Alliance welcomes charity commission initiative
The African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) and the Evangelical Alliance UK have welcomed a new initiative by the Charity Commission to work more closely with churches on establishing good working practices and to improve understanding of how churches are run.
At a conference on Tuesday (May 20) organised by ACEA and the Evangelical Alliance, several hundred delegates, including church leaders from around the UK, heard the Head of Customer Service at the Charity Commission, Mary Cridge, announce that they are prepared to put resources into a new initiative that might help solve some of the problems identified in the past.
ìWe want to work with ACEA and the Evangelical Alliance and other umbrella groups to draw up a model governing document specifically for churches. This would contain all the provisions that you and we think are necessary to provide a good and appropriate governance framework for churches. I am looking forward to working with you on this.î
The GOAL (Governance, Openness, Accountability and Leadership) conference was designed to help churches meet the challenges and expectations of charity regulators and followed recent Charity Commission appointments of Receiver/Managers at two of Londonís largest churches. This pressed home the need for all churches and Christian organisations to promote open, transparent and accountable management of their charities.
The announcement is being viewed by the Evangelical Alliance as a direct result of discussions over recent months between ACEA, the Evangelical Alliance, the Charity Commission and the Home Office, representatives of whom were also present at The GOAL, along with spokespeople from the Inland Revenue.
Evangelical Alliance UK Director John Smith said the Charity Commissionís new initiative was a significant indication that the Commission recognised the diverse nature of church and that some expressions of church and church leadership might not match existing governance models.
ìThe GOAL conference demonstrates the good will of church leaders, Charity Commissioners and the Inland Revenue to understand one anotherís positions and to look forward to a harmonious relationship in future.î
ACEA General Director, Mark Sturge, said of the new initiative, ìWe welcome the announcement and we appreciate the swiftness of the Charity Commissionís response to find a solution to a situation which could have potentially undermined the function and integrity of churches."
ìWe will now be working closely with them to produce models for church governance that will ensure that churches meet the requirements of charity regulators while still fulfilling Godís mission to the world.î
Following yesterdayís conference ACEA and the Evangelical Alliance also plan to organise a series of practical seminars and workshops to provide churches with the support they need in the areas of Governance, Openness, Accountability and Leadership.