The priest who gave his flock £1,600

From the Guardian: The priest who gave his flock £1,600.

When your church roof needs to be repaired, doling out envelopes full of cash is not the most obvious way to get it fixed. But Father Stuart Lee stunned his congregation at St Matthew’s church in Raynes Park, south-west London, on Sunday when he handed them sealed envelopes with £20 inside.

After giving away £1,600, Fr Stuart revealed that he was emboldened by the fictional example of The Archers, where the vicar recently distributed £5 notes to encourage parishioners to raise money for a stained glass window.

In a similarly counterintuitive vein, Fr Stuart hopes that his flock of 80 – which, on Sunday, included several lucky first-timers in the congregation – will go forth and multiply the money by Pentecost, the 50th day after Easter Sunday. The Roman Catholic priest trusts that they will invest the money in fundraising events and coffee mornings that will turn every £20 into £100 towards repairing the church roof.

"I’m a great Archers fan," he says, before hurriedly adding that there is a biblical basis for his stunt. The Gospel according to Matthew records Jesus telling the parable of the talents, where a rich man left a hefty sum of talents (the currency of the time) with three servants. Two put the money to work and, when the boss returned, proudly showed that they had doubled its value. But one hapless servant stashed his in the ground and was told that he would be thrown "into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". [continue]

(N.B.: The St Matthew’s church featured in the article is not Roman Catholic; it’s an Anglican church which includes Anglo-Catholic practices.)