With two-thirds of people making more payments digitally than they did five years ago, the Church of Scotland (CoS) has decided to foray further into the digital age by providing its flock with faster and more convenient options when making donations. The Kirk is in the process of planning to run a pilot scheme to test the technology with its followers. It will be following the successful example set by the Church of England, which has just introduced 16,000 portable card readers to its churches, cathedrals and other religious sites.
Anne Macintosh, General Treasurer of the Church of Scotland said of the plan: “We work with Church of England colleagues in areas of shared interest and were very excited to hear of the success of their trial. Our own Stewardship Team has been looking at this and we have identified a number of churches with a view to piloting contactless payment terminals in the near future”
“We envisage that these could be used for many purposes including retiring collections and donations by visitors to our historic churches and cathedrals. Regular giving to our congregations is largely made by standing order which is hugely important.”
“But we know that there are many occasions when special collections are held or people would like to give spontaneously but just don’t carry much cash. We think there is huge potential for congregations here, not only to raise extra income, but to show that the Church is moving with the times.”
All Denominations Welcome
The Catholic Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church although not currently piloting contactless payments have not ruled out the possibility of incorporating it in the future. Bishop John Keenan, the Bishop of Paisley said: “This is an evolving situation here in the UK and our parishes and laity are adapting continually with the times, and we see the balance changing markedly on parish accounts between direct debt payments on the one hand and basket collections on the other.”
“My message was always, ‘I am not asking you to give more but to give more thoughtfully’. It is about praying about what you can and should contribute, seeing your contribution as a witness to your life of faith, thinking of the needy, and offering it up like the first fruits of people of God in the Scriptures.”