Only the Brave ... came to the UCAN Seminar at Spring Harvest

(Only the Brave – Determined Discipleship – was the overarching theme for Spring Harvest 2018, plumbing the depths of the book of James to discover some very real challenges and wisdom in this section of Scripture.)

Andy Bagwell and I were thrilled to meet up with a good number of church administrators and managers at both Minehead and Skegness …….. some of whom were UCAN members (thank you for coming!), and some of whom weren’t (quite!)

We took a look at the new UCAN – for the benefit of those who hadn’t come across the network before – and then broke into small groups to discuss the most usual feedback points from administrators about their role (‘Sundays are a nightmare’!), and from Ministers about administration (‘I lack administrative support’!) 

Those attending found great comfort in knowing that their challenges were generally common to church administration itself, and in realising the benefit of sharing wisdom and practice with one another!  Many stayed at the end of the designated time to discuss specific tasks which were challenging them at the time.  Hopefully the name and potential of UCAN to support and strengthen practical church life around the nation is now a little more widely known and appreciated!  UCAN members – please keep spreading the word!! (Oh, and see you next year at Spring Harvest!)

Your local group would love to see you!

When an annual conference, area training days, website, written resources, distance learning and forums still don’t meet all your needs…….then we have something right on your doorstep!

As church administrators, we spend much of our time at our desks and computers.  We have a wealth of information at our fingertips, connectivity beyond our predecessors’ wildest dreams…..and yet nothing quite beats meeting up with others in similar roles nearby to exchange experiences, swap tips and solutions, and provide that very personal encouragement which only a meeting of local folk can achieve!

There are now 23 small groups on our list, located from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, from  Manchester to Kent……and more in the pipeline.  Interested?  Then please do get in touch to see if we can put you in touch with an existing group in your area.  If there isn’t (yet!), then please do let us help to identify other UCAN members in your area to see if we can get a new group up and running.  We’re happy to put you in touch with others, help to shape or provide personal input into an initial meeting to get this off the ground, and be available to advise and support thereafter.

Stop press: Coventry and Reading have emerging groups…….contact Isabel or Joyce if you’re interested in knowing more, or helping to make this happen!

"*G*rief! *D*on't! *P*anic! *R*elax ..."

We're already seeing lots of churches work out how to implement their GDPR documents and do their audit. Software systems that are used by churches have been a big part of this, but are being implemented differently and with various approaches that are proving unhelpful for some.

First, please don't panic. 25th May is the day when legislation comes into place, but practically May 26th will feel very much like May 25th and May 24th. Armageddon has not arrived, but an obligation to be looking after our data well and with good, accountable, stewardship, has arrived.

By now, you should have:

  • read through a guide to GDPR (see our excellent article by logging into your UCAN MyChurchSuite account and clicking on the GDPR tab.
  • done a data audit through your office systems, and down through any teams or delegated groups that are delivering ministry in the church
  • worked out how you would practically deliver a request for removal or viewing of the data you hold
  • think through how you can engage with members of the congregation(s) to positively see what you hold on their behalf - it's an excellent opportunity to talk about accountability, ask about being part of a small group or serving team, and whether the gift-aid record for them is correct.
  • Diary an annual review to check that what you think is in place is still in place, and that this audit reconnects/reminds people who may be holding data on behalf of your church.

Going forwards, operating GDPR compliance and requests has a similar workload and responsibility to safeguarding. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have the documentation under review each year, the processes running and reported to the senior management/pastors of your church, and ensuring that gaining people's explicit consent for their contact/personal information to be stored within your records is happening for each new person coming into your church congregation.

If you need help, please contact us - you are not alone.

Taunton Deane and Area Local Group

The group met on 21st March to say thank you and farewell to Ruth Cook who has very ably led the Taunton Deane group for the last number of years.  

The only issue discussed was the new GDPR regulations coming in shortly and the impact on records currently being held, particularly for pastoral reasons.  We all seem to have been given differing advice so this topic will continue to be relevant and on agendas at future meetings.

Ruth thanked everyone present for their support and expressed the hope the group will continue to meet as it is a valued source of fellowship and support for those involved in church administration.  On behalf of UCAN we thank Ruth for all her hard work in setting up the local group, keeping it running and wish her all the best for her future.  

Area Training Days - Book now!

As you will know from previous UCAN News Updates we are currently on our third series of Area Training Days with the theme of 'Administration: biblical and creative'.  The dates for the Spring are as follows:

  • 17th April at Orangefield Presbyterian, Belfast;
  • 2nd May at King's House Conference Centre, Manchester:
  • 15th May at St Michael's, Stoke Gifford.

Each day will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm and includes lunch and training materials.  John Truscott will delivering the training and we are grateful to UCAN member churches hosting us at each venue.

These days offer training relevant to your role as a Church Administrator and the opportunity to network with others working in similar positions to yours within a region.  The can give you great encouragement as well as new insights into your work.  Your attendance encourages others, especially those working in lonely positions.

Full details and booking are available on the website and we look forward to seeing you at one of the Area Training Days.