We were delighted that over 60 Treasurers, Churchwardens, PCC members and Clergy attended the first diocesan conference on how to improve your church's finances. They were supported by over 30 diocesan staff and volunteers meaning that St Augustine’s was filled with 100 people all united in finding out more about living generously. Our 'Building a generous church' conference was led by Archdeacon Rhiannon King, Inspiring Ipswich and the Diocesan Parish Resources staff and supported by a wonderful team of staff and volunteers.
On the first very hot day of the year we enjoyed inspiring keynote speeches from:
- Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood, National Advisor for Giving and Income Generation, Church of England
- Bridget McIntyre, Social entrepreneur, and former High Sheriff of Suffolk
- The Revd Al Metcalfe, Vicar of St Augustine's Ipswich and Chair of Oasis Centre, Gorton.
This was followed by a selection of nine specialist workshop on topics such as: creating a financial strategy; parish share; giving and generosity dilemmas; financial MOTs; Parish Giving Scheme; running a stewardship campaign; raising money for mission and ministry; church grants and digital giving.
Gary Peverley said, “This was a great opportunity to explore what generosity looks like. The event offered networking with others as well as a chance to learn practical solutions to try out in parishes. My takeaway from the conference is that God is generous, and we should have the confidence to talk about money and ask for donations to support mission and ministry. The conference had such a positive feel, and my hope is that those who attended feel supported by the information available as well as inspired by the brilliant keynote speakers.”
Worship and prayer was led by Bishop Martin, Andrew Gosden and the Revd Charlotte Cook, and the event included presentations, workshops, exhibition stands, a Christian bookshop and a parish resource desk. Hospitality was arranged by volunteers from St Thomas’ Church in Ipswich with a wonderful buffet served including some much needed drinks, choc ices and fruit to keep everyone hydrated for the day.
In response to the conference, we have received great feedback with 74% rating it as ‘excellent’ and 18% as ‘good’, including comments such as, “Phenomenal day of focus on a Godly model of church/ministry generosity” and “Inspirational, welcoming, needed, great speakers.”
We also asked people what they plan to do following the conference and one said, “Investigate digital giving and thank all those who currently give regularly” and another said, “Speak to our PCC about what I’ve learned and share it, and give access to all the resources with the other seven parishes in the benefice”.
Archdeacon Rhiannon said, “We had an ambitious plan to support as many parishes and worshipping communities as possible in one day - helping them to find out how to improve their church finances. I am thankful to all those who enabled it to happen, from our inspiring speakers, those who led workshops and those helping and volunteering. I am in awe of the commitment shown by so many people who came along, on such a warm day, to learn about stewardship and talk about generosity. I am praying that the learning can be shared with others, and everyone can benefit from the knowledge taken away from the day.”
All resource materials from the day can be accessed on our website here.
Please feel free to contact our Parish Resources Team to receive further support. You can find their details and more information on our website here.