Parkgate and Neston United Reformed Church
The role of the Church Secretary includes:-
Free Will Offering (FWO) Secretary
The FWO secretary is sometimes referred to as the Gift Aid secretary or the Covenant (an older term) secretary.
This is a strange title as any donations or ‘offerings’ made to the church are by choice, and not as a set subscription. The individual decides the level of the contribution he or she makes to the church.
As shown in the Church Finance section, ‘offerings’ toward the upkeep of the church can be in the form of loose cash or cheques, by weekly envelopes or by bank standing order. If the donor is a UK taxpayer a Gift AID declaration should be completed so that a tax refund can be claimed on the donations. The first responsibility of the FWO secretary is to ensure that the church members are aware of these options and that they are supplied with the necessary forms and envelopes.
The second responsibility is to reclaim the Gift Aid tax from HM Revenues and Customs. Twice a year details of givings and donations, received from the church treasurer, are submitted to HMRC and, usually within a few weeks, the income tax refund is paid into the church account. The treasurer keeps a record of any donations etc. which have been made to restricted funds such as charities, etc., and when the refund is received the appropriate allocation is made to these funds.
The Outreach Team leads the local church in its witness to the community and in meeting the needs of the community.
The Team is also responsible for the wider work of the Church.
The main objectives of the Team are:
The church supports Christian Aid through the URC scheme of ‘Commitment for Life.’ We are a Fair Trade Church.
Members give prayerful and practical support to work among Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Liverpool through Asylum Link.
At least two charities are supported each year – one local and one national/international.
The Elders’ meeting is responsible for selecting the treasurer and setting the boundaries of the treasurer’s authority, but the appointment must be made by the church meeting. Any large items of expenditure must also be considered by the Elders’ meeting and its recommendations passed to the church meeting for approval. To assist in this procedure, the church also has a dedicated finance team, convened by the responsible elder.
The treasurer is ultimately responsible for overseeing the financial affairs of the church and keeping the Elders’ and church meetings informed of the church’s financial ‘state of health’
The collection and banking of income and the payment of any debts the church incurs for goods and services. At present the treasurer has assistance in banking the weekly collections and controlling the invoicing and collection of payments for hall lettings.
Any income received by the church for other charities, resulting from special appeals, Christmas collections, etc. is recorded separately as ‘restricted funds’ and paid over to the charities concerned. Any income received for special purposes, whether from personal donations, bequests or grants is treated in the same way.
Monthly income and expenditure reports are prepared for the Elders’ meeting and an annual Statement of Accounts, checked and signed off by an ‘independent examiner’ must be submitted, via the Elders, to the church Annual General Meeting for approval. The Statement of Accounts is published in the church’s Annual Report, and copies must be sent to URC Mersey Province and to the Charities Commission.
Role of Minister: (Rev. Hilary Smith)
The minister has pastoral oversight of the local church, which involves leading worship, visiting, at home or in hospital, praying with people, and playing a role in keeping the focus on Christian values.
The role also involves the chairing of meetings, liaison with other churches and with the Synod, and taking funerals, baptisms and wedding services.
The minister works with the elders to keep the roll of members, ensure worship is offered and the Sacraments are administered (at Holy Communion), maintain appropriate standards and to have oversight of work with children and young people.
Buildings & Maintenance (B&M) Committee
The name says it all. Our role is to look after the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. We schedule regular activities to do with servicing of boilers, fire protection equipment, electrical appliances, catering facilities etc.. We oversee the cleaning and gardening and have a schedule for the ongoing decoration of the buildings including the Manse. We firefight as and when necessary and encourage everyone to report any problem or potential problem at the earliest opportunity. We are involved in any new projects, such as the recent extension of the hall and have a core of people who will readily use their talents and expertise for the benefit of the church.
At the current time the committee consists of Hilary Bell, Jen Cash, Ray Baker, Rod Davies. Brian Jones, Paul Lyon and David Vale. We are always on the lookout for new members so please do not hesitate to make contact with one of us and join in our meetings which are held on the third Wednesday of every other month.
Local Church Leader
A Local Church Leader is a serving elder whose leadership role focuses on a particular aspect of the church’s work.
Mersey Synod first introduced the role of Local Church Leader in 1997/98
After recommendation by the local church and an agreed role is identified, an elder may be accepted for the twenty-day training course. When the course is completed, the role finalized and agreed by the local church, the elder is recommended to Ministries Committee for acceptance as Local Church Leader.
He/she is then commissioned at a special service in the local church. The role is reviewed every few years.
Hall Management Team
The hall management team is made up of church members, hall users and the bookings officer. It was formed at the time of the last refurbishment and its remit is to act as a link between the church and users of the hall. We meet twice a year, or more often, as needs arise.
Rev. Hilary Bell (convenor)
Christian Education Team
Convenor : Sally Pratt email: email@example.com
Team Members: Hilary Bell, Sheila Davies, Mary Ann Fewtrell, Alan Gaunt, Susan Vale
Tel No. 0151 336 6769
The Christian Education Team meet about three times a year and organise various social and educational events.
“Friday in the Foyer”, an informal discussion group, meet once a month to discuss various newspaper or magazine articles on up-to-the-minute topics over a glass of wine, coffee and cake. Subjects have included “Are Christians discriminated in the workplace?”; “Encounter with Angels”; “Assisted Dying”; “Gay Marriage”; “Justice that mends”; “What makes a good society?” “Climate change”.
Everyone is welcome and if anyone would like to have a topic they would wish to discuss, please let Sally know on the above number.
A Bible Study Group also meet monthly to read through the Bible. This began in 2008 as part of the URC’s Vision for Life. The group are now reading Daniel. Last year the group viewed the film Ruth based on the book of Ruth which they had read during the year. Another successful viewing took place when the group watched the film Les Miserables which was followed up with a very interesting discussion.
An Ecumenical Bible Study is held during Lent which provides a good opportunity to share faith and fellowship. The material is chosen by the Ministers’ Fellowship from Neston & District Churches Together and each church studies the same course to allow interfaith study groups.
In the past, an Administrator from Liverpool University was invited to speek about her life, faith, work and church. This was well attended and followed by open discussion when others spoke of their experience of sharing their faith with colleagues in the workplace.
Two separate talks led by our own Ministers took place on “The Real Paul”. They explained some of the lesser known facts about the Apostle Paul’s life and teaching and looked at passages in the Bible attributed to Paul giving them both context and meaning.
The team are about to launch a one-off session entitled “I was there…..” to be held at 10.00am on Monday 16 November and at 7.30pm on the same day when one of our Bible stories will be told through the eyes of a character “who was there”.