Summer is the time to encourage advanced planning and adequate preparation for the autumn. September will most likely bring increased activity and busy-ness as well as new visitors to your church. What a crucial time in the annual lifecycle of a church! To help you prepare, here are UCAN’s top 10 tips for your autumn planning, helping you be at your best for ‘game time’ in September…
On 25 May this year GDPR legislation became law and many churches will have spent a good deal of time and energy trying to ensure that both their members and others had signed the appropriate forms and given the appropriate permissions to store and use their personal data. See our related paper on GDPR implementation here (link).
But now the deadline has come and gone, I wonder how much time and thought has gone into what happens next?
With apologies to all those of you who have sent cheques to pay for subscriptions or other services. We are currently experiencing difficulties with our postal provider and you may find the cheque you have sent is returned to you. If you need to pay for your subscription by cheque please send it to the Treasurer, 2 Garridge Close, Albrighton, Nr. Wolverhampton WV7 3PZ. We hope to resolve this issue as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
(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!)
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.
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.