Minister’s outlook sunny in Kirk’s Jersey parish

Jersey is the sunniest place in the UK. Picture: complimentary
Jersey is the sunniest place in the UK. Picture: complimentary
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A DREAM job has come up for a Church of Scotland minister who wants to beat the Kirk’s pay freeze.

For not only will the new minister of St Columba’s at St Helier on Jersey enjoy the UK’s sunniest place, the job also comes with an even brighter income tax rate of 20 per cent and no VAT.

The low tax and other benefits have been highlighted in the advert for the post.

The job is being offered against an overall background of a difficult financial climate for the Kirk, which means ministers in the Church of Scotland – who earn about £30,000-a-year – are unlikely to see a pay increase in 2014.

But the new minister of St Columba’s is likely to have more cash in their pocket – as well as enjoying lower purchase tax rates, and an attractive modern manse.

The job has become available due to the retirement of the current minister.

The advert describes the church as having a “small, friendly, welcoming and diverse congregation whose generosity in giving makes us self-supporting and shows our commitment to the wider work of the church”.

“We are seeking a minister who will lead by example and inspire by preaching and teaching which is both challenging and relevant to today: someone who will encourage, capture and co-ordinate the gifts of our congregation,” it states.

St Columba’s is the most southerly charge of the Church of Scotland in the British Isles, with the next nearest congregation on the neighbouring island of Guernsey, 28 miles to the north.

The church has 123 members and about 70 regular worshippers, drawn substantially from the Scottish community on the island.

“Although the roll is predominantly from a Scottish background, we also have a number of Jersey, Irish, English and other European members,” the job ad states. “The congregation is drawn from all sectors of society.”

The job offers an additional allowance for being based on an “outer island”, and makes clear the successful applicant will benefit from a 20 per cent tax rate.

Much is also made of the Channel island’s climate, with the ad describing Jersey as “the sunniest place in the British Isles” averaging 1,882 hours a year, with average daily temperatures ranging from 6C in the winter to 19C in July and August, although it can reach 30C.

The average annual rainfall is 860 millimetres with January being the wettest month. The average sea temperature in August is 17C.

“Officially there is no VAT in Jersey, although GST (goods and services tax) is charged at 5 per cent,” the ad states.

“Petrol and diesel are approximately the same as UK. There is no annual road tax (this is included in the fuel price).”

For those seeking a post even further afield, Knox Church in Dunedin, New Zealand, is also up for grabs.

The previous Moderator of the General Assembly, the Very Reverend Albert Bogle, suggested in his retiring address last month that the Church of Scotland needed to set up a bursary support scheme to encourage people to come forward for ministry. At present, only 113 out of 845 parish ministers – or 13 per cent – were born after 1967. Just three out of the 845 ministers are below the age of 30.