First, and foremost, please don't ever feel obliged to make a gift when you visit us.
If you are in a service and an offering is collected for our work in our local community, don't ever feel that you need to contribute if you don't want to. That is OUR responsibility. Please just pass the collection on. Many church regulars contribute through their bank accounts and they will be doing the same thing so you won't feel awkward.
Most commonly when an offering is taken within a service in church you will see people passing around bags like this one, which people will pass along and may place a donation inside it as they do so.
When everyone has had a chance to contribute if they want to, the bags will be brought forward so that the offering can be blessed. You will see that those in the congregation who are able to do so comfortably will stand up as this happens. The offering represents more than just the gifts that have been given, as valuable as those are. It also represents the church community's recognition that ultimately everything we are and have comes from God and symbolises our commitment of our time, energy, resources and our individual gifts and talents to serve God.
There may from time to time be a retiring collection, which is an opportunity to place a donation into a plate as you leave church if you wish.
You might see someone pop a little card like this one into the collection bag as a symbol of an offering they have made already - you can collect one of these yourself if you like from the information table.
It may symbolise a gift you have already made or intend to make, which may be a gift of your time and your talents as well as or instead of a financial donation.
We are fully reliant on donations and on our income from letting out our rooms though, so we are of course always pleased to receive contributions.
Our members and regular visitors can contribute in a number of ways. Some donate a regular weekly or monthly amount through their bank. Some have joined our envelope scheme and you will notice some people putting a small envelope into the offering which may contain a cash or cheque donation. If you are a UK taxpayer donations made to us through your bank or the envelope scheme can be Gift Aided which increases the value of your gift.
You can also now make a donation using your mobile, thanks to Just Text Giving.
You can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 by sending a text message to 70070. Just send a message consisting of "FOMC11" then a space and then the amount you would like to give. The church will receive your entire donation.
Our Church Council receives and approves accounts regularly which record what we have received and how it has been applied. Those accounts are also presented to our annual church meeting, which is open to everyone and anyone can ask questions about them. We are also a registered charity (Charity number 1130630) and information about our finances is available online from the Charity Commission.
As well as this regular giving we will sometimes collect for special events and causes. These can be related to our church activities (big things like our rebuilding programme as well as small things like decorating the church with flowers at Easter or Harvest).
More often though, these will relate to causes and concerns that touch our hearts. From time to time there will be a service on a special theme, perhaps related to a charity we are closely connected with like All We Can, MHA, Action for Children, Christian Aid, St Giles Hospice, Birmingham City Mission, and NSPCC. They may also be a response to a humanitarian disaster that is in the news or an immediate expression of support for the work of an organisation that has come to our attention.