Revd Dick Gray is the Synod Treasurer
“I am married with 2 children and 3 grandchildren, and my wife Janet is also active in the United Reformed Church and as a Synod Pastoral Advisor (SPA). Apart from a gap during my youth, I have been a lifelong Christian. I am retired from full time work having worked for more than 30 years in the Telecoms industry, 10 of which were spent in places including Beijing, Hong Kong, Cairo, and Warsaw. I was ordained in 1991, and served as Minister for Westlea Church in the West Swindon partnership for around 10 years, retiring in 2013. Although not an accountant, I have many years in industry dealing with accounts and budgets, so I hope that my knowledge can serve the Synod. My view is that we need to be prudent with our finances, but we should also recognise that where God wants us to spend, he will provide the necessary resources, sometimes from unexpected sources.” Contact Dick on 01626 890572 or e-mail Dick
The SW Synod has sources of Finance derived from current churches, redundant churches, investments and bequests that are used to fund the work of the United Reformed Church in the South West.
The role of the Treasurer is to ensure that these funds are used wisely and in ways that support the Mission of the United Reformed Church in the South West, but also to provide monies where needed for the work undertaken on behalf of the Synod. Thus moneys are used to pay for our professional staff in the Synod, to meet the costs of running the Synod and to support the Ministry of the Church to the people of the South West. Increasingly the various denominations are working together and we also support the Ecumenical Bodies in our region.
The Treasurer and the Trust & Property Officer are also available to help churches manage their financial activities and the stewardship of their property.
The Synod also makes grants to support the work of local churches in enhancing their Mission activities, and helping them to connect with the communities they support. Details of the types of activity we support and the ways to apply for grants are on the Finance Documents page.Grants & Loans available from the Synod
The Synod makes available several grants to support churches and their members.
Enabling grants are available to churches who would like to do something in their church life but need extra financial help. There is a simple process to apply for small grants up to £2500 and greater generosity in large grants up to £25000 per annum. For significant grants churches are advised to consult with their local Pastoral Advisor before submitting any grant application. For further information see the Enabling Grants guidance notes.
Enabling Grants are considered by the Synod Executive Committee.
The Synod offers grants to maintain property used by the church. This includes both churches and manses. A Facelift Grant can be claimed not more than every 5 years to a maximum of £10,000 (£5,000 for United Churches) which is for work to maintain or improve a building. The grant is for 50% of the costs involved (25% for United churches). The application is submitted as a part of the Building Property Management application.
In addition the Synod offers a 10% grant to maintain property used by the church (5% for United Churches) on any works not covered by a Facelift Grant. Application is on the Property Management Form.
Property Grants are dealt with by the Synod Property Committee.
The Synod makes available to ministers grants in line with the central agreements to fund Education for Ministry level 3 activities. These grants are dealt with by your local Synod Pastoral advisor.
There are also Training Grants available for Lay people for up to £250. These are dealt with by your local Synod Pastoral advisor.
Youth work Grants
The Synod makes available grants for Youth Work. These are for a maximum of £500. Larger grants may be available under the Mission Grants scheme above.
The Synod is willing to offer loans to churches for work on their property used for church work. This includes church buildings, halls and manses. Application should be includes as a part of the Property Management Form. Loans are generally for a period not exceeding 5 years and are offered at the prevailing bank rate plus 1%.
The Synod offers car loans to ministers and church workers in order to purchase a car. The maximum loan is £5,000 and must be repaid over not more than 4 years. The rate of interest is the prevailing Bank rate plus 1%.
Working for the Synod
The Synod believes that no-one should be prevented from working on a Synod Committee or project because of financial constraints. Therefore for all working on Synod Committees or projects the Synod will meet reasonable costs of transport to get to a meeting. Claim forms are available. The usual rate is 25p per mile for car users, with lower rates for motorcycle or bicycle use.
The Synod is generally not involved in preaching fees for local churches. There are situations where a local church may claim from the URC fees & expenses paid to visiting worship leaders where an incumbent minister is unable to lead worship. The rules for such claims are published by the URC on the main web site within the Plan for Partnership.
Where a church has no minister it is a local decision what to pay a minister. The Synod offers guidance on this matter.
Maintenance of the Ministry
A Frequently asked Questions is available to help churches to understand how the M&M fund operates within this Synod.