I have been church treasurer since around 1998. I’m not exactly sure when I took on the role but is was a gradual transition from Frank Briggs as I began by just helping out with one or two tasks. Frank’s eyesight was already beginning to fail and it eventually got so bad that he could no longer see to sign cheques.
He was also using hand-written cash books which needed to added up and balanced manually and this was very time consuming. I was able to put these on spreadsheets for him which did the job in a fraction of the time. Eventually I offered to take on the role of treasurer full time and I think he was very relieved when I did because he had done the job for forty years and was looking to pass it on.
Just as relieved was Mary because she knew just how much time he was spending doing the church accounts on top of all the other commitments he had at Longcauseway. So time flies and I find that I myself have been doing the job for almost twenty years. I sincerely hope that I am not doing this for as long as Frank did it because I’ll still be treasurer into my late eighties if I do.
Being treasurer means that I have work to do on a weekly basis. There are wages to pay and staff to be paid and this is every week. I also pay any bills that need paying and write up the cash books on a weekly basis. I do get help from others and Internet banking has made life easier. Pam Hall collects the offertory for me every week and she banks this along with the Saturday morning coffee money and the cash that has been donated on Sunday morning which we give to Commitment for Life and All We Can. After opening the offertory envelopes, Pam records the amount in a weekly register alongside the number corresponding to the envelope. She does not know which number of envelope belongs to which member of church. Only I know this and the only reason I have to know is because I claim Gift Aid from HMRC on behalf of those participating and the form require names, addresses, postcodes and total amount given by each individual person in the tax year. On average, this income is about £9,000 p.a. so it is vital that we claim as much as we possibly can. If you haven’t yet considered this yourself and are a regular tax-payer then please have a word with me and join with many others in our congregation who already give under Gift Aid. It won’t cost you a penny to sign up. Harry Paylor also helps out by paying the Wednesday coffee money into our Giro account at the post office and he periodically gives me the receipts so I can enter these into our cash books.
Once upon a time we were classed as a registered charity under the umbrella of the nationwide United Reformed Church. The terminology for us then was an excepted charity. Legislation changed however and any church with a turnover in excess of £100,000 had to register in their own right. So this is what I did. Since then I have had to re-register the church as we are now in a Local Ecumenical Partnership with the Methodist Church and have a new constitution. This has brought about major changes as to how we prepare our annual accounts. Up until last year they had to be prepared and presented to a certain standard called SORP (Statements of Recommended Practice) Just recently this has been changed again so we now have to present the accounts under FRS 102 a new financial reporting standard. As a result the accounts have become a little more technical and have presented one or two challenges.
The treasurer and the secretary are automatically elected as ex-officio members of the leadership team. I think that the secretary and treasurer need to be present at those meetings as they are the official officers of the church. Finance is always on the agenda and it is important therefore that I am present. I also sit on the property committee as inevitably, repairs and renewals and general upkeep of the church costs money and decisions have to be made. I am also treasurer for the Christian Aid Mini Walk and the accounts for this are presented to the annual general meeting of Churches Together in Dewsbury.
I enjoy being treasurer (I wouldn’t have done it so long if I didn’t) but one day I will have to hand over the reins. Until then I will keep on making my offering to God through service to his church in the best way I know which is by looking after the finances that keeps the church going for future generations. We all want the church to flourish long after we are gone to continue with God’s work at home and abroad.