Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Pasty firm sponsors Devon church

St Eustachius
Sponsors get free advertising in the parish magazine

A Devon church has set up a sponsorship scheme to raise extra money.

Twelve companies including a wine merchants, funeral directors, a hotel and a pasty shop are sponsoring St Eustachius Church in Tavistock.

In return sponsors get a number of benefits including free advertising in the parish magazine.

The move comes amid calls by the Diocese of Exeter for parish churches to contribute more money after a downturn in funding.

The Reverend Michael Brierley of St Eustachius said: "Like all churches we have a friends scheme in which people take out membership and pay a subscription.

If the downturn continues it could undermine the effectiveness of the church
The Right Reverend Michael Langrish

"Now we have opened it out to businesses and services to support us as sponsors."

Twelve sponsors, including The Original Pasty House in Tavistock have signed up since the scheme started a week ago.

Nigel Eadie of the Original Pasty House said: "Difficult times call for different measures.

"The church is a focal point for the town and does an awful lot for the people of the area.

"We really felt it was important to contribute."

Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Michael Langrish, has called on parishes to increase donations following an "unprecedented" shortfall in contributions from parishes.

He warned that the dip over the last three months could lead to a 700,000 shortfall by the end of the financial year.

He said: "This is significant. It could be a response to the economic downturn or church treasurers being ultra-cautious.

"But if the downturn continues it could undermine the effectiveness of the church and its ambitions for growth."



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