Time to rethink Benefit Sanctions

Over time, more than 1 in 5 Jobseekers find themselves sanctioned i.e. left without benefits for a month or more. The Joint Public Issues team of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland has published this report in conjunction with Church Action on Poverty and the Church in Wales.

 

Churches’ Mutual Credit Union

This recent initiative, including the Methodist Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Scotland, is now open for business, and invites savings in the Founder Members’ Bond.

At present, membership is open to the following within the Methodist Church

  • lay and ordained ministers, in training, in active service and in retirement
  • employees of the Methodist Church, at any level from local to connexional
  • trustees of the Methodist Church – this includes all Church Council members
  • members of the household of one of the above

For more details and future plans see the website.

Scottish Churches Housing Action

Scottish Churches Housing Actionscha will be 20 years old on 17 January 2015.

We will mark the event with a service of celebration, challenge and commitment at
St Andrew’s RC Cathedral, Clyde St, Glasgow at 2.30 pm.

Worship will be led by our Associate Convener, Rt Rev Bruce Cameron, and the sermon will be given by Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan.

ALL WELCOME

Scottish Churches Housing Action supports churches to make practical responses to the challenge of homelessness in Scotland. Read its reponse to the Smith Commission.

Scottish Parliament Motion supports church initiative

The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church has been officially informed that Sarah Boyack MSP has lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament to commend the church on its recent partnership with Capital Credit Union, to facilitate the provision of credit union financial services to staff, members and the wider community in Edinburgh, Lothians and Borders. Ms Boyack had not been able to attend the church’s launch event for the partnership but wants to support the initiative.
The motion has attracted strong cross-party support.
MSPs have not been able to sent out their regular newsletters in the lead up to the Scottish referendum on independence, but Sarah plans to send out a newsletter immediately after the vote, which will include information about credit unions generally and about our initiative specifically.
The motion reads:
 Motion S4M-10847: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014
Access to Credit Union Services
“That the Parliament congratulates the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church and the Capital Credit Union on their new joint credit union scheme, which aims to offer affordable loans and mortgages as an alternative to payday borrowing; welcomes the commitment by the church staff and trained volunteers to offer weekly workshops that aim to provide access to credit union services to churchgoers and across the wider community, and further welcomes the plans by the Methodist Church in Scotland to work with the Church of Scotland and the Church of England to launch the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union on 1 October 2014.”
So far, the motion has been supported by: David Stewart, Anne McTaggart, Margaret McCulloch, Hanzala Malik, Annabelle Ewing, Jayne Baxter, Richard Lyle, Patricia Ferguson, Mark McDonald, Neil Findlay, Mike MacKenzie, Elaine Murray, Stuart McMillan, David Torrance, Jackie Baillie, Dave Thompson, Cara Hilton, Nigel Don.

Call to prayer for Iraq and Syria on 31 August

The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ken Howcroft and Ms Gill Dascombe, are asking Methodists to ensure that they spend some special time in prayer for persecuted minorities during worship on 31 August, and consider donating to Christian Aid’s Iraq appeal.

Text of letter

They have written a prayer for Syria and Iraq for use by churches and groups:

“The situation in Iraq and Syria can only be described as a living nightmare,” said Mr Howcroft and Ms Dascombe, adding, “as Methodists we stand in solidarity alongside all those who are persecuted. As followers of Jesus who was crucified we stand with all those who find their religion twisted by others out of all recognition in order to justify horrific acts of violence. We stand in prayer, crying out together to a God of justice, peace and mercy. May God have mercy on us all.”

Credit Union partnership launched

The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church has launched a new credit union partnership based at the Church. 
We’re delighted to be forming this partnership with Capital Credit Union, an experienced Edinburgh-based credit union, to offer financial services to our community. These services will help church staff and members, students and other local people build up savings, and access mortgages and low-cost loans.
As a church we want to support the “not for profit, not for charity, but for service” ethos of the credit union movement and invite you to support us in this initiative.

EDINBURGH CHURCH TAKES UP THE ‘WAR ON WONGA’

The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church is taking a stand against payday lenders by joining forces with a local credit union to bring fair and affordable savings, mortgages and loans to church members and the wider community. The church will promote the financial services of Capital Credit Union, an experienced Edinburgh-based credit union. This partnership is the first of its type in the city.

As with all credit unions, members are required to save a specific amount each week, which is then pooled and can be loaned out again at low interest rates. Information sessions will be held at the church on a weekly basis and run by church staff and specially-trained church volunteers.

The credit union partnership is officially launched at 6pm on 19 July at an event at the church’s Well Café at Nicolson Square in Edinburgh.

Belinda Letby, minster of the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, says:

“As a church, we see every day how tough times have been over the last few years for our members – and not only for them, but for their families and the community around us. We want to help protect people from predatory payday lenders, who seem to offer a quick way out, when in reality they not only prolong but exacerbate the problem. The wonderful thing about credit unions is that all members save, so they will always have something to fall back on. This, more than anything else, is why we have set up the credit union, because we believe that by working together we can help prevent problems before they even arise.”

Capital Credit Union CEO, Marlene Shiels, says:

“We are incredibly proud to be in a position to work with the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church in this way. Credit unions are built on the ethos of people helping people, and this is a perfect illustration of our philosophy in action.”

New Church Cafe in Nicolson Square

In August 2013, The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church (at 25 Nicolson Square, EDINBURGH, EH8 9BX) opened a new Cafe called “The Well”.  The last few months have been about “finding their feet” but things are going well so far.

Please go to their website at www.thewelledinburgh.com  or find them on Facebook  www.facebook.com/thewelledinburgh.

During December 2013, they have some special offers on – see the links above for more details.

Methodist Women in Britain Launch

METHODIST WOMEN IN BRITAIN
‘Methodist Women in Britain (MWiB) was launched on July 1st 2011 during the Methodist Conference in Southport. It takes the place of ‘Network’ (although it will probably be referred to as ‘Network’ for a while to come!).

Recognising that few people were able to share in the Launch Events, the Launch is being taken ‘on tour’ around the country.

The only meeting in Scotland will be held at The City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, Nicolson Square, on Saturday 12th May 2012 from 2.30-4.30pm.

The programme will include elements of the Conference Launch, a flavour of the WFMUCW World Assembly in South Africa with its theme ” Bambelela” (Never give Up!) and news of how women here and around the world are ‘making Christ known’ in word and deed. There will be refreshments after the Launch.
Please put this date in your diaries and come and share in this exciting afternoon. It is open to all. Offers of food will be gratefully received.

Guidelines for use of E-mail

(based on Connexional guidelines and approved by Edinburgh and Forth Circuit Meeting – June 2010)

“Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say” (Ephesians 4:29)

The use of e-mail has transformed the way we communicate with each other. Used well, e-mail makes our lives easier and we feel better connected withone another. However e-mails can easily be misinterpreted and misused. These guidelines attempt to steer us away from some of the most common pitfalls.

Addressing your e-mail
Good practice for sending e-mail
Good practice on receipt of an e-mail
Being negative
Adding attachments
Response time in replying and forwarding
Legal responsibilities and obligations

Addressing your E-mail
TO = Action. Generally, you should only use the ‘To’ box for people who are expected to take some action on the e-mail.
CC = Information. This should be used for people who are included for their information. Do NOT over-use this and simply insert lots of names without good reason; only include those people who will find it relevant e.g. it is worth asking: ‘do all members of a committee need to be copied in to an email conversation when only 1 or 2 will have the necessary information to respond?’
Be aware that long address lists can generate lots of conflicting replies or lead recipients to assume that they do not need to do anything because someone else will deal with the issue.
When sending to multiple recipients you can you avoid revealing lists of e-mail addresses by addressing the e-mail to yourself and putting the recipients addresses in the BCC section.

Good Practice for Sending E-mail

Take time in composing the mail.
Save it in the drafts folder and re-read it after a few minutes
Re-read the message from the point of view of the recipient
Is your e-mail message really necessary? The more mail you send, the more mail you receive.
Consider the alternatives
Do not use e-mail as a way of avoiding talking to people (or a specific person).
Do not write EVERYTHING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. This always comes across as shouting and will seem rude to the recipient.

Good Practice on Receipt of an email

Be careful when you “Reply to all” – consider whether all the recipients need to see your response, or just the original sender. (If you as a sender wish to limit the recipients’ ability to reply to all, you should include them in the BCC field.)
Avoid generating long email histories by including all the previous emails and replies in a series of correspondence. But, also take care to include enough background to allow recipients to understand the discussion so far!
If you as a receiver feel the need to reply to all, consider carefully how much each recipient needs to see your response.
Do not forward emails to people not on the original address list without permission of the original sender.

Being Negative

Be extremely careful about providing negative feedback in an e-mail – however carefully a message is written, it will most likely be taken in a harmful and upsetting light by the recipient. It is far less ambiguous to provide negative feedback or criticism either face-to-face or on the phone.
If you do choose to use e-mail, consider again your relationship with the individual and never send the email on a “reply-to-all” basis or copied to others unnecessarily.

Adding Attachments

Limit the number of attachments you add to an e-mail. Receiving dozens of attachments can be frustrating:

They clog up the recipient’s mailbox
It becomes harder to know which attachment the sender is referring to
It duplicates a single document’s existence (making version control harder)
Instead:

Keep the list of attachments short
Consider inserting the text of an attachment into the e-mail
When you forward a message to a third party the attachment will remain, so consider whether the third party needs the attachment too.

Response Time in Replying and Forwarding

You should respond to an e-mail as soon as you can. Depending on the volume of e-mails you get a day, this may not always be possible; however you should always consider the requirements of the sender.
Would it be easier to pick up the phone and deal with the situation there and then? After all, replying to an e-mail will almost guarantee that you receive another e-mail from the same person two hours later.
Can you send a quick response, saying “thank you, I’ll have some time later to look through this in more detail.”?
Is it an e-mail that requires you to do something? Or can it simply be filed?

Legal Responsibilities and Obligations

Whenever composing an e-mail, you should always consider the following points:

E-mail is considered company property and can be retrieved, examined and used in a court of law or church disciplinary panels.
Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that e-mail over the Internet is not secure.
Never put in an e-mail message anything that you would not put on a postcard (i.e. visible to the courier).
Remember that e-mail can be forwarded, so unintended audiences may see what you’ve written.
You might also inadvertently send something to the wrong party, so always keep the content professional to avoid embarrassment.
E-mails are a formal record, and can be contractually binding.
An abusive or harassing e-mail can be the subject of disciplinary procedures.
All e-mails sent in the name of a local church or Circuit to an outside body, should include the relevant Scottish Charity Number.

(Edinburgh and Forth Methodist Circuit – Scottish Charity SCO37950)