poverty, perhaps you remove the power of the gift he could give.

  3. damnflandrz

    Ever see this Simpsons….
    Lisa: What are they doing to the church!?
    Woman: We’re rebranding it. We prefer a faith based emporium teeming with impulse buy items.
    Lisa: I feel like I want to throw up!
    Woman: Then my work is done

  4. OK… didn’t see that… but having ministered in three diocese, I can tell you that the CofE at this level is not rich, quite the opposite! Yes, we do need to look at how we do leadership… but lets not forget pensions are in crisis whatever you do for a living… and… the sacramental nature of ministry… being set apart for service… and that orcination is not about personal fulfilment but about the prophetic and stratgeic ordering of mission and ministry.

  5. Absolutely. I’m being facetious. It’s a strange reality that so many people ‘at the coal face’ are really short of resources, while other appear to be doing rather well, well away from the action. Just seems one of those situations where if you could start from scratch, you wouldn’t want to end up where we are now.
    That said, I still have a problem with the particular idea of being ‘set apart for ministry.’ I think that can be very unhelpful, and too easy to band around with not enough tough justification. Aren’t we all set apart? Are some jobs more holy than others? Just to clarify, I actually totally support the sort of role you have taken on. No problem with that at all. But there are many ‘ordained’ roles that I just don’t think cut the mustard.

  6. Fair comments… I understand and agree with your final points, and thanks for your support… I don’t think any role is more holy than others… and yes, ministry of all believers etc. but there are different roles… e.g. the apointment of Deacons, not as a lower ‘rank’ of ministry but as a ministry with a different focus. For me the stipended ministry is sacramental… i.e. an act of sacrifice, the set apart is not a “special” thing but a servant thing I guess.

  7. Again, I wish everyone I knew had that same attitude. But unfortunately they don’t.
    Funnily enough, I think it’s a sort of archetypal mistake – the exact same one the Israelites made when made a ‘nation of priests’. They loved the ‘set apart’ bit, but weren’t prepared to be servants… They closed ranks and thought they were special, when they should have welcomed everyone in.


    There is a lot to be said for the simplicity of poverty… not true poverty of course, as experienced by the mojority of the world, but the version us westerners like to winge about! No TV, car, curries… wealth is so appealing and distracting, and I suppose K’s original piece did kind of highlight how distracting collateral can be… it can generate a false sense of power, need… that kind of thing.
    Don’t get me wrong, my mates dad lives in a huge Deanery castle with a beautiful river meandering through their backgardens, absolutely loverlee… someone has to be called to the rich, I guess. But maybe the rich are a bit overexposed to NiceJesus, while the poor go without any shelter, healthcare or pension!!!!

  9. what would i do4 with 4,500,000,000? well give it to christ
    most folks would steel it
    4,500,000,000? it a very big cookie jar.
    life is money but we have to see past money and look at god.
    they say money is the root of all eveil.
    i say not.
    money can give life or save it.
    give all of your self and he will bless you
    10 percent he has given me a wounder ful life i had nothing now i still give.
    im blessed more.why i give more.
    trust is the key.so thats what i would do.
    i was poor now im rich with the lord and thou god.and i got little money but i live well and im happy why becuase i can give.
    i own my own company diamond recording studios im a master eng. its a 2 million dollar company. and its still growing big every day.
    now remeber i had nothing 13 years ago i was in the street cold and hungry with no place to go.
    the prayer of give was the key.
    im proof he does answer prayers.