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1. The Role Of The Finance Committee

2. The Meeting

3. Annual Timeline

4. Parish Accounts

5. Implementing Parish Collections

6. Canon Law And Finances

7. Parish Databases

8. Planned Giving Programs

9. Book-keeping

10. Credit Cards And Direct Debits

11. Reporting To The Parish

12. Parish Budgets

13. Maximising Appeals




2. The Meeting

Finance Committee or Council Meetings should be regular, generally monthly or bi-monthly.

Meetings should start on time and finish on time.

Meetings must be chaired by an experienced and capable chairperson, but that person does not need to therefore be the group leader. Whereever possible, don't have the priest as the chair, his main roles are to listen, to respond and to ensure action is taken.

Meetings can be a genuine small church group for the members, or can be the starting point for a small group meeting held at another time. All meetings should start with prayer, because we are doing God's work.

Every meeting needs an agenda, which covers both recurring issues from the annual timeline and particular issues.

Meetings should bring together work undertaken outside the meeting. A meeting should not be spent, for example, putting together a schedule for a planned giving program. Someone should put together the schedule between meetings, and this draft would then go to the meeting.

Meetings must be minuted and records kept. I have been a member of a finance committee where no meeting notes were kept. How then could there be any accountability? In truth there wasn't. I suggest the best person to take the minutes is the parish secretary or a volunteer who offers their services as a secretary, not a committee member. This will ensure a professional approach.

The meetings should concentrate on positive activity. Some ongoing areas may need to be checked off, say the implementation of a building maintenance plan. The bulk of the meeting should be around positive moves in the parish, such as increasing income, budgeting to enhance the parish plan or putting in place building maintenance.

On contentious issues, it is important to follow a process to ensure that everyone is heard. The chairperson should simply ask every person for their thoughts one by one. The last person to talk should be the priest, because people often find it hard to disagree with the priest.

Remember that it is up to the parish team to undertake most of the jobs that come from the meeting. If you start burdening all the members of the committee with jobs, the work of the parish in this area will be restricted to what the committee members have time for. It is the staff's role to find other volunteers for various parish roles.

Meetings should include an opportunity for a coffee afterwards (I don't mind a glass of sambuca with mine). It is important that this group becomes a small community, which builds faith, trust and honesty.

Next: 3. Annual Timeline >>>



Copyright © 2004, Martin Teulan