Help I'm a Church Secretary...  

Thank you for being willing to take on the role of secretary/administrator.  We hope that this page will be of some assistance in working with the Association as you find your feet in this new role. 

The main person to contact with any administrative issues is our Steph Tidy our Administrator —Steph works part-time, but not set hours, so feel free to contact her at any time (if she’s not available at the time, she’ll be in touch as soon as possible).

About the Association

We are an Association of around one hundred and fifty Baptist churches covering the south east corner of England.
 
The Association is divided up into nine local , geographical networks: North, South, East & West Kent; Gatwick; North Downs; and Mid, East & West Sussex. You can find details of the churches in each network here.
 
The SEBA Team Leader is Revd Stuart Davison and Stuart and Revd Paul Kerley our other Regional Minister each look after a geographical area of the Association as follows:
 
Revd Stuart Davison East, West & Mid Sussex, Gatwick & North Downs
Revd Paul Kerley East, West, North & South Kent
 
The Association is available to help churches in all aspects of their work and amongst other things provides

  • Advice on Property and Trust issues.
  • Recognition of candidates for Baptist Ministries.
  • Settlement of new Ministers and helping Churches during pastoral vacancy.
  • Support for Pioneers and Church Planters.
  • Training opportunities for Trustees, Officers and Safeguarding.

SEBA do not have a central office, as all staff work from their own homes.

For more information on the Association please see the pages under About UsOur Vision and Meet the Team.

Website

This website is the main resource for all the information we provide including 

Baptist Union Website

There is also a great deal of helpful information which can be found on the Baptist Union website.
 
Click here to go direct to an index of all the Baptist Union Corporation guideline leaflets.  These come under Headings such as:

  • Charities
  • Legal
  • Listed Buildings
  • Money for Building
  • Property
  • Trusts

and hopefully these will answer many of your questions.

Training

For information on the training courses we run or facilitate please visit our training pages. If you haven't already attended our Core Leaders Training, we recommend that you consider doing so as this will give you a good understanding of the legal responsibilities of trusteeship as well as a broader understanding of church leadership.

Safeguarding

 
Training

There is a safeguarding introductory guide on the Baptists Together website, this guide would be good for anyone who is new into work with children, young people or adults at risk, and as a refresher for anyone who is planning to come to training. it can be found here. The website also includes a number of example policies and documents.
 
Wendy Mann is SEBA’s Safeguarding Officer, and is there to help you with any concerns that you may have.  If you need to talk to someone, or ask advice, please do not hesitate to contact her.
 
Details of our Safeguarding training can be found here.

DBS Checks

Your church will have nominated at least one DBS verifier (in some cases this may be a part of the role that you have taken on).  When a verifier change is made you will need to complete a form and send it to the Baptist Union (this form is available to download from the Baptist Union’s website here).  There is also an easy to understand guide for completing DBS forms along with details of when DBS checks are necessary here — but if you are in any doubt, please speak to Wendy Mann.
 
Part of SEBA’s role in Safeguarding is to ensure that all Baptist Ministers have up to date DBS checks in place.  Whilst those in all other church positions can be undertaken by the local church verifier—all accredited Baptist Ministers must have their checks undertaken by a member of the SEBA Regional Team (Stuart or Paul ).  Steph holds a list of dates of all Ministers’ DBS checks and will be in touch with each Minister when their check is due, to arrange  a suitable date to renew it.
 

Support for wider mission

We would encourage your support of the wider Baptist family through the work of

Home Mission

Home Mission is the name that the Baptist Union has given to the fund that supports both the central work of the Union and the local work of the Association. In turn, we use the grant we are given to support around 15-20 churches across the SEBA region through Church Growth Grants and Project Grants. These grants support the churches in their local mission fields. 

The Baptist Union treasurer has encouraged all churches to give 5% of their general income in support of Home Mission.  If all churches were able to do this it would make a significant difference to the Mission work that could be undertaken.
 
We would encourage churches to give by standing order if at all possible. The bank details are below or cheques can be made payable to ‘Home Mission’ and sent to the SEBA Office.

Account Name: Baptist Union of Great Britain re South Eastern Baptist Association (Home Mission)
Bank: HSBC plc
Sort Code: 40-19-35
Account Number: 91264028

If paying on line please make sure to include your church reference number, in the 'reference' section of your mandate (you can find your church reference number here).

Individuals and churches can also help by collecting used stamps and other collectables.  Please advise the Administrator if you have any that need sending to the Union.
 
Revd Paul Kerley regularly sends out an e-mail with links to video updates from those churches benefitting from grants. The e-mail is usually sent to the Church Administrator/Secretary, but if you would like it to be sent to anyone else within your fellowship please email Paul.  The updates are also available on our homepage. 

BMS World Mission

This is a Baptist mission organisation working around the world in 35 countries.  Their personnel are mainly involved in church planting, development, disaster relief, education, health, media and advocacy.
 
All churches are encouraged to support BMS World Mission and in 2016/17 the appeal target is set at £49.00 per member per annum. Gifts for BMS should be sent to:
 
BMS World Mission, PO Box 49, 129 Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8XA
 
For more information click here.
 

Grants

Details on our grants can be found here but if you want to know more please speak to David Sheldon.
 

Annual Reports

Whether your church is a Registered Charity or not you should produce an annual report of the trustees.  Guidance on what needs to be included can be found in the Charity Commission publication ‘Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials’. 
 
As a charity, if you receive a request from a member of the public, you have to supply a copy of your annual report.
 

Charity Commission Annual Return

Although the following relates to churches that are Registered Charities the questions raised should be considered by all churches.

  • Have there been any incidents that cause a significant loss of funds or pose serious risks to a charity’s beneficiaries, resources or reputation?
  • Serious incidents include the following:
    • Significant fraud, theft or loss of funds
    • Significant sums of money or other property donated to the charity from an unknown or unverified source
    • The charity (including individual staff or trustees or both) has a known or alleged link to a proscribed organisation or to terrorist or other unlawful activities
    • A person disqualified from acting as a trustee has been or is currently acting as a trustee of the charity
    • The charity does not have a policy for safeguarding its vulnerable beneficiaries (eg. children and young people, people with disabilities and the elderly/old people)
    • The charity does not have a vetting procedure to ensure that a trustee or member of staff is eligible to act in the position he or she is being appointed to
    • Beneficiaries have been or are suspected of having been abused or mistreated
    • The charity has been subject to a criminal investigation or an investigation by another regulator or agency; or had sanctions imposed or concerns raised by another regulator or agency (eg. Health and Safety Executive, Ofsted)
  • Does the charity have policies in the following areas?
    • Risk Management
    • Investment
    • Vulnerable Beneficiaries
    • Conflict of Interest
    • Volunteer management
    • Complaints Handling
    • Paying Staff
  • Has the charity reviewed its financial controls during the reporting year?
 

Preaching Fees

We are sometimes asked about fees and expenses paid to visiting preachers. 
 
Normally speakers should be paid £50 plus travelling expenses at 45p per mile although it is accepted that some small fellowships may have to pay less than this.

You can read our full guidelines on paying the fees and expenses of Regional Ministers here
 

Additional Help

In addition to any information in here, can we also suggest you might want to take a look at the BU publication Help I’m a Charity Trustee—which includes helpful information for Secretaries & Treasurers.  Also Rachel Tole, who worked for the Baptist Union, has written a book entitled ‘Nothing Spiritual About Chaos’ that is of great help to all who are new to the role of Church Administrator or Secretary.