UCAN News Update 17:3

Looking back on the Cutting Edge conference

We had the largest number of delegates ever at our fourth Cutting Edge residential conference in March entitled ‘Open heart ministry’.  Three of them offered to share their experiences.

Jill Govier is the Centre Manager of Tees Valley Community Church in Stockton-on-Tees.

“The thing about open heart surgery is the need for experts, a great team to support and it can get very messy when the operation is being performed!

Well apart from the mess, I know I was blessed by having access to the expertise of Trevor Stammers who gave some useful background and practical information on stress, anxiety, depression and fear.  With the demands of my role as a senior Church Administrator I know this is something we are all subject to at some time, and we need to be responsible employers in looking for signs within our teams and our senior leaders.  His perspective was refreshing and biblically based, and I came away with some insightful tips to ensure the balance in work is realistic.

And the team – what can I say… from the organising team who did such a great job in pulling the event together and hosting the sessions, to all those who contributed (especially Jules Morgan and Pastor John and Pauline Tindall), to the staff at Kings Park conference centre and most of all to who attended and shared their own experiences and expertise through networking at break times – THANK YOU!”

Melvyn Tweed is the Finance and Facilities Administrator at St Paul’s, Leamington Spa.  He writes:

“I loved the conference.  It was very affirming, gave practical ideas and help, and provided a great opportunity to network with a hundred other people in my shoes.  Inspiring worship, excellent venue, good food and great fellowship.  The sessions were relevant, witty and at times raw and challenging.  There was plenty of time for reflection and processing.  This was another splendidly organised event from UCAN, it was fitting that we concluded by commissioning the new UCAN team.  An excellent investment of my time, to come away with a truly healthy heart for serving The Kingdom.”

Caroline Abbott is the Parish Administrator at St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow in Essex.

 “This was my first UCAN residential conference and I can only praise the event.  The venue, food and company were all great and the topics and worship at the conference provided me with great food for thought.

The opportunity to network and share experiences with like-minded people was invaluable, and I was able to poach some ideas to take back to the office.  I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the style of worship.  I come from a fairly traditional background, worshiping in a church with a formal choir and all the trappings that go with that and I always held the view that was the style of worship I preferred.  The joyful singing and passion for worship I experienced at the conference has opened my eyes!

On a personal level, much of what was talked about on the first day was a great source of help and comfort due to family issues I am currently facing, so I came away feeling more able to understand those issues and face them head on.”

The response sheets have all been analysed and the Organising Group will be studying the digest that has been prepared at their next meeting in early June.  Next year’s conference will be a one-day event in London on the theme of volunteers.

Top tips for Church Administrators

Antonia Jackson was Church Administrator at St Nicholas’, Tooting in South London for some years.  She is still much involved in the life of the church more in an operations role.  Here is her considered advice to all who work as their church’s Administrator.

  1. Godliness is vital: maintaining a close personal walk with the Lord Jesus is key.
  2. Administration is a gift from God (1 Cor 12); it’s really important, even though it's often unseen and rarely upfront.
  3. In church life, admin is a means to an end - the spread of the gospel and the expansion of the kingdom.  It's important to maintain that focus.
  4. It's a job wherein it's easy to make mistakes that lots of people notice and not be noticed when things go well.  Being aware of that makes it’s easier to take when people ‘notice’! 
  5. It's important to have a balanced sense of responsibility - not under-developed ('It's gone wrong? I don't care') or over-developed ('I must do everything, myself, perfectly, even if I’m working 24/7').
  6. Ministers aren't given very much training in managing people, so help them to manage you well (suggest an annual review, ask for crits, take crits/suggs well).  I was fortunate to have an awesome boss!
  7. There is much to do in church life…don’t be afraid to focus on the admin.  It’s why you’re there.  For an Administrator, caring for people often means caring about the paperwork.
  8. Be aware that volunteers are a (delightfully) special breed and will behave in unexpected ways!
  9. Be prepared to say ‘No’!  Have your role as fully defined as possible.  People will always try to push the boundaries of what you're there for (I was once asked to do someone's typing for their job).
  10. Be prepared to say ‘Yes’!  Willingness to be flexible is crucial. Keep praying!

Resources to help you in your work

There are two types of resources on the website.

1:  Specialist Church Administrator resources

The UCAN resources page has been growing steadily for the past 18 months and now has a wide range of helps for everyone who works in Church Administration.  Log in first as these are ONLY available to UCAN members and those you want to share them with in your church.

The page has three sections:

Members’ questions and responses

If you click on MWR2 you can ask questions and see what responses you receive from other UCAN members.  This is a brilliant way of seeing how others can help you within the network – but do use it too to help other members with your experience and expertise.

Resources from UCAN members

Every two or three weeks we add another item to the growing list.  These are sample statements, policies, documents, ideas that fellow-members are happy to share to save you time and effort in reinventing wheels.  We now have a truly valuable set of items and it grows all the time.

Resources from UCAN sources, events and surveys

The most recent additions here have been notes and slides from the Cutting Edge conference plus recordings of the workshops.  The UCAN recordings (public domain) page has the main conference addresses.  If you could not make it to Northampton this is where you can benefit from all we learnt there.

2:  General church administration resources

There are over 140 items in the general Resources section of John Truscott’s website with new items added every other month (and which you hear about through the mailing of ‘Resources e-letter’).  These cover a wide range of issues to do with church leadership, management, structures, planning, communication and administration.  Please share these round your churches to the people who can use them – some of them may not be so relevant for your own particular role.  See the introductory page.


Items of up to 10,000 words helping you think through issues or guiding you through tasks.  There is detailed advice on office work, handling meetings, staff selection, letting rooms, organising a church weekend away, appointing an Operations Manager and much more.

Training Notes

These are no more than 2,000 words so a five minute read.  There are now 100 of these covering a wide range of very practical issues in organising church life.  If you want to see those specially written for Administrators try the Administration index page.


Detailed assessment tools for the health of your church or the effectiveness of a mission agency.

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!

Worcester Group

Alison Moore, from City Church, Worcester, writes:

“The Worcester local group last met on 22nd March, at Lindisfarne House, the home of City Church.  As has become our custom, we met over lunch and enjoyed the opportunity to spend time together and to encourage one another.  The discussion covered a wide range of topics, both local and more general, and this time particularly focused on IT issues, and also how to have a healthy balance between work and home life.

Our next meeting is planned for 21st June and we are expecting two new UCAN members to join us then.  Anyone else in the Worcester area is very welcome to come along too – contact Liz Wilson or Alison Moore for more details.”

Bath Group

Jane Bradby reports:

“We last met on 7th February when the major item under discussion was safeguarding.  We noted in particular that:

  • All policies need to be looked at carefully and updated on a regular basis. Churches need a robust policy, both for staff and volunteers, not just on paper but throughout the whole congregation.  For Church of England churches the Safer recruitment practice guidance must now be adhered to, and there are training courses available.
  • The local diocesan policy is very demanding, with references needed for every volunteer. They will lay on ‘train the trainer’ courses.”

Quick news, reminders and updates

Third series of Area Training Days launches this month

This week we have the first at Birmingham with Guildford to follow, and then Nottingham in July.  Book on the pdfs on the UCAN events page of the website.  There is still time for Guildford on 17th May and plenty of time for Nottingham.

Mastering Kingdom Administration

Sharon Clark is Operations Manager of New Covenant Church in Milton Keynes where they hold the ‘Spirit led administration’ event most years.  This year there is something a bit different.  She writes:

“Paul Manwaring is running a four-day ‘Mastering Kingdom Administration’ school in Milton Keynes in September.   As I think you know, we have run a one-day Spirit-led Administration workshop each year for the past four years or so.  This year we are excited to offer this longer event to Administrators.

Booking details and more information is here:  https://kingdomadministration.eventbrite.co.uk

Plans for new-UCAN progress

The Directors of new-UCAN meet on 11th May.  There is already a company and a bank account.  They now turn their attention to employing a half-time staff member to run the day-to-day work of the network.  If you are in any way interested in being informed once details become available, email Jules Morgan on julesmorgan@st-stephens.org.uk.

If you want to hear the presentation at Cutting Edge, go to the UCAN resources page of the website and scroll down to item UR10 where there is an audio recording of this session.  The offering at the final Communion service raised the wonderful total of almost £1,450 for new-UCAN.

The expectation is a handover from John to the new team sometime in the autumn.  This is all being planned very carefully.  More next time.


Welcome to new members

Here are our new joiners for March and April.  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 30th April will be given in the July 2017 Update.  * indicates there is at least one other UCAN member at this church.

Jessica Lawrence, Parish Administrator at Egloshayle & Breoke Churches, Wadebridge

Sarah Postlewhite, Finance Administrator at CRE8/St Barnabas’. Macclesfield*

Sue MacDonald, Team Administrator at Harborough Anglican Team, Market Harborough

Jenny Duncan, Administrator at Christ Church, Guildford

Beth Howard, Administrator & Building Manager at Gateway Church, Leeds*

Eleanor Wilson, Administrator at All Saints’ w St Philip & James, Fleet*

Rachel McLafferty, Operations Manager at All Saints’, Ecclesall, Sheffield*

Helen Stephens, Vicar’s PA at All Souls’, St Margarets, Twickenham*

Jill Webb, Administration & Communications Assistant at St Edmund’s w St James’, Whalley Range, Manchester

Lisa Scott, Church Manager at Burpham Church, Guildford

Sally Williams, Church Administrator/Vicar’s PA at St Mary’s, Radcliffe on Trent

Elizabeth Lees, Development Worker at St Matthew’s, Carver Street, Sheffield

Sarah Smith, Administrative Assistant at Chessington Evangelical*

Salome Noah, Office Manager at Lozells Methodist, Birmingham

Phil Lee, Operations Manager at Open Heaven Church, Loughborough*

Joe Braker, Office & Events Administrator at Holy Trinity, Leicester*

Alex Herrick, Finance Assistant at Holy Trinity, Leicester*

Stephanie Johnson, Ministry Support Manager at Christ Church Fulwood, Sheffield*

Tracey Nash, Administrative Officer at South Street Baptist, Greenwich, London*

Adam Brown, Ministerial Assistant at CLM Church, Coventry

Louise Yusuf, Parish Administrator at St Francis’. Luton

Helen Bennett, Benefice Administrator at St Peter & St Paul’s, Shepton Mallet

Christina Phiri, Administrator at Liberation Church, Newham, London

John Furley, Operations Manager at St Mary’s, Maidenhead*

Margaret Aust, Human Resources Manager at Open Heaven Church, Loughborough*

Dave Wright, Administrator at St Barnabas’, Beckenham


UCAN members transferring to a new church …

Emily Fowler, Communications Administrator at Liphook Church Centre* (from Shottermill)

Peter Troup, Operations Manager at St Barnabas’, Woodside Park, London* (from Everyday Church)

...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.

Alice Carr, Parish Administrator at All Saints’, Ilkley (replacing Rachel Boggs)

Claude Lobo, Finance & Operations Manager at Parish of Brentford* (replacing Matt Roy)

Mary Barnes, Administrator at Holy Trinity, Hotwells, Bristol (replacing Helena Whitwell)

Louise Sampaio, Parish Administrator at St Paul’s, Addlestone* (replacing Lisa Tugwell)

Juliet Edwards, Parish Administrator at St Michael’, Mottram in Longdendale (replacing Tony Kershaw)

Ann Banner, Parish Administrator at St Mary’s, Bathwick, Bath (replacing Julia Brownbridge)

Gillian Rutherford, Vicar’s PA at St Mary’s, Longfleet, Poole* (replacing Karin Freshwater)

Chris Porter, Office Administrator at Worcester Baptist (replacing Peter Wood)

Matthew Jones, Operations Team Leader at St Barnabas’, Cambridge (replacing Rachel Cresswell)

Jessica Fellows, Media & Communications Administrator at Holy Trinity, Leicester* (replacing Hannah Lewis)

Andy Wilson, Operations Manager at St Mark’s, Harrogate* (replacing Mike Coles)

Janice Yelland-Sutcliffe, Church Administrator at St Mary’s, Arnold, Nottingham (replacing Victoria Hickman)

Hayley Shah, Parish Administrator at St Nicholas’, Chiswick, London (replacing Ian Stephenson)

Sam Porter, Administrator at Redeemer, Croydon* (replacing William Law)

Julie Fox, Parish Administrator at St Stephen’s, Shottermill, Haslemere (replacing Emily Fowler)


Members who have moved on but where there is now a medium-term vacancy

Diana Hallett, Operations Manager at Kea Church, Truro*

Jenny Hopley, Administrator at Aldridge Parish*

Mark Mulley, Church Administrator at Cambray Baptist, Cheltenham


Members who have moved on from their posts and who are not being replaced or where their successor does not wish to continue the membership

We have lost a total of 110 members in eight years when appointments are not renewed, posts are made redundant, or we are asked to cancel the membership.

Mary Garnet, Administrator at Emmanuel, Leftwich, Northwich

Sarah White, Administration Assistant at St Andrew’s, Chorleywood*

Mark Jeffery, Church Administrator at King’s Church, Catford, London