FINDING GOD’S WAY
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FINDING GOD’S WAY The whole life of a disciple can be summarized in those three words. We are called to do nothing less than discover God’s way for ourselves and the communities of which we are a part. At first sight that sounds so simple and straightforward. Hymns and sermons (including many that I’ve preached!) can give the impression that guidance is instantly delivered to anyone who asks for it. But God doesn’t work like that, and it can often be painfully difficult to find his way and take very much longer than we would have chosen. The country’s present financial problems are producing many challenging situations, and it is widely suggested that the recession will continue for many years to come. With previous economic downturns we could easily draw on the experience of the previous downturn and recall the way in which we pulled out of it. But this time it’s different. The whole economic fabric of the world is being shaken. Since we first learnt of our financial challenges as a Union I have called the denomination to prayer. I am grateful for all those who have responded to this call, because there is no other way in which we will discover God’s way for us. In prayer we open our minds and hearts to God himself, and invite him to be our Guide. I believe that this is a huge spiritual moment for our nation and I think that we should expect that, amidst all the personal insecurities and struggles, there will be many who will turn to
God for the first time. I ask you to look at your church life and reflect on whether you are in a position to reach out to these people – perhaps through a debt counselling service, which is proving so effective in many churches; through a coffee morning or meal, in which friendship is offered to those who are struggling; or through services which are easily accessible to people who have no background in going to church. We need to be ready. But above all else we need to be committed to prayer. On Sunday 9 September there will be a DAY OF PRAYER for our Baptist Union family. I invite every church to pray for our life together. • Please pray prayers of confession, acknowledging that we have often failed to be the loving, sacrificial, Christ-shaped communities that we have been called to be. • Please pray prayers of thanksgiving, that through 400 years God has been faithful and generous to us through all the ups and downs of our history. • Please pray prayers of intercession, asking for God’s Spirit to guide the conversations about the future life of our Union; for God’s wisdom and strength as we seek to serve God in our communities; and for God to reach out in mercy and salvation to our needy land. May this autumn be a season when we become more firmly and deliberately a people of prayer.
Jonathan Edwards BUGB General Secretary 3
Mission Ian Bunce Head of Department
Introduction It is that new term feeling; the holidays and the Olympics are over, the new slog into the shorter days is upon us. What is there to look forward to? For many in this nation, it is a season of no hope – yet we do have a hope. During this autumn there are great opportunities for praying together and also engaging in front line mission as we approach the Christmas season. During the next few months, please watch out for new resources for churches to use to think about how they do children’s and youth work. There will also be some new resources released this autumn to help Christians to be witnesses in a multifaith world. Contact us for more details. The BIG Welcome There’s a space for you
Offering a warm welcome to church services and other activities is key to helping people to feel valued and part of what is going on.
service on a Sunday, or inviting people to a BIG Welcome event in a local coffee shop, pub or community centre, we pray that many more people will come to experience a loving relationship with God. We look forward to hearing about the creative ways in which your church uses the resources, and the responses you get from those invited to a BIG Welcome event. New for this year, we have produced a small BIG Welcome booklet, which aims to provide some fantastic news for all of us. In a world which is so full of negatives and bad stuff, this A6-sized booklet will attempt to lift the spirits and help find answers for some of the questions which we all have at points in our lives; questions such as: • Who am I, really? • Is there a true purpose for my life? • Will it all make sense one day? A sample copy has been sent to all those churches which ordered a pack of BIG Welcome resources, and these booklets make an ideal giveaway for people who come to your church for the first time, at any time of year. Further copies can be ordered from the BIG Welcome website www.thebigwelcome.org
We are encouraged that many churches will be making a special effort to invite friends for a BIG Welcome event this month, and pray that they will be encouraged by the response they receive. Whether you’re planning a BIG Welcome 4
The importance of making people feel welcome doesn’t stop when your BIG Welcome event ends – it’s an ongoing way to help build relationships, and share the good news of how much God loves them. Why not start planning to offer a BIG Welcome at Christmas, and other times of year?
HOPE brings a fresh mission focus on harvest • Create a community collage to display outside your church, with stories and pictures of activities taking place in your area. • Encourage your church to have a meat-free Sunday – if everyone in the UK gave up meat once a week, the emission savings would be the same as taking 5 million cars off the road. • Have a technology fast – no TV, iPod, computer or mobile phone for a whole day. These are just three of the ideas in HOPE for Harvest, the latest book from HOPE, helping churches to use key moments in the Christian calendar as a focus for mission. As well as offering fresh ideas for harvest, the new book focuses on the importance of work, generosity and thankfulness as key aspects of a mission lifestyle. Copies cost £5.99and can be ordered from www.hopetogether. org.uk Get in the Picture We’ve been delighted by the way in which churches across the country have got involved in the Get in the Picture initiative over the past three years. Get in the Picture took place in 100 towns across the UK last Christmas, enabling churches to connect with their community and make the most of this crossingplace opportunity. This simple idea enables churches to get the Christmas message right onto the
streets of their town, village or community – setting up a stable scene in the lead up to Christmas and inviting people to dress up and literally ‘get in the picture’. Posing as figures in a nativity scene they have their photo taken, free of charge, which is then uploaded to the Get in the Picture website ready to be downloaded and sent to family and friends. Get in the Picture has been developed from an idea shared by BUGB President Chris Duffett, who piloted it through the work of the Light Project in 2008. It’s a clear reminder of the true Christmas story, and offers the opportunity to engage in conversation and invite people to your Christmas services and activities. This year we have refreshed the Get in the Picture website, with the aim of making it much easier for people to find their pictures. Information for churches wanting to take part is available on the website, along with a simple registration process. There is also an opportunity to share information about the Christmas services taking place in your town. Start discussing the idea with your church now! Perhaps you could encourage a team of people from local churches to work together to create a stable scene and costumes, and run Get in the Picture in your community this year. Have a look at the website www.getinthepicture.org.uk to find out more about what’s involved, and 5
Mission be inspired by stories of churches which have already given it a try. Question It has been a privilege to work in partnership with the Baptist Union of Wales on this new DVD resource for people who want to explore the Christian faith.
together has been so thrilling. The heart behind this course is simply to offer people a place to explore some questions about God that people often ask early on in their journey of faith. In its basic form the course is based on countless conversations I’ve had with people over the years as I’ve tried to communicate who Jesus is, and the love that he has for them – demonstrated in his sacrificial death on the cross. My prayer is that Question might simply be a resource to inspire and equip you in the work to which we are all called.’ Question will be launched at Bethel Baptist Church on Thursday 20 September. Copies of the DVD will be available from the Baptist Union Online Store from September, at a price of £6.99 inc VAT. See www.baptist.org.uk/question for more information.
Question enables people to explore the kind of questions about God that are often asked early on in a journey of faith. Each talk on the DVD is designed to stir up that sense of questioning and longing, providing direction for the conversation time that follows. After each of the six talks, the DVD has questions which the group can journey through at their own pace. They are a chance for people to engage with the issues, and will help to guide the discussions. This resource is available in two editions – in English and in Welsh. The idea for Question came from Baptist minister Jonathan Vaughan-Davies, from Bethel Baptist Church in Cardiff. He tells us: ‘This project is a vision I’ve carried for many years, and to see God bringing it 6
Diamond Jubilee update Thank you to all those churches which collected messages of thanks to Her Majesty the Queen, as part of the BIG Jubilee Thank You. These messages have been collated and given to the Queen, along with those from other churches, to mark her Diamond Jubilee. You will also be interested to know that over 770,000 special Diamond Jubilee special edition New Testaments were given away over the Diamond Jubilee weekend.
Ministry Paul Goodliff Head of Department
Introduction Supporting ministers through counselling and debt advice enabling them to lead their church or organisation in its mission. Retirement As I write this, the 2012 Pre-retirement Conference is drawing to a close, having offered a residential setting for ministers with their spouses to reflect upon their retirement is a few years’ time. It has been our major tool in preparing ministers for retirement, covering concerns ranging from health to finances, housing to spirituality. For many ‘retirement’ is a slippery concept, since while we do cease to carry responsibilities that require our full attention, supported by a stipend, we do not cease to be either disciples or ministers of the gospel and for many in early retirement at least, life can seem as busy in serving Christ as it ever did in so-called ‘full-time ministry’! However, the dynamics do change and inevitably reflect a slowing of the pace of life, and often declining health and strength, all of which must be woven into the pattern of being a disciple of Jesus and a minister. Earlier this year a small working group reflected on the broad range of issues that cluster around this concept of ‘retirement’. We considered housing, work, spirituality, and a theology of retirement from stipendiary ministry, while also thinking about those ways in which the rich experience and wisdom that accrues from years of faithful ministry might be exploited for the good of all, and the continuing value that we place upon ministers in retirement. With a decline in the number of retirement pastorates, other opportunities must be sought for those not yet ready to hang up their pastoral
shoes and preaching gown (as it were!). Mentoring of younger ministers and Newly Accredited Ministers in particular; eldership or diaconate responsibilities or service in any number of charities and kingdom ventures are all possible. And yes, there should be much more time for those leisure activities and family commitments be they bird-watching, golf or simply looking after the grandchildren. Look out for a range of written resources to become available on the website. Four matters in particular benefit from the earliest planning (indeed, from the very start of responding to a call) and therefore apply to many ministers, not just those approaching the age at which they hope to retire. The provision of a home in retirement should not just be the responsibility of the Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Society, splendid though their work continues to be. For some, making provision for their own home can both reduce the pressure upon the Society, and also give greater control over that provision but it needs years of planning and financial provision, so must be considered early on. Secondly, taking care of our health is a life-time’s task, with the benefits perhaps most obvious in later life, while, thirdly, ensuring that pension provision is adequate likewise takes years to execute. Finally, and perhaps least understood, is the preparation for a spirituality no longer so dependent upon the tasks of pastoral ministry, or such-like. The temptation is to so wrap our devotional life in the garb of the pastoral office, that once that has finished, we wonder just who we are in Christ and how to structure a life in Christ that is not dependent upon our calling 7
Ministry to a particular role. Here, ensuring that our own walk with God is deeper than just prayers for the congregation we lead is essential. Perhaps this article might stimulate you as a minister to ask ‘how prepared am I for the time when I am no longer in active ministry?’, or as a church officer to help your minister to reflect upon their future and adjust their life now to ensure that in retirement ‘the best is yet to be’. The Order for Baptist Ministry Baptists have not been at the forefront of engaging in mission through religious orders, although it is not as unknown as might be thought. The splendid work of the Deaconness’ Order in the first half of the 20th century is the obvious example, while Revd Margaret Jarman, past President of this Baptist Union, established a small community in the 1980s. In Australia there is quite a large Baptist Monastery, The Community of the Transfiguration, and closer to home the Baptist-Anglican ecumenical church of St Thomas’ Crookes and its offshoot, Philadelphia Network (perhaps the largest Baptist church outside London) has established The Order of Mission to help root its missional workers in the High Church Anglican tradition of engaging in mission through its Orders. While not specifically or exclusively Baptist, The Northumbria Community, overseen by Baptist Minister Roy Searle, has become the new monastic community of choice for some Baptists, and many more use its worship and devotional resources. Some three years ago a vision of a specifically Baptist Order for ministers began to emerge amongst a small group of friends who had shared together 8
in a supportive way through some 25 years of ministry, having been students together at Spurgeon’s College in the mid 1980s. It has been my privilege to be amongst that group of four and we have consulted, prayed and dreamt together as we have sought to ‘be obedient to the heavenly vision’. This has now resulted in the formation of The Order for Baptist Ministry, with some 50 or so individuals already expressing an interest and early commitment. Initial commitments are to membership of a cell group, meeting perhaps bi-monthly or more frequently; a shared Daily Office; commitment to prayer and attentiveness, and attendance at an annual convocation, together with attending to the walk we have with God in Christian discipleship. What we say about the Order might be summarised in ‘We are an Order for Baptist Ministry who see ministry as a living means of grace to the church as together we mediate the presence of Christ in the world. Our priority is to encourage patterns and rhythms of relationship and devotional life that sustain this way of being’. Its value, I believe, lies in its helping ministers to remain faithful to their calling and ordination vows, and enriching and deepening their spiritual life. For more information, a website will soon be available at orderforbaptistministry.co.uk. Meanwhile Revd Geoff Colmer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his blog read at http://geoffcolmer. blogspot.co.uk
Faith and Unity Stephen Keyworth Head of Department Campaigning for world free of nuclear weapons The next Government will have to decide whether or not to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent. Many church members will find it difficult to reconcile the use of the deterrent with the call on Christians to live and strive for peace. The Joint Public Issues Team is actively involved in campaigning for nuclear disarmament and in 2006 produced a reflection on war, human security and contemporary Christian ethics. The new resource Better off Without details how public services, employment and national security would all be ‘Better off’ if we do not spend £3.7 billion per year, for the next 15 years, on replacing the Trident Nuclear Deterrent. Meanwhile JPIT is working with others on a meaningful dialogue with key decision makers to establish a sensible debate on the future of nuclear weapons. More information and all these resources are available from www.baptist.org.uk/social-and-politicalissues/trident Ethical Dilemmas in Armed Unmanned Air Systems The brand new Joint Strike Fighter may well be the UK’s last manned jet fighter. In the future the country’s airpower may be delivered by Armed Unmanned Air Systems – Drones. This technology is cheaper and easier to employ than traditional fighter aircraft, but it presents also some difficult questions of ethics. Many Christians would want to know how, ultimately, armed
Drones serve the cause of Justice and Peace. A working group organised by the Joint Public Issues Team has produced a report outlining some of these questions, such as whether the use of this technology could make war more likely, whether its current use for targeted killings outside the theatre of combat can be justified, legally or ethically, and the psychological implications of placing soldiers or pilots in locations so remote from the field of battle. The report seeks to engage with the reality that Drones are here to stay, while adhering to the rule that for Christians “Peacemaking is not an optional extra.” The report is available on the Faith and Unity page of the BUGB website. Visit by the Jamaican Baptist Union Following the 2007 endorsement by BUGB Council and BMS World Mission and the formal visit to the Jamaican Baptist Union to offer the Apology for the transatlantic slave trade, various strands of work have been given new impetus, shape and direction. In the challenge to move beyond mere words to concrete actions, and with the intent of addressing racism, ‘The Journey’ was agreed by Council. The Journey’s vision is to set out practical steps to enable the BUGB to become fully culturally integrated in ways that reflect the Union’s cultural diversity and assist the Union in practising one of its Core Values, that of an Inclusive Community. With the aim of strengthening ‘The Journey’ recommendations, a team of four senior Jamaican Baptist Union ministers were formally invited to visit the BUGB in May 2012. The team comprised of the General and Associate Jamaican Baptist Union 9
Faith and Unity Secretaries, a former JBU President and the Baptist Warden from the United Theological College of the West Indies. The programme was intense. It provided the team with the opportunity to visit various associations including London, Southern Counties, Heart of England, North West and Yorkshire. Many churches and homes were also visited, the National Resource Centre and most of our Baptist Colleges. There were many highlights. The Launch
of the Sam Sharpe Project at the Jamaican High Commission was one. It was both an educative and celebratory event attended by a little over a 100 people together witnessing the launch of the Sam Sharpe Project, officially opened by the former Jamaican High Commissioner. The High Commission was a fitting place to launch the Project. Sam Sharpe was a Jamaican Baptist deacon, an enslaved person who played an important role in the ‘Great Jamaican Slave Revolt’ of 1831-2 and is one of Jamaica’s National Heroes. The Project launched on 10 May exemplifies liberation from below and seeks to actively encourage the Black Christian Community to take its appropriate place in the wider heritage of the Baptist story. The Project will remain in the hands of the people for whom this and other related stories are a 10
significant part, not only of their history but also of their present reality. For further information about the Project, visit the website: www.samsharpeproject.org The Heart of England Baptist Association also hosted a memorable event. At the ecumenical reception at Highgate Baptist Church, chaired by Bishop Joe Aldred from the Church of God of Prophecy, author and theologian Robert Beckford spoke about Black and ethnic minority identity. He focussed on its historical legacy, the colonial history that gives shape to Black identity and ways in which racism impacts both the oppressed and the oppressor. Many found this a challenging and beneficial experience. The team were very moved by their visit to churches in Yorkshire. By their warmth, hospitality, sense of humour, generosity, and the churches’ desire to challenge race injustice. It’s a visit that will remain in their memories for ‘years to come.’ It was indeed a privilege for our Union to have this very able team with us. It was not all plain sailing. They have left us with some very sharp observations – for example, a culture in need of radical reform. Until then our Union will remain a hotel not a home for many black and ethnic minority Baptists. To take this further, why not work through the small group studies in Many Nations, One Church, which encourages churches to become more multicultural. The study guide is available from the BUGB Online Store, priced at £1.50. Peacemaking Sunday – Peace in a world where it’s kicking off everywhere What does it means to be peacemakers in a world of conflict? How do we share
the values of the Kingdom in a world of chaos? In the last few years we’ve seen riots in our major cities in the UK, a crisis in the Eurozone, public spaces occupied across the West and a wave of revolutions in the Arab world, with much of the energy for change being spread through social networking sites on the internet. What does it mean for us to bear the presence and hope and peace of God in a world which seems more divided than ever, not just nations divided from nations, but rich divided from poor, young divided from old? This year Peacemaking Sunday falls on 23 September. Material produced by the Revd Trevor Neill, minister of Yardley Wood Baptist Church on behalf of JPIT, encourages churches to pray through these questions, and for a rediscovering of the call for all disciples to make peace not just in warzones but in scarred neighbourhoods, broken cities, occupied squares and restless cyberspace. The material is available to download from www.baptist.org.uk/social-and-politicalissues/peacemaking-sunday Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer On 5 November 2012 Baptist women from around the world will come together to study God’s Word, pray and give so that our world will be impacted for Christ. The focus this year is on the fruit of the Spirit, JOY. Material for the Day of Prayer has been produced by Baptist women in Asia, and the full programme is available on the BWWDP website: www.bwawd.org An outline Order of
Service is also available on the BUGB website: www.baptist.org.uk/prayer-andworship/prayer-resources Introducing the Disability Justice Group The Revd Glen Graham, Convenor of the Disability Justice Group, writes to introduce the group and its current plans: “The Disability Justice Group has been in existence for seven months now. Right from the outset we have stated that we are not just a talking shop about disability issues but an active working group seeking to make a difference in the life of our Union. We have had two meetings so far and have got off to a flying start at putting together a threeyear work plan. The work we aim to do falls into two broad categories – information gathering and awareness raising. In regards to information gathering, we want to be sure that the work we do meets the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities in our churches. To this end we are putting together a survey to go out to all our churches to find out what these needs and aspirations are. In respect to awareness raising, we have a number of things in mind. These include regular articles on the BUGB website, visits to colleges, ministers’ conferences, and associations. We are also hoping to hold a seminar at next year’s Assembly on tackling barriers to inclusion. It is wonderful to be involved in this work at the start. We, along with the other justice groups, strive to make inclusivity a reality in the life of our Union. Come join us on the journey.” 11
Council Richard Nicholls General Manager
Baptist Futures â€“ an outline for local church leaders In June Baptist Union Council agreed a framework for developing a new future. In many respects this marks a beginning and not an end â€“ we want to organise ourselves differently as a Baptist community; this will generate significant change but will be rooted in the life and vision of local Baptists, not determined and imposed from any central body. Here is a brief explanation of the key proposals. What has changed? At the heart of these proposals is a desire to become a Union that is responsive to local need and vision, flexible in approach, and harnesses the skills, talents and vision of everyone in our Baptist family. The focus of our shared life needs to be local; we do not want to draw all of our resources into a central vision. Our Union needs to be relatively simple and straightforward so that the energy, vision and commitment of our Baptist community can be invested in local mission. Values and Principles The first element of the proposed changes is a statement of values and principles. This represents a commitment to operate our Union in a particular way, making sure that values and priorities vital to who we are, become embodied in our ways of working and organising together. These form the basis against which local Baptists can hold their Union to account; by generating these values and principles, we have embedded accountability into our shared structures from the outset. Not every detail of our future vision has yet emerged, and some people might justifiably wonder what shape particular initiatives will 12
eventually take. The values and principles have an important role in this respect; by committing ourselves to them, we ensure that future plans fulfil these priorities. Another key principle is Relational Interdependence. This expresses a desire to place a much greater focus on churches and local activists relating and networking together. A general drift within all of these proposals is towards encouraging churches to support one another, rather than developing support structures on their behalf. Association Partnerships Regional Associations are an important part of our shared life â€“ partnerships are not intended to replace them, nor are they intended as another organisational tier. Many Associations already work together on shared initiatives, and it is expected that this will continue. The vision for Association partnership is to significantly change the way in which Home Mission resources are distributed. The way we do mission is changing, and the situations and ministries that we want to support through Home Mission are increasingly diverse. We have been well served by a central grants committee but this approach requires the establishment of common criteria, and as mission situations become ever more innovative, they generate an increasing workload in gathering and exchanging information between the local Association and the decision makers. By locating this responsibility in Associations, greater flexibility will be achieved. Decisions can be made by those who are local to a particular project or church, with a much fuller appreciation of the realities of the situation, developed through on-going relationship.
The annual cycle of application breeds uncertainty and consumes time and energy that should be invested in local mission. Associations will have the opportunity to agree longer term budgets with churches, and develop models of accountability and support that are appropriate to that situation. Another key change is that Associations will have the opportunity to transfer resources more freely between regional appointments and initiatives, and those that operate more locally. Sometimes local mission is best supported by someone who works across a number of churches, particularly those who even with Home Mission support could not afford a minister. Some pioneer situations are so new that there is simply not the infrastructure to employ an individual and make application for a Home Mission grant. In such situations, an Association or partnership of Associations could act as employer. The traditional distinction between resources invested locally and regionally no longer reflects the reality of contemporary mission. These changes will bring about the flexibility needed.
model of national budgeting, which would be more complex and difficult if all 13 Associations operated independently. It has the flexibility of local decision making, while offering the cohesion of a national commitment to Home Mission. Associations might identify other aspects of our shared life that are best operated through these partnerships. However, this must come from the Associations themselves, not be imposed by any central body eg some discussion is underway about whether this might offer an appropriate context to reorganise ministerial recognition. Specialist Teams We have traditionally perceived our organisational life as operating at two levels – Associations and the ‘National Resource’. The shift to specialist teams is more than simply a re-organisation of the activities of Baptist House, it represents a commitment to become a single and more integrated organisation. The teams will be part of a greater whole through which our common identity as Baptist Christians will be expressed.
All of the above could be achieved without the need for partnerships – so why introduce them?
Specialist teams have been established to coordinate and oversee the three areas that are considered to be best organised nationally.
Amidst much greater freedom and flexibility, there also needs to be accountability; it is sometimes easier to be more innovative when a ‘critical friend’ is able to offer an objective view of what is being proposed.
Ministry: There is clear desire and perceived benefit in continuing to recognise and develop accredited ministers, offering support and opportunities for development to a wide range of individuals.
When resources are limited, partnerships will enable Associations to decide together what should be supported. It will allow stories to be shared of why and how our resources are invested in particular mission opportunities.
Church and Society: While much of the responsibility for mission leadership will rest with Associations, and an amount of ecumenical engagement is expressed through these, there are aspects of both that are best organised nationally. Coupled with this is the responsibility to generate a sense of shared
The six partnerships offer a manageable
Council identity and to provide a representative voice on matters of significance and concern. Communications and publications that are best done together will also reside here. Shared Services: Churches have repeatedly expressed their appreciation of specialist advice and expertise being available to them. This team will seek to ensure that financial, legal and employment advice is available, coupled with the provision of basic services to run and operate our Union. One clear aim is to make better use of the wealth of experience and knowledge that exists across our Union thus reducing a reliance on paid staff and enabling far wider participation in shared life. While the specialist teams will be a small core group of employees, their work may also be undertaken by college or Association staff, or volunteers from local churches. It is important to recognise and appreciate the good work done by existing departments and those who lead them. The change of approach will entail a number of job losses; this is not a reflection on those individuals affected, and there is a very clear concern to properly support them through this. A significant task in the coming months will be to consult with various constituencies in our Union to determine the key tasks of each of these teams, how and by whom these are best undertaken, and what resources will be required. Integrated Leadership This vision can only become reality if there is clear direction and servant leadership at its heart that draws together the priorities and aspirations from across our Union, and is properly representative of its diversity. This should reflect the breadth of our identity but 14
also operate in a way that encourages and welcomes widespread participation in vision setting and decision making. This approach to leadership is one that enables and facilitates rather than prescribes and will operate with the oversight of Assembly and BU Council, with appropriate governance through BUGB Trustees. Through this, we anticipate a far more co-ordinated approach to our shared life, setting an agenda and developing a strategy that reflects the priorities of local Baptist Christians. And Finally... This is the first stage of a process of change. The outcome will depend more on the spirit in which it is undertaken than the plans on which it is founded. There was a very clear sense of Godâ€™s presence as BU Council worked its way through the various proposals; they may not satisfy everyone but we believe they have come through the leading of Godâ€™s Spirit. Please continue to pray for the Futures Process and everyone involved in taking plans forward. Please recognise the spirit of intent within these proposals, even if that is not evident from the detailed plans. Much depends upon a renewed commitment to walk and work together. These plans are designed to enable new possibilities, not impose them. Whether committed to developing new expressions of mission, or sustaining existing Christian presence, it is vital that local Baptists develop and share their own vision, so that this can be reflected in plans that now develop. For more information please visit http://www.baptist.org.uk/about-baptists/ bugb-futures.html or speak to your Association Team.
Around the Union Central Administrative contact: Stephen Copson 01462 442548 email@example.com On 30 June, around 140 people gathered for the Annual CBA Assembly and AGM at Loughton Baptist Church, Milton Keynes, where Revd Dr Nigel Wright, Principal of Spurgeon’s College, and past President of the BUGB, spoke on ‘Living in a Universe with Meaning’. An Extraordinary General Meeting agreed some changes to the Constitution and over the previous months a number of roadshows were held to engage with this and other issues. .
Eastern Administrative contact: Hayley Beckett 01263 826377 firstname.lastname@example.org Revd Chris Duffett led a stimulating and challenging weekend for us in June. As well as leading evangelistic outreach in Hadleigh, Essex, at our Annual Assembly, he held a morning seminar for ministers, visited churches in Southend and Cambridgeshire and was special guest at Carleton Rode (rural Norfolk) Baptist Church’s 200th Anniversary birthday party for the whole community. The church premises were devastated by fire and this marked part of their reopening celebrations of the stable block which now includes premises for a community café and church and community activities.
East Midlands Administrative contact: Becky Hardiman 0115 981 8645 email@example.com It was a joy to have Chris Duffett for the first of his Big Hearted Tour weekends. Many were encouraged to be big hearted wherever they were. Churches have celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with Bibles being given out and parties being held to celebrate the occasion. We continue to go forward with ‘Inspire’ – our young leaders’ initiative. We are putting on ‘Investing in Leadership’ workshops. There has been growth and encouraging developments in churches with part time ministers including Blaby, East Leake, Long Eaton and Hugglescote.
Heart of England Administrative contact: Karen Martindale 0121 472 4986 firstname.lastname@example.org #LovCov! HEBA are working with Youth for Christ, Saltmine and churches in Coventry to run a schools week from 17-21 September. BUGB President Chris Duffett joins them on 22 September for a day of inspirational teaching, worship and experience of mission with young people from across the association. There are also plans for those attending to share in services at some of the Baptist churches in Coventry. For more details contact the HEBA Office on 0121 472 4986 or email email@example.com 15
Around the Union
London Administrative contact: Norman Kincaid 020 7692 5592 firstname.lastname@example.org This has been a busy year for the London Baptist Association. We enjoyed hosting the Assembly and were encouraged by the number of people from London who attended. Chris Duffett came to London in July to host a Big Hearted event which took place on the weekend the Olympics began. Many churches planned and hosted events to coincide with the Olympics and Paralympics having been helped by David Pile who was appointed as LBA Olympics Coordinator.
Northern Administrative enquiries: 0191 273 7641 email@example.com We continued our Association theme of EXPECT with the Spring Assembly, ‘Expectant People’, when John Boyers challenged us to engage in mission as we prepared for the unique opportunities provided by the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics. Our mission partnerships with Texas and Lithuania have been to the fore as we sent teams to both and received a team from Texas to work across several churches. Our team to Texas helped with a holiday club and the one to Lithuania helped with children’s work and English.
North Western Administrative contact: Mandy Howarth 01942 221595 firstname.lastname@example.org We are looking forward with great excitement and anticipation to welcoming Chris Duffett to the region in January. Many churches are already busy preparing their weekends of prayer, outreach and celebration. We pray that God will sustain Chris during this very busy year and keep him safe as he travels the length and breadth of the country. We pray too for our churches as they look for meaningful and creative ways that they can take the Gospel out into their communities.
South Eastern Administrative contact: Steph Tidy 01444 233431 email@example.com Our Evangelism Strategy Group is busy developing a number of activities and resources designed to equip local churches to reach out to their communities. Instead of a single AGM, this year AGMs are being held in our geographical networks as part of local celebrations. The training courses for elders and deacons in conjunction with Spurgeon’s College are now well under way. Our 2012 MAD (Make A Difference) Week is in the autumn half-term holiday and gives young people the opportunity to go away and serve a local church – this year Pulborough Brooks Baptist Church.
South Wales Administrative contact: Jackie Godding 02920 491366 firstname.lastname@example.org Momentum, The Baptist Assembly in Wales, saw around 120 Baptists come from South Wales Baptist Association, Baptist Union of Wales and BMS World Mission. The theme was ‘running the race together’. Presentations focussed on mission at home and overseas. Our guest speaker for Friday was Ben Cooley, CEO of Hope for Justice. Bible studies were led by Revd Dr Karen Smith from South Wales Baptist College and Angus and Helen Douglas, new BMS mission workers from Tabernacle Baptist Church in Penarth. Marc Owen of BUW gave the closing message.
South West Administrative contact: Chris Wooding 01392 433533 email@example.com
Southern Counties Administrative contact: Keith Hawton 023 8041 0691 firstname.lastname@example.org In June over 80 people gathered from across the association at Didcot Baptist Church to consider themes emerging from the BUGB Futures process. In a spirit of both reflective and passionate prayer,
the day included a directly relevant and inspiring presentation of the vision and experience of the five churches of the Cornerstone Cluster in the Cotswolds ‘who share a common faith, leadership and resources, believing that we can accomplish far more by working together than by working alone.’
West of England Administrative contact: Gary McFarlane 0117 965 8828 email@example.com Continuing our focus on Encouraging Missionary Disciples, we are part way through this year’s cluster based ‘3 in 1 Events’, where clusters consider what the mission of God looks like in their area. We are also looking forward to Chris Duffett’s visit as part of his Big Hearted tour in October, when we hope to build on our identity as a network of missionary disciples. It’s all part of working out what it means to work towards being a missional association.
Yorkshire Administrative contact: Debbie Gamble 0113 278 4954 firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff News Regional Eastern Mr Ged Pearce was appointed as the new EBA Treasurer at our Annual Assembly and AGM. East Midlands The Regional Team has changed with Dianne Tidball being joined by Mike Fegredo on a full time basis as Regional Minister from 1 August (previously half time), and Tony Haley joining the team at the beginning of June (half time). Becky Nicholls who was the Association Administrator is now the proud mum of twins Joshua and Emily, and Becky Hardiman is covering her position during her maternity leave. Richard Webb is now Moderator of our directors. Heart of England Andrew Millns left HEBA at the end of August after five years as Regional Minister for North Birmingham & Staffordshire. He and his wife Gwen, Minister at Church of the Redeemer in Edgbaston, are heading off to Bangladesh with BMS World Mission. For a few months they will be based at IMC in Selly Oak which will feel rather strange as thatâ€™s where the HEBA Office is! Andrew will be greatly missed for his gentleness, wisdom and deep spirituality by churches and staff alike. We will be praying for them both on this new adventure of faith. Northern John Singleton, our Regional Minister: Mission Enabler, retired at the end of August after having served us for nine and a half years. Rachael Ezra begins her appointment at the NBA Youth Specialist at the beginning of September. 18
Southern Counties Revd Keith Hawton, who has served as Association Administrator and Company Secretary for 10 years, has announced he will be leaving his post at the end of the year to concentrate on pastoral ministry at North Baddesley. Mrs Patricia Criddle (Office Administrator) retired in August. Patricia had been with the Association since 2007 and was PA to Revd Kathryn Morgan when she was Regional Minister. We thank God for both Keith and Patricia and wish them well for the future. West of England In May we said goodbye to Lesley Wynne, who had served in the Association Office since 1998, when it was the office of the Bristol and District Baptist Association. Ruth Whiter has expanded her role to include general office admin as well as communications.
Communications Amanda Allchorn Head of Department
Introduction As I write this there is a significant period of change ahead. Apart from our usual work in the Department, the Futures Process (Page 12) has also taken up time as we communicate and make available reports through our various channels. Two major elements of the Futures Process include rediscovering our unique identity and enabling local churches to network and build relationships effectively. The new BUGB film Being Baptist - Called, Gathered, Sent and our Top Tips guides will enable your church to reflect on what it means to “be Baptist”, and improve your Communications plans and capability. Alongside this we’ve been preparing resources for Home Mission promotion and the Just Imagine Project. Being Baptist – Called, Gathered, Sent Filmed in and around Northampton, Being Baptist celebrates the history of British Baptists and reflects on who we are today. Many attending our churches do not have Baptist roots, so this film is perfect to share with new members; it also complements the Baptist Basics series available from the BUGB Online Store. Watch the film online at www.youtube.com/baptistuniongb (DVD copies will be sent to church ministers). Top Tips – Communications Planning Why not place ‘Communications Planning’ on the agenda for your leadership/church meetings this autumn. A regular review of how you communicate through your website, social media, newsletters, and local media is essential – many people will gain their understanding of your church through your church website and the media you use. Our Top Tips can help guide and equip you in developing your communications, go to www.baptist.org.uk/top-tips.html You can also access Media Training at www.
baptisttimes.co.uk/index.php/media-training New Legacy Programme A brand new Baptist Union Legacy Programme is being launched this autumn, giving people the opportunity to consider leaving a Gift – however large or small – in their Will to enable the visions and dreams of others within the Baptist family to become a reality. For more information go to www.baptist.org.uk/home-mission.html The Baptist Times Since launching in April, the new Baptist Times website has had over 100,000 page views and around 20,000 unique visitors. The website enables us to provide instant reporting, most notably at the Baptist Assembly where for the first time we were able to publish daily reports of the sessions. We have regular stories from Baptist churches, as well as national and international news; and both our Weekly News Round-up and Daily News Sweep continue to grow in subscribers. We’ve drawn together more than 30 people to contribute Comment pieces, including John Rackley and Jonathan Langley who wrote for the newspaper, and new writers like Sally Claydon who offers down to earth reflections on leading a Girls’ Brigade group at a Baptist church in Essex. We also aim each Thursday to post a prayer relevant to a current news item or event. We posted a prayer especially for the Baptist Union Council meeting in June; this received many hits and was shared across several blogs and through social media. So thank you for visiting the site www.baptisttimes.co.uk Please contact Paul Hobson at email@example.com with any stories, writing submissions or suggested areas that you feel would be helpful to those in ministry. 19
Home Mission supports, equips and empowers
Just Imagine... helping other churches to receive guidance, pastoral support, and training I was inducted in November 2011 having been called by Shoeburyness & Thorpe Bay Baptist Church to be their Lead Pastor. But the search began a year earlier when, in September 2010, Sheila Martin, Regional Minister with the Eastern Baptist Association (EBA), met with the leadership team to talk through the settlement process and offer the benefit of her experience and advice as the church discerned the best way forward. Association guidance: finding a new pastor. The assistance provided by EBA for finding a new pastor was vital. Sheila helped the church to understand the feelings and emotions that they might experience, and the process that would begin to unfold as the search began. This encouraged everyone to seek God together for direction and support one another through the coming changes. Always with unfailing patience and wisdom, Sheila was on hand to answer questions and provide guidance.
Association support: developing pastors. As a leadership team we have been able to access a host of resources through our regional association. We’ve attended the Pastor’s Conference and enjoyed building relationships with ministers and churches across our region. Our Youth & Children’s Pastor is being helped by the association’s mentoring provision and EBA have provided regional training days, retreat days, and networking opportunities amongst ministers. We’re all continually learning and it is great to have opportunities to do that with
others in the region. Association training: share our faith with our community. Throughout autumn 2011 we called all our small groups together on Tuesday evenings to take part in a series of sessions to look at how we share our faith with our family, neighbours and colleagues. Over 120 people took part in the six sessions led by Sheila Martin. We looked at listening skills and how we share our own stories – and the Gospel – with the people we meet. Each week we heard from Sheila and then broke into smaller groups for discussion. At the end of each session we were given a small task to do over the following week which challenged us all to try new things and speak to new people. Coming from outside our situation, and seeing trends and experiences across many churches, enabled Sheila to challenge and inspire us in a new way and we’re looking forward to seeing how this all bears fruit in our lives as 2012 progresses. As a church, and as a staff team, we have been very blessed by the work of our Home Mission funded regional association over the past year. They have been at the other end of the phone for all sorts of questions and queries, offering us much encouragement and friendship. It isn’t just small churches that are blessed by Home Mission but larger churches too and we count ourselves very blessed indeed. We’ve been inspired by the recent Home Mission appeals to give at least 5% of our income to support this ongoing work, and have agreed to meet that commitment as a sign of our appreciation and because we want others to be blessed as well! Revd David Mayne, Minister Shoeburyness & Thorpe Bay Baptist Church www.shoeburybaptistchurch.org.uk
Home Mission supports, equips and empowers
Just Imagine... helping churches to put their plans into action
In 2005 the future for Kidderminster Baptist Church, Franche Road looked bleak. The story was a familiar one, a declining and aging congregation, wondering where they could turn for help. But a church away day that year enabled them to hear God’s heart for the area. Finances were tight and that’s where Home Mission stepped in. A grant allowed them to appoint a Minister-in-Training in 2006 and, looking back, we see how Home Mission has enabled the church to follow God’s leading. This was a big step for me, my wife Louise and our ten month old twin boys but I soon grew to realise that this was an even bigger step of faith for the church! Hugely sacrificial giving by the members, calling a Minister half the age of anyone in recent memory, and being willing to ‘try new things’ were all on the agenda as God began to breathe new life into the church and the community. Slowly and surely, the church began to take on a new shape. God opened two specific new areas of ministry, children’s work and Alpha. Louise brought her musical skills alongside an existing member and formed a musical toddler group, TotsRock. 14 children in week one, 28 in week two and, within a month, the session was full with 50 children. A second (full!) session was quickly established. Alpha enabled existing members to be re-inspired by God and then, later on, enabled many more people within our local community to explore faith. God then opened doors for me to offer weekly assemblies and an after-school club to two of
our local primary schools and suddenly most of the children and their parents were aware of this small church at the heart of its community. With the help of a substantial legacy, the church employed a part-time Children & Families Worker and, at the beginning of 2012, began a new fortnightly tea-time ‘FunTastic Church’, bringing in completely new families into a midweek church. The first baptism in over 15 years happened after the first Alpha course and this has been followed by six more as Christians of all ages declare their new found faith in Christ. And despite many of those original aging members passing away, the church has doubled in size on a Sunday, gained a regular 50 people at ‘FunTastic Church’ and has become an encouraging participant within our local community. An away day in 2005 for a church struggling to find vision and only just being able to support a part-time Minister has grown into one that was able to call me full-time in 2010. The legacy we received also enabled us to pay back to Home Mission nearly all that we had received during my time in college. But as we look back to that time in 2005 when the church met to discern the mind of Christ, it was God that enabled the vision, and it was Home Mission that helped put the plan into action. Thank you to all churches who have given to Home Mission and so, indirectly, enabled God’s vision to become a reality in Kidderminster at our church. Be encouraged! God is still in the business of leading, and together we can help each other follow his mission for the church. Revd Simon Gudger, Minister Kidderminster Baptist Church www.kidderminsterbaptist.com
Finance Philip Putman Head of Department
Introduction The staff in the Finance Office are always available to assist churches and ministers with many topics ranging from loans and gift aid to pensions and deposits. Taxation queries are often forwarded to the Honorary Taxation Advisor, Philip Cooke, and many of the frequently asked questions appear in this, and every issue of Transform. 2012 Home Mission Stipend The Trustees fixed the Home Mission Stipend for 2012 at £20,000, an increase of 1.78% on the 2011 Stipend. The Manse Value used in the pensionable income calculation for ministerial members of the Baptist Pension Scheme was set at £6,000 from 1 January 2012. 2013 Home Mission Stipend The Trustees have fixed the Home Mission Stipend for 2013 at £20,700, an increase of 3.5% on the 2011 Stipend. The Manse Value used in the pensionable income calculation for ministerial members of the Baptist Pension Scheme will remain at £6,000 from 1 January 2013. Deposit rates The Baptist Union Corporation currently (from 1 April 2012) pays interest at 0.90% on money deposited by churches in the Baptist Union Loan Fund. The current rate can be found on the Union’s website in the Finance & Legal area. The deposits assist the provision of loans to churches, and are welcomed by the Corporation. Loan rates The Baptist Union Corporation is willing to lend at 3.80% (from 1 April 2012) to churches buying, extending or renovating buildings 22
or manses, subject to suitable repayment arrangements being in place. This rate is also subject to change in line with national interest rates. The current rate can be found on the Union’s website in the Finance & Legal area. Mileage rates During 2011, the Government announced an increase to the recommended mileage rates as from 6 April 2011. For the first 10,000 miles in each tax year, the rate is 45p and for mileage over 10,000 the rate is 25p. Charity Numbers Many churches assume that as they are in membership of the Baptist Union they are able to use the registered charity numbers for the Baptist Union Corporation and the Baptist Union of Great Britain. This is not the case. Also, churches should not use the registered charity number of their local Association. Churches are currently regarded as ‘excepted charities’ under section 30 (2) (b) of the Charities Act 2011 and will not have their own registered number, unless they have been required to register due to their income level. The Government have extended the ‘Excepting Regulations’ until 2014, pending a decision on whether to lower the registration threshold of £100,000. Those churches that have registered due to their level of income should quote the number issued to them by the Charity Commission. BAPTIST PENSION SCHEME Sick Leave Treasurers are reminded that if their ministers, or other staff members who are members of the Baptist Pension Scheme, have been continuously absent from work due to illness or injury for 4 weeks, it is important that the
Pensions Office are notified immediately so that they can in turn notify the Insurance Company. This is important because of the income protection requirements. Delay in notifying the Pensions Office will result in the Insurance Company delaying the date on which income protection payments can be made, thus adversely affecting the member’s benefits. Members of the Scheme are also reminded that if they resign from service with the employer because of their ill-health, they are no longer eligible for the income protection payments.
cover all the tax relief being claimed on all the charitable donations made by a donor in a tax year and not just those made to a particular charity. HMRC requires that declarations by existing donors must be in place in the revised format not later than 31st December 2012.
Return of forms It is important that members return the forms sent to them by the Pensions Office. These forms can include your Declaration of Pensionable Income and the forms required by the Pensions Office prior to your retirement. Failure to return these forms on time could result in lower contributions into your pension pot or a delay in collecting your pension and any lump sum due on retirement.
I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of income tax and/or capital gains tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Association Sports Clubs that I donate to will receive on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT or Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 28p of tax on every £1 that I give up to 5 April 2008 and will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give on or after 6 April 2008.
Compiled by Philip Cooke FCA, Honorary Taxation Adviser to the Baptist Union Gift Aid matters are once again in the news. Gift Aid Relief Declarations: A change has been made to the format of the Gift Aid Relief declaration in order to make clear that sufficient income tax and/or capital gains tax has or will be paid to
The revised declaration form contains the following essential wording and the web link to HMRC’s standard form is http:// www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/appendix_ b1.pdf
Small Charitable Donations: The Government has now introduced the Small Charitable Donations Bill which will enable Charities to a claim a ‘gift-aid style’ top-up payment on small cash donations (of up to £20 each) where it is not possible to obtain a Gift Aid declaration. Charities will be able to claim a top-up payment on up to £5,000 of small donations (equivalent at a 20% basic tax rate to £1,250) in each tax year commencing 6 April 2013. In order to be eligible to claim a top-up payment a charity • must have been in existence for at least three years and have made at least
Finance three Gift Aid relief claims in the previous seven years; and • must have made a Gift Aid relief claim on donations made under Gift Aid declarations in the same year of at least 50% of the small donations upon which top-up relief is being claimed (eg if the maximum top-up payment of £1,250 is to be claimed on small donations of £5,000 then there must also be Gift Aid donations of at least £2,500 in the same year). A charity incurring a penalty under the Gift Aid Relief or the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) (eg for an inappropriate or incorrect claim) will be excluded from making a claim under GASDS for the tax year in question and the following two years, though any such exclusion will not affect Gift Aid relief claims. There are also rules governing charities ‘connected’ with one another as well as provisions which permit additional top-up payments in the case of charities, such as national charities, which run charitable activities in local community buildings. Neither of these provisions are likely to affect independent Baptist churches. The provisions governing the administration and operation of the top-up payment scheme will be the subject of regulations yet to be announced but will obviously include auditing requirements which, in the case of churches, may require ‘loose cash’ offerings to be distinguished from cash in envelopes and, possibly, a coinage analysis - if only to distinguish £50 notes from others! It will also be necessary to demonstrate an ‘audit trail’ of cash donations paid into a UK bank account. Whilst it is intended that GASD claims will be dealt with on a tax-year basis, HMRC has said that it does not think 24
it necessary to switch Gift Aid Relief claims (currently made on an accounting year basis in the case of unincorporated associations like Baptist churches) to a tax-year basis. I have put it to HMRC that this could lead to operational difficulties for both HMRC and churches. Further details in due course. PAYE scheme - Real Time Information project HMRC reports, in the light of the experience gained in pilot trials, that the RTI project is on course for implementation in tax year 2013-14 despite misgivings expressed by several bodies. Full details of what will be involved have still be to be made clear but, essentially, employers will be required to submit (via the internet) details of pay and tax etc at the time payment is made to an employee. The quid pro quo for this is that there will be no end of year returns. How this will affect the existing facility for the payment of tax and NIC deductions on a quarterly basis remains to be seen but it seems probable that these will also have to be made monthly and most likely electronically. The whole purpose of the project is to provide HMRC with ‘real time’ data with a view to avoiding delays in rectifying errors which currently only come to light following the filing of end of year returns - but one wonders at how great a cost! Once again, further details will follow when they become known. And now a selection of some recent Qs & As: Payment to minister on taking up appointment: Q: Can we give a tax-free gift to help our new minister with his impending move to us? A: ‘Golden hellos’, as they are called, are
taxable as remuneration. However, up to a limit of £8,000 help can be given towards “qualifying” relocation expenses which, as well as the costs of removal also include items such as stamp duty and agents’ fees where a minister provides his own house. See para. 8-1 of Taxation Guidelines for Churches & Ministers (doc. F5 on BU website), noting especially that a ‘roundsum’ allowance is not permissible and any payment must be against identifiable items of “qualifying” expenses. Rental income received for lease of property to the church: Q: Is the rent which we (minister and spouse) receive from our church for the lease of our property free of tax in the same way as the provision of a churchowned manse is free of tax? A: The answer is ‘No’! The rental income is taxable (like any other investment income) in the hands of the minister (and spouse if the property is jointly owned), though the annual value of the benefit provided by the church in making the accommodation available to the minister for use as a manse is exempt from tax in the same way that the annual value of a church-owned manse is also exempt. Deductions can, of course, be claimed from the rental income for any allowable expenses, such as loan interest and repairs and maintenance (see following Q&A) but it should perhaps be mentioned that there have been renewed suggestions (not yet from the Government or HMRC) that relief should no longer be given for loan interest in the case of ‘buy to let’ property. Expenses deductible from rental income received from a church: Q: Can we deduct from the rental income we receive for the lease of our property to
the church the cost of such items as new double-glazed windows, a replacement boiler, the upgrading of bathroom and kitchen equipment and the replacement of dining room furniture? A: If the terms of the lease provide that it is the landlord’s responsibility then the costs of any repairs and maintenance of the property will be deductible, but not capital expenditure or improvements of a capital nature. It also needs to be remembered that the lease to the church is of unfurnished property so that items like the replacement of furniture will certainly not be deductible. HMRC has said that the replacement of damaged or worn out structural items (including, for example, the replacement of windows by doubleglazed units) will be treated as repairs but the complete upgrading of a bathroom or kitchen is likely to be regarded as an improvement. Further guidance can be obtained from the relevant section of the HMRC manual (in particular, the paragraphs towards the end headed ‘Repairs to Let Property’) , the link to which is: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/ pimmanual/PIM2020.htm - but if in doubt one should check out the position with HMRC in advance. Manse telephone: Q: Our minister asked for the manse telephone account to be in her name and requested the church to make a fixed monthly contribution towards the cost. Do we need to show this on the form P11D as a benefit? A: Yes you do - with the consequence that the whole amount of the contribution will have to be treated as a taxable benefit, against which the minister is only able to claim the cost of identifiable churchbusiness calls. If, however, the church 25
Finance provides the phone and is the account holder, the exemption for a ‘workplace’ telephone would be available. Please refer to paras. 1.13 & 1.14 of the Taxation Guidance Notes for further details. Gift or loan to minister for new car: Q: Can we make a tax-free gift to our minister towards the cost of a new car which is needed for church-business purposes or, if this is not possible, can we make him an interest-free loan? A: A gift would have to be treated as additional pay and so be chargeable to income tax and NICs but you could make an interest-free loan of up to £5,000 without this giving rise to any taxable benefit. If the loan exceeds £5,000 then there would be a taxable benefit equal (at the current interest rate) to 4% pa on the outstanding amount of the loan. If part or all of the loan is subsequently written off there would then be a charge to income tax and NICs. Provision of manse for non-stipendiary minister: Q: Our new pastor will be serving us in a non-stipendiary capacity but we have agreed to provide him with a manse. Will this and the payment of council tax and water charges give rise to any taxable benefit? A: No - there will be no taxable benefit provided the Terms of Appointment contain the usual clause stating “that the church will provide manse accommodation for the better performance of the minister’s duties”. You do not indicate whether your pastor is serving in a full-time or part-time capacity. HMRC’s official view is that the tax exemption in respect of provided accommodation applies only to full-time ministers but in cases 26
with which I have been involved I have successfully contended that whilst the circumstances of a church might mean that a minister can only be employed in a part-time capacity he/she is nonetheless required to be available to respond to the needs of the congregation at all times and accommodation must be provided accordingly. Reimbursed manse light and heat expenses: Q: We are somewhat confused as to where reimbursed manse light and heat expenses have to be entered on the form P11D filed online. A: The entry is required in section N (reimbursed expenses) of the printed form but the online route is ‘Miscellaneous’ and then ‘Reimbursed expenses’. The minister will then need to show the amount reimbursed in box 17 of the MoR pages and make a claim for up to 25% of the total light and heat expenses in box 25.
These notes are issued for general guidance only. The author or publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss occasioned to any persons acting or refraining from action as a result of material contained herein. If you are in any doubt about the correct treatment of any matter you should seek further professional advice. I am, however, prepared to respond to questions of a general nature on a similar ’no responsibility’ basis and my e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to prevent emails being treated as ’spam’ please state under ’Subject’ the name of your church plus the words ‘Church tax enquiry‘.
Legal and Property Issues Linda Holder Manager of the Baptist Union Corporation
Introduction From time to time we receive good news – and less good news! We received good news about the extension of the Excepting Regulations. We entirely understand that this is not something you immediately think of as a reason to celebrate - but we think it is good news. It confirms that for the next couple of years the annual income level that triggers charity registration for churches will remain at £100,000. We continue to support churches – and the information about Principal Regulators is included because we expect this role to develop in future. There are few details available now, but we are planning to adapt and develop our work to support churches and their future needs. For the longer term – we now have the Cabinet report from Lord Hodgson that will affect charities. We are considering the details, but anticipate that the threshold for charity registration for churches will be reduced within the next 5 years. This is not a surprise but we realise this will involve a lot of work for us and many of our churches. We have included some information about this report and will circulate more information when we have more details about the way Government has responded to the report. Charity Registration - Extension of Excepting Regulations It is now generally well known that churches with an annual income that exceeds £100,000 are required to register with the Charity Commission. Churches with an income below this level are currently excepted from the requirement to register. We have been informed by the Cabinet Office that they intend to extend the
excepting regulations for religious charities to 31 March 2014; they had been due to expire on 1 October 2012. Principal Regulators and Umbrella Bodies As a result of cuts to its funding the Charity Commission is looking for ways to target its resources more effectively. The Commission would like Umbrella Bodies to act in future as the Principal Regulator for charities associated with it. It is not yet clear what this will mean in practice but the Baptist Union has been asked by the Commission whether or not we would be prepared in principle to undertake this role for Baptist churches. The Baptist Union Corporation already offers advice and guidance to churches on charity law; we have indicated to the Commission that, with some reservations, we would be prepared to enter discussions about undertaking the Principal Regulator role for our churches. This is a necessary step but it is not yet clear whether it would be the Baptist Union, the BU Corporation or Associations who would need to take the lead role. It is anticipated that further information will be made available later in 2012. The Baptist Union was invited to respond to the Government Consultation; this included an opportunity to participate in a meeting of the denominations with Lord Hodgson and a written response was submitted to the Cabinet Office Consultation. This included our feedback on the role of Umbrella Bodies (Principal Regulators). Lord Hodgson’s Review of the Charities Act During 2012 Lord Hodgson has undertaken a review of the Charities Act on behalf of the Government. The review is available online here: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov. 27
Legal and Property Issues uk/sites/default/files/resources/Review-of-theCharities-Act-2006.pdf Lord Hodgson has recommended that the current income threshold for charity registration for excepted charities is reduced in phases. It now seems likely that churches with an annual income over £50,000 will be required to register with the Charity Commission from 2014. Lord Hodgson has recommended that registrations are staggered so that by 2017 all churches with an annual income over £25,000 will have registered. It is recommended that any unregistered church that would like to review their current constitution uses the BUGB Approved Governing Document since this will provide a sound basis for charity registration when it does become a legal requirement. BUC guideline leaflets are available to assist with this. Lord Hodgson commented on the long delayed implementation of the new legal structure for charities, the CIO (charitable incorporated organisation): “the secondary legislation that will create CIOs will soon be laid before Parliament and, pending Parliamentary approval, should be operational by the autumn. This is very welcome progress, if not before time”. We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates when they are available. Updated Guidance on Employment Issues The BUC guideline leaflet C12 Employment has been reviewed and updated by our solicitors in the light of the Equality Act and changes to retirement regulations. Alongside these changes we have also updated the Christian Ethos Audit workbook 28
which was previously available from BUGB Publications. This is now a guideline leaflet C28 Christian Ethos Audit and is available to download from the BUGB website. Churches that need to consider whether or not a particular job role requires a Christian should use this leaflet in order to ensure that an occupational requirement can be adequately justified from a legal perspective. Asbestos Regulations The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force on 6 April 2012. They revoke and re-enact, with some modifications, the 2006 Regulations and impose a ‘duty to manage’ asbestos in all non-domestic buildings. The BUC guideline leaflet C15 Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations has been updated. Church Websites and Cookies New legal regulations are now in force which govern how websites use and store cookies. Churches with websites will need to ensure that they have understood and responded to these regulations. Detailed advice and guidance can be found on the Information Commissioner’s website at www.ico.gov.uk Alterations to Listed Buildings and the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme The Chancellor announced in the Budget 2012 that he was withdrawing the zero-rate of VAT on alterations to listed buildings. As compensation the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme has been extended to include alterations as well as repairs and has been given an extra £30m for each remaining year of the present Parliament. The Chancellor gave an undertaking that the grant would be paid at 100%, not at below 50% as in recent months. The LPWGS website has been (and will be) updated to take account of the new situation.
Safeguarding Maeve Whitchurch Interim Safeguarding Administrator
There have been a number of changes over the past few weeks and some important ones about to take place very soon that will affect us all. The law is changing regarding CRBs and you will now need to make sure that anyone working in ‘regulated activity’ has a current enhanced CRB disclosure. It is increasingly important that churches follow the guidelines on safer recruiting. You can find more info in Section 12 on page 44 of Safe to Grow (6th edition 2011). Even with careful recruiting it is still vitally important that people are not left unsupervised; Safe to Grow emphasises that you should not work alone and this continues to be an important part of good practice working. The minimum age for CRBs will be 16; any helper under that age needs to be supervised. What you write on the CRB as a job title will be changing and you will need to simply put either working with children or vulnerable adults. Please see the online leaflet for more info www.homeoffice.gov.uk/disclosure-andbarring-leaflet Online applications are being worked on and the CAS Ebulk scheme will be ready for 2013. From December 2012 the CRB and ISA are merging into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). While it is important that we make sure people hold a current CRB disclosure, please remember that many people who have or are seeking to abuse are unlikely to have a criminal record; this means their CRB disclosure will come back clear and highlights the need to recruit safely and ensure supervision and procedures follow good practice.
Churches are places where children and young people can be found in a friendly welcoming environment where the integration of all ages is encouraged. This means that they are target places for those wishing to harm or abuse young people. Remember that in the majority of abuse cases the abuser was known to their victim. The new child protection training is now complete; you should have received the first level in the form of a DVD – I hope you found it to be a useful resource. Please can I encourage you to schedule a time to see it; it is designed to make the whole church aware of the need to take safeguarding seriously and can be shown in a church service. Level 2 training is for Ministers, Elders, deacons, the designated person for Safeguarding and all Children’s and Youth workers. Level 3 is for Ministers, Elders, deacons and the designated person for Safeguarding. Level 2 and 3 are designed to be delivered by a trainer – please contact your association to help you with training at your church. There is also a section about staying safe for children and young people which is Level 2a; this is age relevant and is designed to be used within the setting of a Sunday/midweek activity. Thank you for taking safeguarding seriously, it takes the vigilance of all to ensure the safety of the vulnerable. If you have queries please send emails to email@example.com or phone 01235 517719. If you do not get an immediate reply be assured that we will contact you as soon as we can.
Saturday 13 October: Younger Leaders’ Forum Missing: Have you seen this generation? Age 1830 years old. Birmingham. See www.baptist.org.uk/ events.html for details.
15 September: Footsteps Training Course is launched. East Midlands Mission shaped ministry from 29 September. CBA Volunteer Scheme continues to be piloted in Northants.
29 September: Special EBA Assembly re the Futures Process, venue tbc. 6 October: Becoming your Community’s Heartbeat at Burwell BC led by Rural Ministries Safeguarding Training scheduled for: 27 October: Bluntisham BC, Cambs. 3 November: Witard Road BC, Norwich. 3 November: Harlow Fore Street BC. 16 November: Ormesby BC, Norfolk.
2 September: Commissioning Service West Bridgford BC (18:30). 26–28 September: EMBA Ministers’ Conference, The Hayes, Swanwick. 13 October: Safeguarding Training, Fleckney BC. 17 November: Association Day, Bretton BC. Sept–Nov 2012: ‘Investing in Leaders’ workshops. Further details and booking info from administrator@ embaptists.co.uk
Heart of England
7 October: The Big Sing, Westgate, Newcastle 8 October: Preacher Training Event 3 November: NBA Assembly 4 November: NBA Sunday and Ministry Exchange
14-16 September: Impact Young Peoples Activity Weekend, Quinta, Shropshire. 30 September: Merseyside Roadshow. 6 October: Forum & Evening Celebration, Lancaster Baptist Church. 10-13 January 2013: Big Hearted Evangelism Tour with Chris Duffett.
8 September: Training Day for HM Reps, Tonbridge BC. Contact Revd Paul Kerley. 14 October: n:vision ADORE at Warden Park School, Cuckfield. Details from Maeve Whitchurch. 25 October: Newly Accredited Ministers’ Day at Tonbridge BC. Contact Revd Paul Kerley. 27 October – 2 November: MAD (Make A Difference) Week at Pulborough Brooks BC. Details from Maeve Whitchurch.
2 October: Leaders’ Day with Neil Hudson of LICC on Whole Life Discipleship, Cardiff. 6 October: training in street evangelism including practical sessions, Blackwood. 9-12 November: Big Hearted Tour
22 September: Multicultural Church: From Vision to Reality. Contact Wale Hudson-Roberts on 01235 517725 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Colin Norris on 07725 039943 or email@example.com 27 November: Leaders Day and AGM
24 September: A day with BUGB President Chris Duffett for ministers/church leaders at Catshill BC. For info call 0121 472 4986. Group Celebrations: 2 September at Dawley, 4 November at Kings Community Church Conversation evenings: 9 October at Highgate, 22 October at Pershore
25 September, 16 October and 6 November: ‘Celebrating Dissent’ at Bristol Baptist College. 29 September: Toddler Group Rocks event. 12-15 October: Big Hearted Tour
8 September: Farewell Celebration for John Singleton at Stockton Tabernacle 15 September & 13 October: ‘Engaging with Contemporary Culture: Living in God’s Word’ TiMM Course
West of England
7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership, presented by Next Leadership 15 September, 3 November, 12 January 2013 and 16 March. Call 01484 225716 or see www.on-course. co/7deadlysins
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Call us today on 0845 070 2223 quoting BUBG12 and ask us to quote for your home insurance cover to find out for yourself. Or visit www.baptist-insurance.co.uk Source: Baptist Insurance Customer Opinion Survey 2011 The Baptist Insurance Company PLC. Registered in England No. 83597. Registered Office: Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. FSA registration number 202032. A member of the Association of British Insurers and the Financial Ombudsman Service.