Geralmente é o fiel que doa à igreja. Mas o reverendo Paul Peverell resolveu fazer o inverso: distribuiu 1.500 libras (4.900 reais) às pessoas que estavam na sua igreja, em Great Ayton (Inglaterra), durante o culto dominical de celebração chamado Festa da Colheita.

O religioso anglicano acredita que as notas de dez libras serão usadas pelos fiéis em ações que beneficiem os mais necessitados. Assim, pensa Peverell, estará disseminando a boa vontade entre os paroquianos.

The Reverend Paul Peverell’s flock happily contribute to collections during Sunday services.

Rev Pev, as he is affectionately known by his congregation, handed a £10 note from the church coffers to each parishioner who attended his Harvest Festival services.

His idea could be said to have biblical origins. Some likened it to the Parable of the Talents, in which a man shares out his wealth among three servants in a test of how well they can use it in the service of God. Rev Peverell, vicar of  Christ Church in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, said: ‘It might be that they use that £10 to buy ingredients to bake, then drop their efforts off where they would be appreciated.

‘Or they might take someone who is lonely for a coffee or to the cinema. I have given them lots of ideas.’ He expected to give out £1,500 in total but was keeping some money in reserve in case turn-out exceeded expectations. He said: ‘We have had a very positive reaction from the congregation. No strangers turned up. I think they thought they would have stood out like a sore thumb.

A few people have refused to take the money but said they will instead use their own to take part. It  seems the wrong way round, as usually members of the congregation give to the church.’

The vicar said he felt the initiative might help sustain the feelgood factor left over by the Olympics and Jubilee celebrations.  He said the church often gave money to big charities but this was a way of  helping the immediate community. Rev Peverell said that he had faith that most of the money would be passed on.

He added: ‘There’s obviously a chance someone won’t  pass it on. But for the ones that do, it will be worth it.’