Talking plainly about legacy giving

Talking plainly about legacy giving Feature Image

"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. 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 totalling £18,000; three legacies were left of £15,000, £2,000 and £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.

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.

Handled with Sensitivity and Love

I found talking to people plainly and openly about the difference legacies can make, did not come across as a taboo subject, but rather they were glad 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 a legacy offers, they ‘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 animal 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."

The Rev Alun Jones has been vicar at St Herbert’s, Carlisle, for over 14 years. 

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