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COVID-19 Briefing 01/09

Preachers sometimes claim that Jesus spoke more on money and giving than anything else apart from the Kingdom of God. I have never checked it, but there is no doubt he talked about money a great deal. I sometimes wonder what would happen if we preached as much about money as Jesus did! Why did he speak about it so much? The fundamental answer is that our attitude to money, and what we do with it is a discipleship issue.   

As a vicar, people told me that money follows vision, but it worried me that when we only followed that way of thinking, we were neglecting the deeper ‘why’. As followers of Jesus, we give to God as an act of worship, and in so doing, we topple the idol of mammon and replace it with God Almighty, the King of Kings. When we do this, we become more like the people God has designed us to be. We become freer! As we teach, encourage and invite people to give, we are leading them into greener pastures and being faithful pastors.

I am excited about Transforming Generosity (and always get excited about gift days) for the opportunity it gives us. It isn’t about raising money or plugging black holes. Primarily, it is about discipleship and worship. It is about being grateful for what God has given us, becoming like him in generosity and sacrifice, and trusting him for our welfare. 

In my visits to African churches, I have always been humbled and amazed by the way they give. In every service, they dedicate ten or twenty minutes in the middle of the service for everyone to bring their gift forward with singing and dancing – no matter how poor they are, they find something to give, and they give it joyfully. It seems to me that they have discovered the joy of giving, and most of our church members and services are a fair way off from that. 

As I approached Gift Days at Christ Church, I always had to resist the thought that in inviting people to give, I was placing a burden on them, but rather, I was offering them an opportunity to experience the joy of giving and to grow in faith and worship. As we approach October and Transforming Generosity, I will need to remind myself of that again – might you also? (Note the webinar on encouraging generous giving under Tools, Training and Resources below)

Peter Harwood, Director of Mission

News for this brief

Critical Reading

Guidance changes: restarting youth and children’s groups

A number of churches are now considering restarting youth and children’s groups, and the National Church has produced some FAQs. Alternatively, you can read our summary of what you need to know as you consider to restart youth and children’s groups. We would like to draw your attention particularly to the question about toddler groups which are permitted, but come with strict expectations on social distancing etc which mean that we agree with national guidance and do not currently recommend that they are re-started at this time. Children’s groups and youth groups may re-start, subject to careful risk assessment and adapted ways of working. Many churches are choosing to keep larger groups online, with mid-week or smaller cells groups being the first groups to re-start at this time. Any questions should be sent to parishcoordination@cofeguildford.org.uk.

For your information 

Sunday Sermon

Next Sunday is Climate Sunday, and Bishop Andrew has chosen four readings for the day – Job 37:14-24, Psalm 41:1-3,13; Hebrews 10:19-25 and Luke 12:22-31, all of which contain the word ‘Consider’. How do we live ‘considerately’ in the face of the huge challenge of climate change?

The video of Bishop Andrew’s sermon also includes a 6-minute call to action from our Diocesan Environmental Group. 

Note also the international webinar on climate change from Duke Divinity School under Tools, Training and Resources below.

Advance information about 2021 Parish Share

At this time of year, in order to help PCCs with their budget planning for the following year, we usually provide provisional information about next year’s Parish Share. The impact of Covid-19 in 2020 has brought significant change and uncertainty in many areas, not least to parish and diocesan finances. We have been very grateful for the information provided through the two financial surveys undertaken over recent months, with the June survey providing helpful insight into the outlook for parishes beyond the current financial year. It is clear that many parishes face real financial challenge, but with such a high dependence on parish share (94% of DBF income), we need to consider carefully how this will feed through to DBF finances and the current outlook of a continuing deficit budget. Like many parishes we are of course working hard on how we can deliver savings in the DBF budget, but with most of our costs coming from clergy stipends and housing, the challenge is a shared one for us all. For this reason our financial planning is not straight forward this year and will be unlikely to firm up until later in the autumn.  

However, to assist you now with your own financial planning we wanted to provide you with some planning assumptions for 2021 Parish Share, based on the 2021 DBF budget discussions at the Audit & Finance Committee, Bishop’s Council and Diocesan Synod. These currently include:

  • 0% increase in direct & shared costs due to inflation
  • A freezing of the transition to the new Parish Share system for 12 months
  • No change in shared costs as a result of attendance figures

Currently, we are part way through the transition to the new Parish Share calculation method from the old arrangement.  For many parishes the final step of this transition was due to complete in 2021.  However, following the impact of Covid-19, our financial modelling for 2021 includes a working assumption that 2021 Parish Share for each parish will be unchanged (except where direct costs of ministry change) from the 2020 level. If a DBF budget based on these assumptions is adopted, it means there will be no increase for inflation, no change as a result of attendance figures, and the next step in the transition between Parish Share systems due in 2021 would be deferred for one year until 2022.  

Whilst final figures for next year’s Parish Share for each parish can only be confirmed once Diocesan Synod has approved the detail of the 2021 budget later in November, we hope these planning assumptions will help you to progress your own local planning and forecasting for 2021 in these uncertain times. As usual, the final details of 2021 Parish Share will be confirmed following the next meeting of Diocesan Synod in November.

Schools return

It has been an eventful summer for our school leaders who have been responding to the changes in the exams grading system and preparing their schools for full re-opening after lockdown in March.

This year, we have over 20 new headteachers starting in post in September, many of whom will be building relationships with staff, children and parents whom they have never met due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Please pray for all our Church school leaders and staff as they prepare to welcome back the 22,000 children who attend schools in our diocese in what will be a challenging start to the academic year.

Safeguarding Sunday

Put Sunday 11th October in your diary and help raise awareness of safeguarding in your church or organisation.

Safeguarding Sunday is an initiative from 31:8 (formerly CCPAS) an independent Christian safeguarding organisation, motivated by the vision of world where all, child and adult are and feel safe. It is when the whole church shares this vision that transformation takes place, safer places are created and people’s lives are impacted for the better. 

Safeguarding is rooted in our mission and theology as a church. 31: 8 takes its name from Proverbs which call us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” and reminds us of our responsibility to be the voice to speak out for victims and survivors, to aspire to best practice  and ensure that safeguarding underpins every aspect of our ministry.

Safeguarding Sunday is a great opportunity for your church to highlight all it is doing to create safer places, and to publicly thank and acknowledge all those working tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen. It’s your chance to:

  • talk about all you have in place to safeguard vulnerable people
  • explain why safeguarding is so important
  • introduce your safeguarding team
  • acknowledge and thank your volunteers
  • pledge together as a church to create safer places for all

You’ll be joining with hundreds of churches up and down the country who throughout October will be highlighting all the incredible work that is being done, and sharing the good safeguarding stories from within the church.  Protecting vulnerable people is at the heart of the Christian message and so we want to take this opportunity to show our communities that we take this mandate seriously. 

A number of parishes took part in this last year across the diocese. The feedback was positive and many had been creative about the ways to raise awareness across all age ranges.

You can download the Resource Pack direct from 31:8 website.

Things hard to find on the website?

Over the last few months we have been working behind the scenes to make the website make a bit more sense to the reader, you. The website has the same look but we have moved some things around to give it a structure that is more helpful:

  • Instead of finding most things under the about sections we have created a new section all about the ministry of the diocese. We have 12 transformational goals, from making disciples and increasing believers, to encouraging generous giving and improving our buildings. Each piece of work that we do sits under one, or two, of these goals. Our hope is that this restructure will make is easier for you to navigate through our website get to where you want to go. 
  • We have adjusted our resources section. When you click on the drop down menu you will be able to select a role or something you are interested in and be directed to a page that has key resources and links to information that will be helpful to you. 
  • We have removed a lot of ‘stuff’ that has been sat in the back end of the website for years. This means that you should always find the most up to date and relevant information.

Read more about why we’ve made these changes. If you have any questions or concerns please email comms@cofeguildford.org.uk

Webinar: Encouraging generous giving in uncertain times

Generosity and generous giving are vital issues for churches and for church members. We will be reflecting on the generous response to Covid-19, alongside the ongoing opportunities and challenges of building generous churches so that we can continue to be people who transform our communities – and beyond – in the future. This webinar is aimed at church leaders, clergy, lay ministers, treasurers and stewardship promoters and will offer discussion, case studies and good practice.

We are repeating the webinar at different times and dates to make sure that there is a time that will suit you. Please register in advance by choosing one of the dates below.
 

Webinar: Faithfulness for a Planet in Crisis

Monday 28th September, 2020 5-7pm 
Featuring Prof Ellen Davis – who spoke at our last Clergy Triennial – as main speaker on the subject of climate change. It is a ‘Virtual Study Day’ organised by the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies taking place at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina to which friends from the diocese of Guildford are invited to participate at no cost. Besides the keynote address it includes some live music, a discussion panel with Ryan Juskus, Ruth Valerio, Norbert Wilson, and Norman Wirzba and concluding worship with homily by Ellen and music by Charles Pettee.

Test and trace app

If you have a larger number of visitors to your church/church hall then Parish Buying have an arrangement with a test and trace supplier, Guest Visit, that will allow visitors to scan a QR code and register their details. Should the test and trace service need to be in touch then this will be handled by the app, who also manage GDPR compliance etc. It is a paid for service, and may suit you if you have a larger number of visitors, who aren’t regular members of your church community.

For the latest National guidance click here
For the latest Diocesan guidance click here
Next briefing will be issued on 8th September 2020

The post COVID-19 Briefing 01/09 appeared first on The Parish of Capel and Ockley.

St John The Baptist Church, Capel is a small friendly village church in the centre of the village. We are part of the Surrey Weald Team of parishes close to the south Surrey border with West Sussex. The other parishes in the team are St Peter’s, Newdigate, and St Mary Magdelene, South Holmwood. Our church offers a variety of worship, both separate and as part of the Weald Team.

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