Leeds Vineyard


On 8 June 2014 I presented a summary of the church's income and spending over the last year and commented upon our financial performance. Over the month of June we are also hearing from several regular givers to the church answering the question, "Why do they give?" and "Why do they give to Leeds Vineyard?".

We publish our annual accounts and they are listed on the Charity Commission website too (our charity number is 1071353). Bear in mind that The Wharfedale Vineyard is the umbrella charity under which Leeds, Harrogate and Sheffield Vineyards are operating.

This article is reflecting on the finances of Leeds Vineyard, not the other two churches.

The previous year (2012-2013) was a real challenge for Leeds Vineyard. We ended the year better than we feared but still some £15,000 adrift. In other words we had spent more than we had received in gifts. In doing so we used up all of our reserves and in fact Leeds was supported by Harrogate and Sheffield. There were a number of factors that resulted in the deficit: losing the giving that went to Harrogate and Sheffield (when we joyfully planted them out as independent churches), some additional and largely unavoidable staff costs and an expanding pastoral demand at a time when income was only just staying intact. The economic environment really made an impact.
However, last year (2013-2014) has seen an improvement. We haven't made any inroads into rebuilding our reserves or rebalancing the Harrogate and Sheffield balances but we have negotiated some tricky issues, particularly the move of our Sunday venue from Ralph Thoresby to Headingley Methodist Church. We ended the year with a surplus of £1,503 on a total income of £247,737. I feel a great deal of relief at this. In order to get to this result we have had to cut back our spending quite aggressively - but as part of the "consecration" process many of us have been going through this feels entirely appropriate.

For the next year (2014-2015) the trustees have agreed a budget to get us back on track. This means continuing austerity being the order of the day with a focus on re-balancing our accounts with Harrogate and Sheffield and rebuilding a predisposition toward generosity.

Our main outlay is, of course, salaries for the people who are paid to work for us. This is kept tightly on target (we have given no Cost of Living pay rises for 4 years now). We aim to spend 50% of our budget on salaries because the bulk of what the church does involves people, obviously! The next major component is the Vineyard Centre on which we spend about 17% of our income (including the mortgage). That makes sense because it is the base for most of our activities. The third significant item is weekly worship which accounts for about 10% of our spending.

Thanks to giving by people of Leeds Vineyard we maintain an active, popular and effective ministry for all ages on Sundays at weekly worship, we also provide a wide range of small groups in which young people and adults find friendship and pastoral care. We are training and releasing people to serve in areas of passion and gifting. We are making a difference for the kingdom in our community through the Debt Advice Centre, the Child Contact Centre, On The Streets, various missions and many other acts of kindness and servant evangelism projects. We regularly celebrate baptisms in the river Wharfe. We continually support church planting across the UK (and of course were able to plant out two churches a couple of years ago).

I am confident that Leeds Vineyard is working towards the given vision upon which it was founded:

We believe God has called us to establish a growing, regional, biblically based community of faith in Leeds. We will worship God, communicate His love and mercy to all people and commit to living out our faith in Jesus in a creative and contemporary way, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that there is good news for this generation in the Kingdom of God and we long to share that news, particularly in Leeds and the North.
We aim to make, train and equip followers of Jesus to be effective in the extending of God's Kingdom, to develop leaders, to plant new churches, to contribute to the blessing of the whole church and to minister with the poor in practical ways.

If you have not started giving I would invite you to consider doing so (ask us for more information about why and what we do with the money). If you are already a give, THANK YOU, and don’t forget to review things from time to time. Check out with the Lord what He wants you to give and make the necessary arrangements.

You can find out more by searching for give or giving on the website or by calling the office – or picking up the information at weekly worship.

P.S. We are keeping the Wharfedale Vineyard Charity in place. Leeds Vineyard (and, for a while at least, Sheffield and Harrogate) will operate within the Wharfedale charitable and financial structure. If you give to Wharfedale Vineyard the money will still end up in the right place. New gifts can be made to Leeds or Harrogate or Sheffield Vineyards.