A brand new initiative for 2013, sponsored by Stewardship’s give.net and backed by the NHS, asks a vital question: what if the UK church saw blood and organ donation as part of its giving?
A new survey suggests that while individual church members may have a significant interest in
donating blood and organs, the bigger picture shows that it is not encouraged by UK churches as
part of their committed Christian giving.
The survey was conducted by Christian Research on behalf of Kore as part of the fleshandblood
campaign launched earlier this year in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
The survey shows that close to 10% of Christians have given blood in the last year compared to 4%
of the general population who have given blood in the last two years, and almost half of all Christians are registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register compared with 31% of the general population.
However despite these strong levels of engagement the overall findings reveal that many churches in Britain do not yet see blood and organ donation as a part of its giving, with an extremely low 0.3% of respondents stating that either blood or organ donation was a frequent part of their churchʼs teaching and over 75% saying that neither blood nor organ donation was ever mentioned or encouraged by their church.
The Rt Rev James Newcome, Lead Bishop on Healthcare for the Church of England says,
“Extending our understanding of the central Christian themes of generosity and stewardship to
include blood and organ donation has the potential to tangibly transform the giver and the receiver.
The benefit to others is not only life enhancing but can mean the difference between life and death.”
fleshandblood Campaign Director, Juls Hollidge commented, “The church has always been known
for its spirit of generosity. We want to encourage churches and church leaders to explore what it
would mean if, alongside all its other great work, the Church were to see blood and organ donation
as a part of that desire to be generous.”
This unique campaign seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for blood and organ
donation enabling them to raise awareness of this key issue with their family, friends and community and potentially help to save thousands of lives each year.
Many churches are in the vital role of supporting and encouraging a mission worker, but what does this actually mean?
In our new paper, Senders’ Guide, Mike Frith demonstrates that mission is a team game and covers the key areas necessary to maintain a strong and enduring partnership between sender and the one who is sent.
Mike is the Director of OSCAR, the UK Information Service for World Mission, and regularly runs workshops for churches to engage with their role as senders. The next ‘open’ workshop will be at our offices in Loughton on Saturday 2 February. For more information or to book, visit www.oscar.org.uk/training
Readers of this blog will know that some, but not all, churches must register as a charity with the relevant charity regulator (the Charity Commission in England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland, and shortly, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland).
In England and Wales, the temporary Exception from Registration for certain denominational churches with a gross income of under £100,000, which was due to end in October 2012, has again been extended - this time to 31 March 2014.
Churches that should be registered with the charity regulator but haven’t yet done so, are advised not to delay and risk losing out on valuable tax reliefs given to charities. This advice follows a change in tax legislation which means that registration with the regulator is essential.
Let’s try a quick quiz!
How well did you get on? I guess that your pass mark varies depending on whether you are a church leader, a trustee or a member of the congregation.
The role of trustee requires someone who is mature, responsible, trustworthy and has the spiritual interests of the church at heart. Often, church trustees tend not to be self-publicists and so could be very ‘low profile’. They are, however, a body of people with legal authority and so everybody should know who they are – look on your charity’s entry on the Register of charities at www.charity-commission.gov.uk for some of the answers!
If you were able to answer the quiz questions above with ease you have probably got a clearly defined, properly appointed and publicly recognised body of trustees who are functioning very well. If not, you might want to do some research and perhaps tighten up in some areas.
If there are no properly appointed trustees, the results can be chaotic, disruptive and expensive. Sometimes more than one group of people claims to be the trustees and they squabble with each other for control. This can happen in Christian charities.
The recently published investigatory report into the Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star provides a fairly gripping narrative and shows an extreme case of what can happen if there is no properly appointed trustee body. This charitable company ended up in dispute with a Local Authority and on the brink of a High Court order to wind up the company, after years of failing to heed warnings. Eventually, the Charity Commission had no choice but to step in and appoint a solicitor as Interim Manager to salvage and preserve the resources of the charity. Without prompt action, the charity was on the verge of ‘going under’. The rescue was successful, so that eventually new trustees were properly appointed, a plan was devised for the future and the charity is still on the Register. Unfortunately, quite a lot of resources were mis-used and wasted along the way.
Trustees have a responsibility to understand, manage and control the financial activities of their charities. It is all too easy to think that financial loss happens to someone else, not to you: “it really couldn’t happen here”. Yet you can still find yourself facing an unwanted financial situation as events unfold around you. This was the case with a church recently who, for the lack of some basic controls, found themselves facing a £10,000 loss, the danger of unwanted publicity, and a pastoral issue thrown in for good measure.
The church administered conferences, receiving income and paying expenditure from a separate bank account. Suddenly, suppliers to the conferences started contacting the church asking about bills that hadn’t been paid.
After investigation it transpired that the bank account used for the conferences was managed by a single administrator, in fact it was a ‘ministry account’ under their sole control. They had used the account for personal transactions – intending to simply ‘borrow the funds’ for a short while. However, they had been unable to pay the account back and it now looked as if they never would be able to. The suppliers believed they had been supplying the church, and had issued invoices to the administrator in the church’s name and were now looking for the church to settle.
The cost of remedy was higher than the funds lost from the account. It included the pastoral issues that flowed from this failure and the legal costs that were incurred to ensure that the Trustees achieved what was needed to fulfil their responsibilities concerning the loss of charity money, and to the Charity Commission.
Simple best practice is that every bank account a charity uses should be controlled by more than one person. This may take a number of forms but usually requires all payments (or at least all those over a certain sum) to be authorised by two people who are independent of the persons incurring the expenditure, and of any recipient of the payment. In the case referred to us, it was made more complex by the fact that it wasn’t strictly a church bank account and therefore it was uncertain whose money was held in the account. Trustees don’t need to be the ones who do everything but, as can be seen from the cost of dealing with this issue, they do have to have policies in place to cover all aspects of the church’s finances.
More information on financial controls can be found in the briefing paper issued by Stewardship at http://www.stewardship.org.uk/documents/briefing-papers/Financialcontrolsinchurches.pdf
blogs by the Stewardship team and selected guest writers.