Spotlight on... Grace Sutton, Trustee at Connect Church

By Ruth Leigh | 17 June 2019

Our Training for Trustees days explore the interaction between finance and faith, unpacking what makes churches and charities healthy with regards to trusteeship. Delegates receive helpful pointers on issues such as Gift Aid, tax and employment.

 

Ruth Leigh caught up with one of our recent attendees Grace Sutton to find out a bit more about her and her experience of the day.

 

Tell me a bit about yourself, Grace.

 

I’m a Midlands-based creative; I started freelancing in 2016, but before that, I worked in project management and product development in the haircare and beauty industry. Alongside my freelance work, I’ve created my series of beauty events around curly hair, empowering others to feel confident about themselves and to believe in their own natural beauty.

 

That sounds great! How about your church life?

 

I attend Connect Church in Birmingham. I actively serve as a volunteer leader for the Creative team as well as regularly serving on the Children’s team.

 

 

So how did you find out about Stewardship?

We found out about the training via an Assemblies of God bulletin.

 

 

And how did you become a trustee at Connect Church?

I was invited by the trustee board of my church to apply for the role as they thought that I had a gift for leadership. They also felt that there was a call on my life to serve the church, backed up by their sense that I have a trustworthy character. The role is a significant responsibility: partly spiritual, making decisions to prayerfully protect the church, leadership and congregation while going in God’s direction; and partly practical, ensuring that the church is fulfilling its mission and purpose and being compliant with the Charity Commission guidelines. It’s a huge responsibility but one I feel that the Lord wants me to take on.

 

What happened next?

The Stewardship Trustee Training Day was mentioned at a meeting. I was delighted as I saw it as an incredible opportunity to equip myself for my journey as a new trustee.

 

What was your experience of the day?

 

As soon as I arrived at Stewardship, I felt welcome and I knew it was going to be a great day. The team were incredibly helpful, it was a lovely learning environment and I knew that I was going to leave with more knowledge than I’d had when I arrived!

 

There was a lot to get through, but we covered a huge amount in one day. I didn’t feel ‘talked at’ or overloaded – the training was engaging and interactive and there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions. I think it was a fantastic format and it was delivered in such an efficient and effective way.

 

That’s good to hear. What was the biggest lesson you learned on the day?

 

There was a thought-provoking truth that was shared right at the beginning which was my main takeaway from the day. It was this: ‘There should be a tension between the achievement of the charity and the risks and practices put in place to safeguard.’ When a trustee board is working well and doing its job right, there should be that tension in moving the vision forward. It’s to be expected and it isn’t something to worry about. That was a completely new idea to me and blew my mind.

 

The speakers guided us through a wealth of material. There are online resources for trustees, but they don’t compare with listening to someone speak and explain it all to you, plus they don’t put it all in a church context. Experiences and knowledge were shared so generously which made a huge difference.

 

What did you come away with that you hadn’t known before?

 

I learned a huge amount about funds for overseas projects. It’s the responsibility of the church and its trustees to ensure that the money’s going to the right place. Trustees need to oversee how it’s being used, check that Charity Commission practice is being complied with and that there is a clear paper trail. That knowledge will come in useful in the future.

 

Will you be staying in touch with us?

 

Definitely! I didn’t realise how many resources Stewardship offered. They’ll be so useful to me personally and in my role as a trustee. It’s great to know there’s somewhere I can come if I’ve got a specific question.

 

And, finally, what are your hopes for the future?

 

That I can use my gifts and abilities to serve God and my local church, and that I can be equipped to ask the right questions and prayerfully come up with the right answers. The Trustee Training Day has helped me hugely with all that.

 

Our next Trustee Training Day is on Wednesday, 3 July 2019, at our London offices. To book, click here. 


 

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