Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Writer Janet Woodlock, Federal Coordinator of Churches of Christ in Australia
Over a water cooler conversation at the CCVT office, Stuart Campbell and I mused on the potential savings and income opportunities that might come about by churches sharing information and working together in business and finance. How much money could be released for Kingdom good through closer cooperation?
At the next National Heads of Churches meeting I suggested the idea of a church finance meeting. This was warmly received. CCFS volunteered to coordinate this, and Stuart Campbell did a wonderful job organising the meeting, including the venue, invitations, and guest presenters.
The inaugural FRANC meeting (Financial Representatives of Australian National Churches) was held on October 30, 2017. Around 36 church representatives from a wide range of denominations met at the NAB office in Melbourne.
Dean Pearson from NAB gave an economic update, including measures not only of GDP but of community wellbeing. He spoke of the role of the church in promoting wellbeing and in addressing the levels of anxiety experienced by young people. It was a very pastoral plea from an economist!
John McLeod gave a keynote address on trends in philanthropy. He spoke of growing demand for Impact Investment (investments that provide both an economic and a social return) and suggested the church welfare sector may be well placed to innovate in this area. He also noted the rise in demand for ethical investments. He spoke of the areas of philanthropy/fundraising that provide a strong return on investment (such as bequests) compared to those with a weak return (such as lotteries and raffles). Some international trends in philanthropy were highlighted. Of concern is the shrinking percentage given to religious causes in the philanthropic pie.
Two round table groups from Religious Charitable Development Funds discussed their responses to the revised APRA and ASIC guidelines and AusTRAC requirements. Another round table group from other church funds discussed the challenges and opportunities they are experiencing.
The afternoon involved a brainstorm of areas for possible collaboration around church business and finance. A very long list was developed! Four round table discussions were then held around:
- Organising future FRANC meetings
- A ‘Register’ for Church Financial Organisations—who we are, what’s our structure, business model, what technology platform do we all use, etc.
- Property Services—organisations that offer property services—better scale, marketing, leasing, development
- Collaboration around technology platforms
Each of these groups developed recommendations, and four volunteers offered to do further work in the areas discussed. The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria offered to organise and host the next FRANC meeting.
Each participant shared a highlight from the day. Many reported on the sense of unity of purpose and celebrated the willingness to work together.
I feel we can be very proud of CCFS for suggesting and organising this meeting. My sources (Stuart and Russell!) tell me there are many follow up conversations occurring, and Stuart is setting up channels of communication between churches. There are huge potential savings to be made through group bargaining power in areas like insurance, procurement, and investments, and there seems to be much good will around this. I invite your prayers into new initiative.
Previous posts:March 2020(0)February 2020(1)January 2020(1)October 2019(2)September 2019(3)August 2019(2)July 2019(1)June 2019(2)May 2019(6)April 2019(3)March 2019(1)January 2019(2)December 2018(6)October 2018(2)September 2018(3)August 2018(3)July 2018(4)June 2018(0)May 2018(9)April 2018(14)February 2018(3)January 2018(1)December 2017(5)November 2017(1)October 2017(5)September 2017(2)August 2017(5)July 2017(7)June 2017(5)May 2017(9)April 2017(10)March 2017(6)February 2017(2)January 2017(1)December 2016(2)November 2016(8)October 2016(8)September 2016(4)August 2016(13)July 2016(7)June 2016(3)May 2016(8)April 2016(13)March 2016(7)February 2016(3)November 2015(1)