UCAN News Update 17:4

Latest news on the UCAN handover this autumn

Colin Rye, one of the Directors for the new UCAN, updates us all.

“In November 2016, in the light of John’s desire to step back from direct involvement in the running of UCAN, I wrote a brief article detailing plans to set up UCAN as an independent organisation.  Those who attended Cutting Edge in March this year will have heard some of the ‘new-UCAN’ Directors provide an update on what has happened since and what is planned next.  What follows, God-willing, will fill in the gaps and get everyone on the same page!

Six Directors, all current or previous UCAN members who share a belief in the spiritual gifts of administration and a passion for church administration, have been appointed (Joyce Gledhill, Jules Morgan, Andy Bagwell, Julian Mander, Kevin Lawrence and myself).

Importantly, all passionately agreed that the future ambition is to maintain everything that UCAN already does so well - conferences, Area Training Days (ATDs), access to resources, etc. - and, when possible, to scale up, for instance, by strengthening Local Groups; exploring new relationships and partnerships with church and para-church networks; finding new facilitators and offering increased consultancy.

In January this year, UCAN was incorporated as a legal entity - a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee that now has a bank account, a registered office (with a phone number and a virtual registered address!), and a web domain which will become the new entry point for UCAN.

Also, in January, Andy and Julian met with John to understand more of the practicalities of the handover and this, in large part, has set the agenda for the coming months which will include:

·         Recruitment of the ‘Administrator and Network Co-ordinator’ (shortlisting from a large field of applicants at the Board meeting on 13th July, interviews 20th July).  This is a critical appointment as this individual will support the network by taking over the back-end functions that John has so diligently performed.


·   Launch of the new website focused initially on promoting UCAN but hotly pursued by the online management system which will permit the transfer of membership records from John’s database, online ATD and conference bookings, ‘Update’ mail-outs from new-UCAN and access to the rich library of existing resources.

·  Fathoming the challenges of a virtual organisation - post, email, phone calls, book-keeping, etc.

·  Strategising a transition to an appropriate paid-membership structure that recognizes that, as the network builds, we cannot rely purely on voluntary donations.  We don’t want to alienate any existing members but, going forwards, churches will need to make a financial contribution to the running of UCAN that is relative to their size.

The transition, in the next few months, will be challenging - there is much to do; so please pray for the Board, for voluntary help and for the right ‘Administrator and Network Co-ordinator’ appointment.  We’ll keep you posted on progress!”

Key lessons for Church Administrators

 Gary Pattimore was the Administrator at Emmanuel Christian Centre in Walthamstow, East London.  This is a large Assemblies of God Pentecostal church.  He retired earlier this year.  Here are his key (sometimes light-hearted) lessons he learnt in his time there.

1.       You are not the Pastor so don't act as if you are and don't expect to be treated as if you are.

2.       Don't expect everyone to understand your role – but see if you can publish your job description in the church newsletter .... in every issue.

3.       Remember that you should not try to read other peoples’ minds.  But it’s probably OK to let some people think you can.

4.       Receive encouragement whenever it’s offered –  simultaneously working on the theory and practice of genuine humility. 

5.       Give and show encouragement whenever you can.

6.       Learn to say ‘No’ with a smile that doesn't look too gleeful – remembering that it’s not always what you say but the way that you say it that matters.

7.       When you start to see every request as a problem rather than an opportunity, it’s time for a short break/sabbatical/new job/retirement.  (circle as applicable)

8.       You shall not go into the job unless you receive specific assurance that it is what God wants you to do.  So when things get on top of you, learn to remind yourself of that assurance.  Expect to need to do so about once a week.

9.       Get yourself a hobby – you can't be the Administrator seven days a week.

10.   Carry a small notebook/tablet, android phone or pen with a secret recording device .... and never loan your pen.

ChurchApp rebranded as ChurchSuite

The church management system formerly known as ChurchApp has a new name:ChurchSuite (https://churchsuite.com).  ChurchSuite is used by many UCAN member churches and more than 700 churches in the UK (800+ worldwide) to aid the smooth-running of churches with features for people communication, event organisation, online giving and rota management.

Writing on their blog about the name change (https://churchsuite.com/blog/2017/06/12/churchapp-is-now-churchsuite) they reassured customers of their continued focus to build software that "supports your church and extends God's Kingdom".

For those interested in the product, ChurchSuite have an extensive website outlining their product and run monthly training days throughout the UK helping administrators get the most from their software.  They offer a free 30 day trial which gives full access to the entire software package, with email and telephone support available throughout.

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!

Bristol Region Group

Lindsey Mansfield, from Woodlands Church, Bristol, writes:

“The Bristol Region group meets termly and it was encouraging to meet in the newly refurbished Redland Parish Church and see their stunning new facilities.  We heard about the opportunities that the new building development has opened up with the community as well as some of the challenges of having a state-of-the-art facility to manage.

Other topics covered included the size of PCCs etc. and how they relate to leadership teams and other bodies; forthcoming GDPR data protection legislation and how it may affect us, particularly in relation to our databases; training courses; and graveyard management.

As always, we took time to pray for one another at the end of our time together.  It’s encouraging that one member of the Bristol group who currently drives in from North Somerset plans to start a new local group in that area.  UCAN continues to expand in the West Country!”    

Taunton Group

Ruth Cook, from St Andrew’s, Taunton, reports:

“The Taunton Deane and Area group met in May and seven members attended.  We welcomed three new members.

The topics discussed included security issues in the office, wedding regulations including organist fees, funeral fees administration and hours worked (and if extra time was paid for).

The group felt they would like to meet more often so that if someone misses a meeting, it isn’t too long before we meet again.  The next meeting was then booked for July.

Although the group was originally based in and around Taunton, it is now spread more geographically across Somerset.  We are gaining new members, largely through word of mouth, which is great.”

West Midlands Plus Group

 John Williams at Sutton Coldfield Baptist co-ordinates this group of senior manager members.

“Our June meeting was held in Coventry.  Here’s what a couple of the group members say:

‘I find the sessions great in that it helps build me up, (selfishly) when I realise that some of the issues I am facing are not just affecting myself in isolation, and there is some commonality between us all.’

‘Since starting my job as Operations Director of a largish church three years ago, I have found the local group that I'm part of a real help.  It is so helpful to spend time with others who know the sort of issues I'm facing first-hand and to be able to share some of the challenges in a confidential and sympathetic circle. 

It's also been great to visit other churches and I've been inspired by the things they are doing and picked up some great ideas along the way.  In between meetings, it's often been really helpful to send out a quick email to see if anyone has any advice or experience on a whole range of things.  All in all, the group has been a huge support.’”

Snippets from other groups

Welcome to a new group for Cheltenham, led by Andy Sawers.  They had their first meeting in June with eight Administrators attending.  This was a chance for everyone to get to know each other, share the issues that concerned them and they agreed to meet again in six months’ time.

The Lancashire Methodists group next meet in July but three members gathered with other lay employees from the Methodist District for a 24-hour retreat.  This was the first time Administrators have been invited and all felt it was a valuable experience.  Lei Young mentions that they are encouraged that the District is now recognising the work that Church Administrators do.

The Woking group is getting off the ground.  Caroline Bowen reports that six of them met for lunch in June and then had a quick walk-through of the host church buildings and a chat about their different roles and key issues.  They are planning to meet termly.

Dave Challis has handed over as leader of the Greater Manchester Plus group to David Rolles of LifeChurch Manchester.

Nine members of the Surrey Plus group met on 25th May.  There was prayer and updates on news from everyone.  This was followed by discussion on the size of the group, Performing Rights Society (PRS), ECO church, Safeguarding record keeping, dealing with conflict, Contact Management Systems and various points relating to staff contracts. 

The Farnborough Area group are still finding Administrators in their area who don’t know UCAN exists and are busy spreading the word!  Their next meeting is planned for the autumn term and they would love to hear from any Administrators in their area, even if they don’t feel that they can commit to meetings.

UCAN Accounts for 2016/2017

Each year we publish UCAN accounts to show how your voluntary contributions have been spent and how our events have been financed.  The 2016/17 accounts, part of my own business accounts, have been approved by the UCAN Directors.

This year these accounts are shown on the website version of this edition of Update which is on the UCAN News page, but are omitted in the email as we appreciate that not everyone will be interested in them.  Here however are the headlines:

1.       We made a £1,591 surplus on all events run during the year, largely because of increased numbers at the Cutting Edge residential conference.

2.       Total office, website, travel, etc. costs for the year came to £3,398.

3.       We therefore took £1,807 out of the members’ contributions fund to balance the books.

4.       With contributions received and the amount brought forward from the previous year this meant we still have £3,336 to take forward to 2017/18.

5.       In this current year we shall have significant extra costs to finance: governance costs for planning the handover, legal fees for setting up the new company etc., and from September the salary for a part-time Administrator & Network Co-ordinator.

Quick news, reminders and updates

Beware - fraud

Back in May the UCAN News webpage carried the following warning from Nick Baker, Director of Operations at St Paul’s, Salisbury.

"Yesterday we had a relatively sophisticated attempt made to defraud the church via email, and although this was caught by the strong processes we have around financial transactions, it was alarming that an initial email which purported to be from our church leader deceived our Finance Officer.

This was an attempt to use social engineering to trick our Finance Officer into thinking that she was exchanging emails with our church leader. Clearly the fraudster had used our website to identify who has these roles and then set up a spoof email account purporting to be from our church leader.

S/he then started with a fairly innocuous question to build up confidence in the email exchange before requesting a large transfer should be made to a particular bank account. This was not a blanket 'phishing' email but a targeted attempt to defraud by someone with a good grasp of English.  Apart from the fact that internal processes were not followed, the key clue is that the email address displayed after the name in the email is not one of our usual email addresses."

As a result of this piece three other members emailed me to say they had had the same experience.  Churches targeted including those in Exeter, Leeds and Woking.  So if your Minister or an elder or senior office-holder asks strangely for a CHAPS payment or similar to be made, be very careful.  The names may all be correct for your church but check the email addresses.

Mastering Kingdom Administration (repeat notice)

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

Christian Resources Exhibition

The various Christian Resources Exhibitions have always been tailor-made for Church Administrators.

The main CRE has now been taken over by some of its original organisers and is back at Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey but with an autumn date this year from 17th to 19thOctober.

For full details go to http://www.creonline.co.uk.  Advance tickets cost just £4 for individuals (£8 on the day) or £3 each for groups of three or more.  Tickets are valid for all days and parking is free at Sandown Park.  If you come by train Esher is on a direct line from London Waterloo.


Time sheets

Karen Coleman, Church Life and Operations Manager at Broadmead Baptist, Northampton has a spreadsheet she uses as a time management aid.  You fill it in by putting in the actual times worked and it adds it up for you.  She is happy for others to see it if interested.  Email Karen if so (details on the UCAN online database).

Latest resources added to the website

We have added to the sample resources supplied by UCAN members on the UCAN resources page:

MR35Appraisal policy and sample forms

MR36Health and Safety Policy (complete)

MR37Policy on policies

MR38Data Protection Policy and GDPR news.

Welcome to new members

Here are our new joiners for May and June.  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 June will be given in the September 2017 Update.  * indicates there is at least one other UCAN member at this church.

Welcome to new UCAN members for May and June

Julie Griffin, Administrator at Holy Trinity, Barnstaple*

Ruth Haywood, Administrator at City Road Baptist, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Robert Bowker, Parish Secretary at St Mark’s, Pensnett, Brierley Hill

Saira Final, Ministry Support Assistant at Christ Church Fulwood, Sheffield*

Leah East, Operations Assistant at Centrepoint Church, Guildford*

Rachel Waits, Office Manager & PA to the Vicar at St Saviour’s, Sunbury-on-Thames

Susie Brown, Operations Administrator at Grosvenor Church, Barnstaple

Tina Dixon, Parish Administrator at St Peter’s, Cleethorpes

Joanna Dunn, Elders’ Assistant at Stapleford Baptist, Nottingham

Ian Naismith, Church Manager at Bruntsfield Evangelical, Edinburgh

Susan Ball, Church Manager at St Ann’s, Manchester

Alison Bates, Parish Administrator at Gt Leighs, Lt Leighs, Lt Waltham, Gt Waltham w Ford End &Chignalls, Chelmsford

Sheelagh Steadman, Church Administrator at The Salvation Army Lakeside Community Church, Doncaster

Rachel Merritt, Office Manager at The Parish of Winchcombe

Vicky Linford, Church Administrator at Church of the Holy Spirit, Aylesbury

Mark Betteridge, Operations Manager at Frinton Free

Eve Kendrick, Office Manager at New Life Church, Derby

Rosie Hayes, Operations Manager at Buckingham Parish*

Pauline Steadman, Ministerial Administrator / Church Secretary at Ministry of Restoration Church, Nottingham

Emma Leggett, Church Operations Manager at Eastleigh Baptist

Tracy Dixon, Parish Administrator at St Mary the Virgin, Battle

Claire Dagwell, Benefice Administrator at St Mary’s, Kelvedon, Colchester

Mark Stuckey, Operations Manager at Redland Parish, Bristol*


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.

Gary Paul, Finance Office at Holy Trinity, Combe Down, Bath* (replacing Judith Wade)

Helen Duke, Parish Administrator at All Saints’, Burton on Trent + (replacing Ann Marie Wilson)

Elaine Owsley, Church Administrator at St Peter’s, Harold Wood* (replacing Lynn Marston)

Libby Kelsey, Administrator at St Mark’s, Haydock, St Helens (replacing Sharon Boden)

Paloma Sielski, Parish Manager at St Michael & All Angels, Bedford Park, London* (replacing Sarah Cullen)

Jess McNutt, Administrator at Trinity Methodist, Woking (replacing Katy Thomas)

Mel Mullen, Church Secretary at St Leonard’s, Exeter (replacing Sarah Lenton)

Sue Rogers, Church Administrator at Abington Avenue URC, Northampton (replacing Marion Green)

Marion Mahan, Office Manager at Bretton Baptist, Peterborough (replacing Pam Lee)

Jacky Faria, Office Manager at St Mary’s, Watford (replacing Kay Rees)

Catherine Levack, Centre & Finance Administrator at Warwick Gates Community Church, Warwick (replacing Hannah Fletcher)

Karen Johnson, Senior Administrator at Christ Church, Selly Park, Birmingham (replacing Jane Jackman)

Katharine Pidwell, Operations Manager at St Mary Magdalene, Torquay (replacing Nikki Lannon)

Joanne Jackson, Parish Administrator at Holy Trinity, Rayleigh (replacing Susan Mumby)

Jen Webb, Parish Administrator at St Mary’s, Ilminster (replacing Betty Viggers)

Hannah Harrison, Church Support Officer at St James’ Fletchamstead, Coventry (replacing Amber Fitzpatrick)

Ellie Latham, Administration Assistant at St James’, Styvechale, Coventry (replacing Claire Bradshaw)

Sue Richardson, Assistant Administrator at Leeds Vineyard (replacing Molly Ovenden)

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 113 members in eight years when appointments are not renewed, posts are made redundant, or we are asked to cancel the membership.

Albert Danquah, Head of Administration & Operations at Word of Faith Mission, West Norwood, London  

Pat Hicks, Administrator at St Stephen’s, Tonbridge*

Angie Kateley, Youth & Children’s Administrator at St Stephen’s, Tonbridge*

Leila Hyde, Office Manager (maternity cover) at Above Bar Church, Southampton*