The Church of England has lost an estimated 8 billion pounds in its rush to sell its historic parsonages since the Second World War as the value of the said properties have already increased, said a member of the campaign group Save Our Parsonages.
According to Save Our Parsonages, the sale of around 8,000 vicarages caused the Church of England to lose billions because the value of those properties would have already increased by now. The campaign group also raised the issue that young ministers nowadays are less interested in staying in parsonages, which places the properties under the threat of being sold, The Telegraph relayed.
As an example, Save Our Parsonages pointed to the case of the East Coker vicarage which came under the threat of being sold 20 years ago. Local parochial church council member Amelia Bennett, 72, said the plan to lease the building never pushed through, and the parish has since used the property for community and fundraising events.
Save Our Parsonages director Anthony Jennings said the parsonages of the Church of England would now be worth 8 billion pounds, under the assumption that each of the 8,000 properties sold would be worth around 1 million pounds. The campaign group is supporting parishes which are trying to save their local church buildings from being sold.
In light of the issue, a representative from the Church of England emphasized that serving the community is the priority of the Church. However, there are times that the dioceses and parish must "decide to replace clergy housing to its end."
While Save Our Parsonages says the Church of England may have lost billions in the rushed sale of properties, the Church Commissioners for England announced that the Church made a stunning 17.1 percent return on its investments last year. Over the last 10 years, its fund performance has also slightly overtaken that of the Yale Endowment Fund, The Guardian reported in May.
According to the Church Commissioners, the investment return was partly aided by the depreciation of the sterling after the Brexit vote. The body added that the figures mean that it had contributed 230.7 million pounds to the Church of England's mission.