UCAN News Update 17:1    

Welcome to the first of our 2017 issues of this bimonthly email keeping you in touch with UCAN news.  You also receive automatic notifications of news items from the ‘UCAN News’ page of the website (unless you have turned this setting off on your computer).  These go out every two or so weeks at 10.00 am. on Mondays.

We launch Area Training Days series 3

We have now completed two series of Area Training Days during the periods 2011-13 (series 1 in ten venues around the UK) and 2014-16 (series 2 in 14 venues).  This coming May we launch series 3.  The first events will be held at:

Birmingham – Thursday 4th May

St Albans – Tuesday 9th May

Guildford – Wednesday 17th May


These will then be followed by:

Nottingham – Thursday 6th July and other venues in 2017 and 2018.


The theme of this third series will be Administration: biblical and creative.  We are taking a good look at the biblical basis for the work we do with the aim of informing and encouraging everyone engaged in this specialised ministry.

Details will go on the website in late January when booking opens, and members working close to these venues will receive personal invitations early in February.

Here are some comments from the response forms at the final series 2 Area Training Day at Hexham in Northumberland in November.

Input well structured, informative and inspiring … Very thought-provoking … Now see (our work) fully as ministry … Had my eyes opened as to what the role involves … Great group work considering the Bible passages … Really good to share conflicts, issues and delights we all experience.

Book the May/July dates now if you are within reach of these four venues.  Further details to follow.


What you wanted to know about church management systems …

… but were too afraid to ask?

Our latest resource, just added to the UCAN resources page of the website, will help you choose the right church management system software if you are thinking of moving this way.  Julian Mander, Director of Operations at Riverside Church, Birmingham gives good advice.  Here is how the article begins.

“This is a quick and precise guide to help you choose the best direction for implementing a church management system (CMS).

We make the assumption that you can see good reason(s) why…

·         you need to use technology to help you to manage the existing workload, or

·         you need to move ‘up a gear’ in the way you are currently working.

The feature-sets of internet-based CMSs are changing all the time, and we're watching a bit of a race where those players who got in early have achieved a critical mass that has made them pretty much untouchable to others who are late to the party.  For those of us in the UK, we highly recommend only considering solutions that have started in the UK and reflect our culture, as opposed to systems from America or Europe which will always jar in their terminology or approach.

1.       If you've not looked at what other churches like yours are using, or haven't looked at some of the solutions on the market for a couple of years, make this your first priority.  (A list of items is then provided in the website article.)

2.       Any solution you are looking for should be internet-based, NOT desktop-based………..”

To read the whole article click here and log in.  Scroll down to UR9 on the UCAN resources pages of the website.


My key tips for senior Administrators

In the last issue Sue Bremner shared her top tips for working as a Church Administrator.  This time Robert Newhouse, recently retired from his post at Ashtead, addresses senior Administrators.

“Life as a Senior Administrator is a smoother journey if you remember the following four points.

·         Use your gifts for ministry

You are on the staff team because you are blessed with the gift of administration.  You should not necessarily expect others on the staff, including the Senior Minister, to be similarly gifted.  Church administration is primarily your responsibility not theirs.

·         Encourage the staff to work as a team

The staff team works best if there is unity, with all members pointing in the same direction and committed to using their gifts not only in their own areas of responsibility but also for the benefit of the whole team.  Try not to work only in silos.

·         Don’t try to do it all yourself

As a senior Administrator you certainly cannot do everything yourself.  You will have to delegate.  You may have a few employees working for you but, very fortunately, every church member is a potential volunteer who could help you.  The trick, of course, is to find those with a passion for what needs doing and so will just get on and do it with minimal guidance.  This is easier said than done but somewhere in your church God will have placed the people you need.

·         Don’t re-invent the wheel

Pretty much every process, procedure and system has already been developed by someone else.  The UCAN website contains a huge amount of invaluable information as do your fellow Administrators who have already been in post for some time.  The Advice for the Voluntary Sector http://www.afvs.org.uk organisation is also a mine of useful information.  If new in post, make sure that your predecessor hands everything over to you and keep a channel of communication open with him or her for as long as you need it.”

Local Group news

These items are included in each issue to give all groups ideas for their meetings and to encourage others to form new groups.  They are very much appreciated by those who belong to one!


Farnborough Group

Chantelle Gardner writes:

“The Farnborough Area Local Group met on Monday 5th December at Christ Church,Crookham.

We had a variety of topics to talk about including Church Management Systems (a recurring feature!) as one member was interested in the rota aspect of these in particular, PAT testing (who to do, how much to pay), Christmas card/leaflet content and printing, photocopier removal and Administrator contracts.

Following the meeting we have set up a Google drive to share documents, starting with our Christmas leaflets, as those of us at the meeting were surprised by the variety in approach of the churches represented and thought it might give us ideas for future years.

We’d love to increase our membership so if anyone is in reasonable travelling distance of our group we would love to hear from them, even if they don’t think they would normally be able to make our meetings (once a term, 12.30-2.30pm).  Just five of us made it to this meeting yet it was still a valuable, encouraging and worthwhile time.”

 Lancashire Methodist Group

Lei Young sent us this contribution:

“Seven of nine of The Lancashire Methodist Administrators met with the Chair of District on 6th December at the District Manse. We used the time to catch up with one another before Christmas and to speak with the Chair of District directly about the resources we feel should be available to us as Lay Employees of the Methodist Church.

I am now in touch with the right person and we will all be included in gatherings and retreats appropriate to us in the future.  We are still self-funded as there was no time to discuss this but it will be addressed in the near future.  We ended our meeting by sharing Communion together and will convene again on 21st February where a speaker will join us to lead and explore our spiritual development.”

M11 group

Caroline Abbott explains the value of a rural group:

“We find our area group invaluable as, despite what people might think, this part of Essex is very rural and can be quite remote!  There are quite a few miles between one Administrator and the next and the difference between the town churches in the area and what they do, and those of us out in the country is quite marked.

Each church has its own challenges and we find it very helpful to get together and talk about these as it puts our own in perspective.   An example of the differences is that in my benefice (one small country town and one tiny village) we have several weddings a year as there are lots of wedding venues and pretty country churches, so much of my time is spent dealing with wedding couples and their weddings.  Whereas, in the two larger towns our group represents, their church administration is run very much on a business basis as the church buildings are very much in demand.

We have all been able to help each other out when one of us is dealing with an unusual event in our church which is the norm for another church in our area.”

Woking group

Caroline Bowen is just getting the group going:

“After a very slow start, the Woking UCAN Local Group is up and running!  We have a membership of 17 with 14 of us also on our own Facebook group to encourage conversation and support.  I’m planning to organise an inaugural get-together in the New Year – to meet, to chat, to share ideas – and probably to eat!”

We have several members in the process of getting new local groups off the ground.  If this includes you, do get in touch to see how we can help and support you.  Local Groups are the main bottom-up part of UCAN and I long to see the number grow and the groups flourish.


If you have indicated a desire to be part of a Local Group in your area but have heard nothing more this will be because no one was prepared to start a group, or someone hoped to do so but found they had no time.  Please get in touch with me if you would be interested in getting a new group off the ground, perhaps working with someone else.



Quick news, reminders and updates


Christian Resources Exhibition now assured for the future

Good news on Christian Resources Exhibition which came out after my piece in the last UCAN News Update.  Stephen Goddard and Gospatric Home have rescued CRE and will now be running it under new management. 

The main exhibition returns to Sandown Park from 17th to 19th October 2017 instead of the normal May dates and will run for three days rather than four.


Administrator vacancies

I am happy to advertise Church Administrator (or closely related) posts without charge for UCAN members.  I usually do so via the News page of the website (so it gets into the fortnightly auto-emails you get from the site on some Mondays) and I often tweet them on the UCAN feed too.

There have been several posts advertised in this way over the past few months.  Email me if you want something listed there.


Cutting Edge bookings

We already have as many bookings for the Cutting Edge conference in March as we did at the equivalent conference two years ago.  We’ve been given more rooms so can take more.  But the number of places is not unlimited so get a booking in quickly if you are intending to come.


Open Heart Ministry – for senior-manager Church Administrators and other UCAN members.

20th to 22nd March 2017 with Trevor Stammers, Jez Barnes, Jules Morgan, John and Pauline Tindall.

Details on the UCAN events page of the website.

Don’t delay until you find we are full – get a booking in now!


New items on the UCAN resources page

New items on the UCAN resources page of the website include:

·         Dealing with walk-in visitors

·         Free resources for communications

·         Fire safety emergency plan

·         Choosing a church management system (see preview above).

New resources are added every fortnight or so.  I am always looking out for sample documents that would give other UCAN members a great start for preparing theirs.  Please get in touch if you have items you could share.

Here are two emails recently received from UCAN members:

“You have just made our day…. The information of free resources for communications is wonderful…. You have saved us a lot of research time so thank you very much indeed.  It makes me delighted to have found the network.”

 “I wanted to let you know how useful we have found MR19 - Appraisal Procedure.  We have used it this year and found it to be a really good way of doing appraisals, so are extremely grateful to whoever provided it.

 We've been doing staff reviews for a few years now, but it's good to try different ways of doing things and this has been very helpful.”


Welcome to new members

Here are our new joiners for November and December.  A really warm welcome to all.

The lists each time are in order of joining.  If I seem to have missed you out or shown anything that is incorrect, please let me know so I can put it right.  Additions and changes after 31st December will be given in the March 2017 Update.  * indicates there is at least one other UCAN member at this church.

Welcome to new UCAN members for November and December

Val Simkins, Development Worker at Beakon Mission Partnership, Doncaster

Michele Hackney, Church Administrator & Safeguarding Administrator at Frimley Baptist

William Law, Administrator at Redeemer Croydon*

Matt Bailey, Head of Operations at Duke Street Church, Richmond upon Thames*

Catherine Gray, Communications Administrator at Woodlands, Bristol*

Susanna Dawson, PA to Senior Leader at Hexham Community Church

Penny Baxter, Parish Secretary at Wimborne Minister St Cuthberga

Sarah Sanger, Administrative Assistant at St Giles’, Copmanthorpe, York

Ian Taylor, Operations Director at St Michael’s, Stoke Gifford, Bristol*

Rachel Parsons, Church Administrator at St Peter’s, Oadby

Donna-Jo Lukac, Centre Manager / Church Administrator at Old Roan Baptist, Aintree, Liverpool

Gwen Wilkinson, Parish Administrator at St Editha Parish, Tamworth

Shirley Davey, Benefice Administrator at All Saints’, Moulton, near Spalding

Karen Smyth, Administrator at Cringleford Hub Breakfast Church, Norwich

Stephanie Phipps, Church Administrator at Kirkliston Community Church, near Edinburgh

Faith Aldridge, Administrator at Trafalgar Road Baptist, Horsham

Ruth Tricker, Administrator at Eden Baptist, Cambridge

Peter Rignall, Operations Manager at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol*


...and those who have taken over from another UCAN member at their church

not always in the same post or with the same responsibilities and some changes may have taken place some time ago but the UCAN transfer has just been effected or there has been a vacancy for some months.

Sara Wild, Administrator at St Mary’s, Cogges, Witney* (replacing Mo McKay)

Faye Denker,  Administrative Assistant at Holy Trinity & Trendlewood, Nailsea* (replacing Ruth Jolly)

Chris Hogg, Church Administrator at St John the Baptist, Knutsford (replacing Helen Kimber)

Mark & Jane Wilkinson, Operations Managers at St Nic’s, Nottingham (replacing David Duncan)

Douglas McGinn, Director of Operations at Lansdowne Church, Bournemouth* (replacing Natania Warner)

Nicola Worthington, Parish Administrator at Ulverston Parish (replacing Susan Rigg)

Jennie Cox, Administrator at St Nicholas’, Earley, Reading (replacing Wendy Neale)

Angie Coutts, Church Manager at St Mary Magdalene, Stoke Bishop, Bristol (replacing Gill Richards)

Jane Ashdown, Operations Director at Christchurch, Woking* (replacing Rachael Purvis)

Natasha Williams, Church Administrator at Trinity Methodist, Leighton Buzzard (replacing Debbie Melvin)

Samarah Musumeci, Operations, Worship & Communications Manager at Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage, London* (replacing Trish Riley)

Kellie Jarrett, Church Administrator/Operations Manager at St Mark’s, Kensal Rise, London (replacing a temporary vacancy)

Katie Holloway, Administrator at Christ Church, Haywards Heath (replacing Wendy Sands)

Gary Oaten, Community Resources and Communications Co-ordinator at All Saints’, Weston, Bath (replacing Ann Banner)

Justine Keel, Church Administrator at Buckhurst Hill Baptist(replacing Melanie Hicks)


Members who have moved on from their posts and who are not being replaced

We have lost a total of 105 members in seven and a half years when appointments are not renewed, posts are made redundant, or we are asked to cancel the membership.

Pauline Baguley, Office Manager at St Thomas’, Blackpool

Wendy Bruce, Administrator at Guildford Diocese

Dave Wright, Parish Administrator at St Mary-le-Strand, London

Christine Illingworth, Administrator at St Matthew’s, Hayfield, Buxton

Shelley Tuohy, PA to Vicar at Christchurch, Woking*


Membership cancellations

Valerie Hind, Parish Administrator at St Cuthbert’s, Rye Park, Hoddesdon

Gary Pattimore, Administrator at Emmanuel Christian Centre, Walthamstow, London* (retirement)


Those who have moved post

Helena Whitwell from Holy Trinity, Hotwells, Bristol to Christ Church, Clifton, Bristol*