Diocese of Carlisle pilots national church contactless donation scheme
More than 100 churches across the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – are the first to take part in a national pilot scheme to help encourage contactless giving.
The countywide roll-out is the first of three nationally by the Church of England in 2021 and will see 115 contactless payment units offered up to churches across the county. It represents a £1.25 million investment by the national church in enabling people to give digitally in parishes.
The offer will see most participating Cumbrian churches provided with one of two types of contactless unit, dependent on wi-fi availability and whether they are to be left unattended in buildings. The units are interactive and offer different amounts to donate.
Six churches have received a bespoke device: the Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene, Lanercost; St. Lawrence's, Appleby; St Michael and All Angels, Hawkshead; St Mary's, Ambleside; St Oswald’s, Grasmere; St Bees Priory.
The Rev Beverley Lock, Team Rector of St Mary’s, Ambleside, said: “We really welcome the opportunity to help lead this pilot and give thanks that Cumbria has been chosen as a pilot area.
“More and more we are seeing people who worship in and visit our churches turning to contactless forms of payment in their day-to-day lives so it’s really important that the church is able to offer them the same opportunity to give financially.
“We are so grateful for all the ways in which people give to our mission, both through action and in monetary ways. During the Covid pandemic, we’ve really missed our regular visitors for their fellowship and encouragement. We hope this will make their generous giving easier.”
Churches were initially nominated by the Mission Community of which they are a part. There are more than 30 such communities in the county – groups of mutually supportive churches with mission at their centre.
All those churches taking part will be offered training and one-to-one support. Grace Emmett, National Digital Giving Manager for the Church of England, and David Stout, Regional Giving Advisor for the North, are currently touring churches in the county for three days, offering drop-in advice sessions for Cumbrian churches.
Grace explained: “As the trend continues for card payments to outperform payments made using cash, contactless giving will enable visitors and regular churchgoers the ability to quickly and easily support the life and ministry of churches across the Diocese of Carlisle. Experience so far is that contactless donations are, on average, three times the value of cash donations.
“Working with churches in Cumbria allows us to see how contactless giving functions in a range of contexts, from the city of Carlisle to towns, and villages. These units will be ideal for helping tourists and ramblers share generously within the local economy as they visit churches while out and about exploring the Lakes, but we’re also excited to see how these units support churches in the urban centres of Carlisle, Workington, and Barrow where churches are delivering front line support to their local communities."
David added: "It's fantastic to partner with the Diocese of Carlisle and I'm really excited to see how these units will impact the churches in the area. Contactless payments have become par for the course over the last year and I'm really looking forward to seeing so many churches across Cumbria engage in this 21st century technology. Already we've had such a brilliant response from the churches and it's going to be great seeing them in action."
It is hoped that all of the units will be installed in Cumbrian churches by the end of May. Monthly charges will not be charged for the first year, though a small commission will be deducted by the payments processor from each donation. After 12 months, some of the units would cost around £10/month with an option to return them without charge.
Notes to editors
For more resources and support from the national church on ‘Giving’, please visit the Building a Generous Church section of the C of E website.
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Head of Communications, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.