RCB Roadshow proved beneficial for parish officers


Attending the RCB Roadshow for Clogher Diocese

A RCB roadshow for clergy and parish officers in Clogher Diocese, took place in Lisbellaw Parish Centre on 11 October.

Staff from the Representative Church Body at Church House, Dublin, gave presentations on finance, charities and compliance and property issues during a very informative evening.

There was a good attendance from across the Diocese.

Kate Williams Head of Finance RCB speaking.

Following the opening by the Bishop of Clogher, Right Revd Ian Ellis, the main presentation on finance was given by Kate Williams, RCB’s Head of Finance, who outlined trustee responsibilities, how the RCB can support them, explained the rules of the Charities Acts and Revenue rules, thresholds for NI, how to set out Receipts and Payments and Accrual accounts, explained restricted and unrestricted funds, Assets and Liabilities and Balance Sheets, accounting for church property and parish investments.

Kate encouraged the diocese to support the formation of local treasurer networks to share learnings and for Select Vestries to set up a parish email address for communicating with the charity bodies and the RCB so that when the personnel change, the email address remained the same.

Janet Maxwell, Head of Synod Services and Communications, gave an overview of the charities legislation and said the charity regulator empowered churches to think about tomorrow.

Pauline High, Head of Property, gave a presentation on the practicalities of administrating property in parishes and explained how some property from parishes was vested in the RCB. She said the RCB were the legal owners of church property vested in it and that this property was held in trust for the benefit of the parish.

Janet Maxwell addressing the audience.

She said the RCB need to know what major works are proposed in parishes. The approval process is first discussed at Vestry, then taken to Diocesan Council via the Glebes Committee, then to RCB Property Committee and finally the Executive Committee.

If parishes were considering selling property, there needs to be a resolution from the Vestry first before going to Diocesan Council for approval to sell, with two independent valuations and confirmation of title.

The RCB manage over 20,000 trusts which could be bequest money from sales of property. Eighty per cent is held in trust by parishes or groups and 20 per cent of sales of church buildings go to the Church Fabric Fund.

To refurbish church property, there must be full approval before beginning as well as the engagement of suitable qualified consultants with proof how it will be funded. Any contracts are between the RCB and the contractor.

Pauline also itemised what parishes needed to seek advice from the RCB for, such as removal of trees reordering of churches, graveyard improvements, church plate and telecommunications where a mast might be sought for a church tower.

There are a range of grants available; Church Fabric and Development Fund, Marshall Bereford Fund, National Lottery, National Churches Trust, Benefact Trust and well as local council initiatives.

Pauline High RCB Head of Property.