Adventures in Generosity

The occasionally coherent ramblings of a Stewardship Advisor in the Church of England

Archive for news

Living below the Line – Why ?

So as of next Monday I’m challenging myself to eat and drink on a budget of no more than £1 per day – why ? well here’s a very short introduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EdY_M-rKjKw

You can sponsor me by going to http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/twurchsteward and all that I raise will go to Christian Aid.

I’ll be blogging next week on how I’m getting on.

Oh, and if you notice me being a little more cranky than usual you can always send emergency chocolate (for after the challenge) care of Church House Towers.

Parish Funding Newsletter

Latest newsletter for Parish Giving Officers et al is available Parish Funding News January 2011.

Bit of a dry edition I’m afraid – much information about tax to be got out at this time of year (and especially this year !) , but feel free to nick any of the info for your own purposes if it will help.

Headline I guess is the end of Gift Aid Transitional Relief – if your PCC don’t already know this they need to know it now !

On wedding lists …

It is very common among my peer group (middle class, university educated, professional types) for couples to get married in their late twenties or early thirties.  It seems to make sense,  to take time to get to know our own minds, develop a career and a network of friends and establish our own identities before we share them with another.  More often than not, when we do get married, we’ve been living with our intended for some time, getting to know each other and setting up home together with all that entails.

For all the advantages though, the cohabitation ‘try before you buy’ approach does rather leave ones family with a bit of a conundrum.  What do you buy the couple who have everything ?  The traditional wedding list was designed specifically to provide all those essentials that a newly wed couple would need in their new home.  But frankly, by the time most of us tied the knot we already had quite enough towels, pots, pans, cutlery, dinner plates, glasses (lots of those in our case !) etc.

There are alternatives – some I know went for the ‘we can’t afford a honeymoon’ wedding list – the extortion racket that is the modern wedding industry generally means that by the time you’ve paid for a half decent venue, a frock, some flowers and a bit of cake you’ve probably got enough left for a wet weekend in Bognor – so guests were encouraged to purchase holiday vouchers to ensure the newlyweds got away from it all for a suitably romantic start to married life.

But not everyone has this problem, and frankly, the whole ‘wedding gifts for the sake of it’ thing isn’t very in keeping with the current Zeitgeist now is it.

So I was thinking, and would like to suggest to any couples currently contemplating nuptials, why not buck the trend and set a new kind of example ?  I heard recently of a couple who asked their guests to make a donation to charity water.  Or perhaps in lieu of those dreadful sugared almonds go for Oxfam unwrapped gifts as table favours.

If the happy couple were lucky enough to have guests with the finanical wherewithall they could even suggest a modest contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – especially if they had a particular fondness for Africa.

Just a thought …

Hot off the press

Parish Giving Officers newsletter finally put to bed. 

A lot of the time managing PGO’s is a bit like blogging.  I try and produce something engaging, informative and attractive.  I sweat over phraseology, is it accesible ? is it trite ? does it inform, inspire and encourage.  Then when it’s finished off it goes out into the world and possibly straight into the bin. 

Parish Giving Officers are after all volunteers, with lives of their own (not to mention the several lives they are probably trying to manage at church – people who say yes invariably have umpteen other voluntary duties).  Whilst I sit here agonising that not enough parishes keep me informed about what they’re up to, it’s easy to forget that the parishes probably have better things to be doing than sending regular updates on their stewardship campaigns to me.

So, for what it’s worth, here it is. Parish Funding News Issue 1 September 2010. Hope you enjoy it, thanks for reading and, if you get a minute – give me a call – I’d love to hear what you’re up to and what is more, I need to nick your ideas !

National Conference

Today and to the end of the week I’m holed up with my fellow Twurchstewards in Melton Mowbray to share our collective wisdom on all matters Generous. 

This won’t be a long post as I’m off wine tasting in 10 minutes and I fear my evening may be long.  When one colleague says ‘I’ve got the Whisky has the Colonel brought the Gin ?’ one must begin to fear for ones sobriety/sanity/liver/chances of a good nights sleep !

Not that it’s all about the ‘networking’ – the programme is full and it’s awesome to be amongst others who share a passion for what this Church could be.  Conference opening promises some engaging discussions though and if I can maintain my sobriety long enough to reflect on some of it I will try. 

For now, if you have the time, spare a prayer for the poor remnants of my liver and brain cells and that the coffee will be strong and plentiful …

Event news

Attended a ‘Community Cascade’ event today on ‘Resourcing your faith building’.

Have to admit a tad of scepticism before hand – CC is a partnership between all the CVS’s in West Yorks (thats councils for voluntary services to those fortunate enough not to have to know these things).

CVS’s not in my experience all that good at dealing with Faith organisations unless said groups keep fairly quite about the Faith in question.

However, an excellent and informative day.  Morning Workshop was on Energy Sustainability and was full of incredibly useful stuff on how to monitor, audit, manage and reduce energy costs.  The chap giving the presentation had experience of energy audits in churches so clearly had an understanding of the limits and idiosyncracies involved in historic and archaic buildings.  I will post his presentation up when I get a copy.

He’s also agreed to come to our Autumn Training day so watch this space.

Afternoon session was on Marketing – got some good pointers and materials but presenter seemed a bit phased by the whole ‘faith building’ thing – so no specific strategies there – and she managed to alienate half the room (the Anglican half anyway) by saying that our message should make it clear that ‘you’re not just safe and comfortable’ hmmmmmmmmm.

Lies, damn lies and ….

Statistics.
I’ve started following @YouGov (the poll people) on Twitter. So far today I have learned two things:

First; 20% of consumers aspire to own something made by Prada – they do not specify what, which I think tells you all you need to know about ‘designer’ culture.

Second;10% of us can no longer afford to buy organic.

The poll appears to be silent on the percentage of people who couldn’t afford to buy organic in the first instance and does not elucidate on how many of these ‘organic’ consumers have instead switched to buying the seed and growing organic instead.

I’ve also learned that more women than men have bought a smartphone in the last 6 months – pressumably as consolation for not being able to afford the Prada.

These statistics are of course meaningless in isolation, but the fact that such questions are being posed during what the papers now call

‘THE WORST FINANCIAL CRISIS IN GLOBAL HISTORY EVER AND THAT INCLUDES THE GREAT DEPRESSION’

suggests to me that poverty is a somewhat relative term and that I should listen far less when people tell me that the reason giving is down is because everyone is broke.