In this month’s 3 mission minutes I speak to Jill Duncan, a Youth worker in Durban. Jill is passionate about supporting and mentoring young people as they start their journey with God.
Jill - working as a Youth Pastor in South Africa must be pretty different to the UK, what keeps you there?
When I came here in 2009 I immediately fell in love with the place. I think it was just that God brought me here but the sub-tropical weather and beaches definitely help! I also find the different cultures and history fascinating and am greatly challenged by the extreme inequalities.
Can you tell us a bit about the young people you work with?
I work with high school aged young people. There is a wide range of differences in culture and financial circumstances from the wealthy to those with significant financial difficulty.
What has been your biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise, or learning curve, has been the diversity and cultural differences in South Africa compared to the UK. There are 11 official languages here and many different tribal and cultural groups. I’ve spent nearly 3 years here and feel like I’m barely scratching the surface!
And your biggest challenge?
Although my predecessors and I have worked hard to try and get a mix of people from different backgrounds, I would definitely say that racism is ingrained in many people, but that’s not really surprising considering the long history of oppression.
South Africa faces many complex challenges including inequality, poverty, HIV/AIDs, sexual violence, corruption and a lack of adequate education and healthcare. Faced with such major issues it’s easy to become disillusioned, and it is difficult as much of what people say which is normal here would be completely unacceptable in the UK. That is why I try to support the young people I spend time with in every way I can, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. However, as schools become more mixed I think the young people are becoming more understanding of different cultures.
The Christian youth camps we run also bring challenges, especially balancing the different cultural norms and financial restrictions of the economically poorer against the expectations of the wealthier people. We don’t charge for anything other than trips and camps and subsidise for poorer individuals which helps to remove barriers. We funded approximately half the places at the youth camps we ran this year.
What has God taught you during your time as a Youth Pastor?
Lots! To rely on him and that he will provide (especially financially), the need to be patient and wait for his timing not my own, to be willing to take risks and do different things, listen to him more and do what he says. These are all works in progress, but I have learned a lot over the last few years.
What is your vision for the ministry?
My vision is really just to be obedient to God and do his will, which is obviously easier said than done! My main aims are to help young people to reach their potential and grow into the men and women that God has designed them to be, to encourage tolerance, develop leaders and equip young people to put their faith into action. Durban has always felt like a permanent calling, but wherever I end up, I hope I’ll still be trying to make a difference in the lives of young people.
This year more than 24,000 people have signed up to do Lent generously with our challenge, 40acts.
40acts aims to celebrate and reflect something of God's generosity at Easter, by preparing challengers for a life-time of big-heartedness. 40 days of Lent, 40 inspirational reflections, 40 simple acts of generosity. You can sign up here: www.40acts.org.uk
Today - Shrove Tuesday - we've asked the brilliant Meggie's Cupcakes to give us unique recipe for these pancakes. You can make, adapt and share these wonderful mulled wine pear/caramelised apple pancakes. Hop over to our Facebook page and let us know how you get on!
Meggie's Cupcakes Vanilla Pancakes with Mulled Wine Pears/Caramelised Apples
(serves 4-6 people)
- 135g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 130ml milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) plus extra for cooking
- mulled wine pears (available in most supermarkets, or you can make your own)
- homemade caramelised apples
- maple syrup
- clotted cream
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
2. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it's melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.
4. Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
5. Serve with real maple syrup and a dollop of clotted cream. The combined flavours are simply divine!
Some alternatives to try!
Try adding 2 tablespoons of cinnamon in the flour instead of vanilla sugar for a different twist - this will taste especially good with caramelised apples!
To make the pancakes extra fluffy you can also substitute self raising flour for plain flour.
The information required by the Charity Commission on the new Annual Return Form for 2014 will include a number of new, compulsory questions. As the new information is largely going to be a matter of public record, now will be a good time to ensure that your charity has its house in good order!
Whilst some of the new questions include matters that are required to be included in a Trustees’ Annual Report, the Commission want to capture the same data for all charities that are required to submit an Annual Return, and not just those that are also required to submit their annual accounts and report.
The aim of the new questions is to serve both the Commission’s regulatory functions and the public interest.
The new questions are set out below and the responses will be available to the public, for the first time, via the charity’s register page on the Commission’s website (although it is not presently clear if this will include information on grant making activity):
The Commission will also encourage (but not require) charities to explain what they have achieved during the year in a free text box. They have undertaken to provide clear definitions and guidance on the information required.
The Commission will also publish the following information on the charity’s register page on the Commission’s website:
They will obtain this information directly from the FRSB, or from their own records.
The requirement for large charities (with income over £1million) to complete a Summary Information Return (or, SIR) is removed, with effect from AR 2014.
The Annual Return for 2014 together with the detailed guidance is expected to be available on the Commission’s website shortly.
Much like churches, shops come in all shapes and sizes. At one extreme there is the small church bookshop, operating from the church premises most likely after church services and other events have finished. Although there will be some considerations to think through, they are likely to be minimal. At the other extreme, operating a trading shop from commercial premises with the aim of raising funds or furthering the charitable activities of the church will require considerably more thought and planning.
Why do it?
Regardless of the size and nature of the proposed shop, the most important question of all to consider is 'why do you want to run a shop, what is its purpose?'. The bookshop might be intended to help church attendees grow in their discipleship and walk with God. A café might be a bridge into the community, raising the profile of the church and providing an evangelical opportunity. A commercial trading operation may seek to help the needy, or may provide funds for the church to use in other ways.
The list of what to think about grows longer as the size of the shop increases (see below), but the first and most important question is always 'why does our church want to run a shop?' A casual glance down most town High Streets confirms that many shops fail, so as a church you need to understand why, and also be confident that you have, or can obtain, the necessary skills and experience to make it work.
If you can't come up with a solid God-led answer to the 'why' question, or are not confident that you can access the necessary skills and experience, we suggest that you go no further.
Some stuff to think about
If it is in the church, then where does a shop fit? Often after church services, churches are active places, perhaps with children running around and refreshments being served to facilitate conversation and fellowship. Yes, you want your shop to fulfil its purpose, but maybe not to the detriment of other activities or ministries, so deciding where it goes needs a little thought...
If it is in the church, then where does a shop fit? Often after church services, churches are active places, perhaps with children running around and refreshments being served to facilitate conversation and fellowship. Yes, you want your shop to fulfil its purpose, but maybe not to the detriment of other activities or ministries, so deciding where it goes needs a little thought.
If you are looking outside the church then premises and location are very important. Using your “why” question as a starting point, we would suggest that you do your homework. You might want to consider:
1. The community that you are seeking to attract
2. The prominence of any site
3. The footfall within the locality
Look and feel is always important and disabled access is likely to be a consideration too.
Remember that if you take on premises that are currently being used for purposes other than as a shop, you will need to get permission for change of use. Depending upon where you are situated, this may not always be forthcoming.
Again, for the church bookshop this is likely to be a relatively straightforward answer however, for an off-site operation, perhaps not so.
Again, for the church bookshop this is likely to be a relatively straightforward answer however, for an off-site operation, perhaps not so. If a trading operation for example, do you want to keep the same trading hours as other shops in the locality? If you do, where are you going to get your staff from? For a café similar considerations apply. Day time coffee shops are attractive to those at home during the day, breakfast and evening cafes are perhaps more suitable to commuter communities. The same staffing considerations will apply.
Having the right people staffing your shop is important...
Having the right people staffing your shop is important. While Christians in the church may be forgiving if one week the bookshop is not open, this will not be the case for an offsite café or shop which will trade in part on its reliability and is in competition with wholly commercial operations. Staff can be employees, volunteers or more likely a combination of the two but it is important that the right people are found. Using people that have commercial skills or experience will give the shop the best chance of success; relying on something akin to the flower rota to staff a shop probably will not.
Whether using employees or volunteers there are aspects of legislation that you need to be aware of and comply with. These range from insurance, through payroll and minimum wage requirements, to health and safety considerations. Do not let the amount of necessary requirements put you off, but on the other hand don’t bury your head in the sand, because they will not go away and may come back to bite if not properly dealt with.
www.gov.uk/employing-staff offers a checklist of 6 things to consider when employing staff. For more detail see www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/d/m/Employing-people-a-handbook-for-new-firms-accessible-version.pdf which provides a more extensive but useful handbook.
It might be right for some shops to operate as an integral part of the church.
It might be right for some shops to operate as an integral part of the church. This will mean that the governance and operation of the shop rests with the church trustees and that the financial records of the shop will form an integral part of the church accounts. For other shops, it might be right that they are set-up as separate legal entities entirely separate from the church having their own governance structures and accounting records. Two aspects help contribute to making this decision; rules regarding trading and concerns about image.
Guidance is provided by the Charities Commission setting out when and how charities may engage in trading. Although it is mostly directed at trading to raise funds it does explain when a separate trading company should be established to carry on such activity. The guidance states that trading subsidiaries must be used for non-primary purpose trading that includes significant risk. The whole guidance can be found at us tax www.charitycommission.gov.uk/publications/cc35.aspx .
In parallel, HMRC also issues guidance to explain the various tax rules relating to trading within charities. This can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/guidance-notes/annex4/sectiona.htm#1 .
The image consideration is not concerned with the legality of trading, but rather the more intangible issue of what the shop says about the church. You will need to consider whether the shop should carry the church name; what this says to the local community; how it plays into the perception and purpose of the church.
Certain trades will require skilled and qualified staff to operate; others might require licencing or perhaps other legal checks to be undertaken...
Certain trades will require skilled and qualified staff to operate; others might require licencing or perhaps other legal checks to be undertaken. Cafés will need to meet food and hygiene regulations; activities involving looking after children will require a child safety policy and the possibility that staff and volunteers are vetted using a Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) check www.ccpas.co.uk , and premises playing background music will need a music licence www.ccli.com . You are not able to rely on the fact that your church has a music licence, as licences tend to be location specific.
Health and safety, risk assessment and other legal requirements might also come into play. Make sure that any shop complies with consumer law and sells goods of an appropriate quality. For example, selling electrical goods or furniture (particularly second hand) requires goods to be checked beforehand and certified as safe.
It is important that the financial trading activity of the shop be properly accounted for...
It is important that the financial trading activity of the shop be properly accounted for.Â For larger offsite shops that will often operate as a separate legal entity, records will have to be maintained independently from those held for the church.Â A small on-site bookstore may be accounted for within the finances of the church, perhaps as a sub-account.Â The accounting treatment will follow the legal and image considerations covered under 4 above.
Tax can be quite complex and particularly for larger shops seeking a degree of professional advice before you go too far down the line is likely to be appropriate.Â At a very broad level, charity shops often benefit from being exempted from corporation tax and are zero rated for VAT on the sale of donated (although not new) goods.Â HMRC issues guidance that relates both to direct and indirect taxation.Â This guidance can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/tax/trading/exemptions.htm for direct taxation and for indirect taxation at www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/vat/intro.htm .Â
Charity shops might also benefit from a reduction in non-domestic business rates.Â Eligibility for this reduction will depend upon what the shop is selling and also how it is structured.Â Your local council should be able to tell you more about this.Â
Normally, donations of goods for sale do not qualify for Gift Aid as this can only be applied to gifts of money.Â However, there is an arrangement that exists which is often referred to as the â€œRetail Gift Aid Schemeâ€ in which the charity acts as an agent for its supporters, selling goods on their behalf in the hope that the donor will then donate the sale proceeds.Â Details of how this scheme operates can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/gift_aid/rules/retail.htm
If the answer to your opening 'why' question is a solid God-led yes, and if you believe that you have the necessary skills and experience; then however daunting the practical aspects might appear to be, they can all be tackled with care, a little research, and a great deal of enthusiasm.
With yet more floods and storms set to batter our weather beaten nation, for many with school-aged children, the prospect of this February's half term can seem a bit disheartening. Before you batten down the hatches and resort to DVDs and computer games, check out Stewardship's ideas on how to put the 'Fun back into February'.
This school holiday coincides with Random Acts of Kindness Week. So why not set a family challenge to do as many random acts of kindness as you can in one week?
And don't forget Lent is coming soon on 5th March, so why not sign up for www.40acts.org.uk and be challenged to carry out more simple acts of generosity for each day of Lent?
You can sign up for 40acts as a family and receive free resources - a weekly child-friendly mini Bible study, a printable kid's wall chart to stick on the fridge and a great activity pack!
This year Stewardship have partnered with a number of brilliant organisations to bring you 40acts Together - a new way to do Lent generously as a group.
From Wednesday 12th February 2014, you'll be able download resources especially for churches, families, youth groups, schools, work groups and more. Some of the resource packs have been created alongside HOPE, an organisation that helps to equip the church in their local community.
You'll find some HOPE resources inside the 40acts event planners when you sign up as a group at www.40acts.org.uk, but there are bonus resources for everyone to benefit from.
Download them below.
It’s January, it’s wet, it’s depressing. We should all be having the January blues. At least that's what I’ve been hearing when I’ve tuned into the radio, TV and social media in the past few weeks.
We hear the same sentiments every New Year: conversations about New Year’s resolutions, wiping the slate clean and starting afresh. For me at least, I start out meaning well and it all turns out to be a bit of a let down.
However this year, for me,is full of new beginnings.Our wedding is in April, then I’ll be moving into a new house but not before starting a new job. I write with some sadness as this will be my last blog for Stewardship as a member of staff. As I have been reflecting on my time here, in preparation for this new season, I realise how blessed I am to have come across some amazing generosity in action over the last seven years.
I remember those people I have seen time and time again giving so generously to anything from appeals for hurricane/typhoon disasters to missionaries working in the depths of the jungle in Burma. I have met people giving up their lives to work for God on the mission field whether it be working with the homeless in south London, or reaching out to trafficked women in Cambodia, all relying on people’s generosity.
I have to say, the people that will have the ultimate lasting impact on me are my Stewardship colleagues, past and present. Again and again, they have demonstrated Christ’s love and generosity to me and countless others. To be honest, I would have been lost without them. They have sown time, tears, laughter, joy and prayers into my life and I will be forever thankful.
I have never worked for an organisation that has remained so true to its values. It lives out generosity to its staff and clients. I am so thankful for my time here and excited for Stewardship’s new season this year and the impact it will have for God’s kingdom.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says: Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it. In order to start something new, there has to be an ending. I have come far since the start of my time here and certainly agree that the end is far better than the start of the journey. So, as I start my new beginning, I realise that new beginnings always carry something from the past. I carry with me this thread of generosity, and hope that it weaves itself fully into this new season.
What are you carrying with you into 2014? Could this be an opportunity for you to express God’s heart of generosity in a new way?
I love God’s mandate for us in Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favour] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion—to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit—that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
This passage is generosity in a nutshell. I really hope that I can be used for His glory in my new beginning.
Read more like this:
photo used under Creative Commons Licence by Keith Roper
Lent has formed part of many church traditions for centuries, as we take the time to remember Jesus' sacrifice for all mankind. Traditionally Lent is marked by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent.
Whether your church usually observes Lent or not, we invite you to join us for 40acts Together. This free seven-week, downloadable series will include full sermon notes for each week, event planners and promotional activities to help your congregation get to grips with generosity, and reach out into their community during Lent and beyond. Download the sermon outline, and you'll get a preview of the resources.
Sign up for 40acts Together as a church leader and you'll receive:
- full sermon notes for each week
- an event planner and weekly emails to inspire you
- posters and postcards to put up and give away in your community
- the daily 40acts emails with reflections from high profile contributors from the Christian community
Contributing this year: Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Shaun King (HopeMob), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Jonty Langley (Huffington Post), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days), Sam Gibb (Sorted Magazine), Charlie Blythe (A21 Campaign, Hillsong) and many more.
Head to the 40acts website and select your group from the list. You can sign up as a group leader, and the resources will be available to download for free from Feb 10th.
The 40acts challenge is back! 40 days of Lent, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts of generosity.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, 40acts is the triple award-winning challenge from Christian charity Stewardship that invites people to do Lent differently. From March 5th to April 19th you will be offered the chance to give out rather than give something up. Over 15,400 people have already signed up to take part in 40acts 2014 and there is still plenty of room at the party!
"40acts began as a simple idea that asked, "What if Lent could be about more than simply giving up chocolate? What if it was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness?" says Debbie Wright, head of content at Stewardship.
"Traditionally we mark Lent by giving something up, but for the past three years we've seen people awaken to a new idea: that we can reflect something of God's incredible generosity on the cross by creating a daily habit of generosity throughout Lent."
It may be talking to strangers, hugging a friend or giving away your time but for each and every day of Lent participants will be assigned a fresh and exciting challenge that will bless the people around them as well as a daily Biblical reflections from an esteemed Christian contributor to chew on.
Those contributing to this year's 40acts campaign include: Shaun King (HopeMob), Rob Parsons (Care for the Family), Mike Pilavachi (Soul Survivor), Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance), Luke Smith (Fusion UK), Dot Tyler (Tearfund), Jonty Langley (Huffington Post), Caleb Meakins (My 40 Days), Sam Gibb (Sorted Magazine), Charlie Blythe (A21 Campaign, Hillsong) and many more.
New for this year is 40acts Together. Whether you're a family, church, small group, workplace, school or youth group, 40acts Together - in partnership with fantastic organisations - will provide you with the online and printable resources to guide you through your generous journey as a community.
There will be downloadable studies, prayer guides, event planners, kid's wall charts and much more to help different kinds of groups do Lent generously alongside the individual 40acts challenge.
Join in the fun, pouring out love to your neighbours while learning more about our generous and compassionate God.
Sign up here and you'll receive the daily 40acts challenges when Lent begins, as well as a unique link to download 40acts Together resources for your group from February 10th 2014.
Download the official press pack here.
I love The Message version- it says this:
'This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.'
photo from Pinterest
blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.