WORSHIPERS and visitors to the Church of Cumbria are the first to participate in a year-long national pilot program to encourage contactless giving.
The first of 115 payment units was installed in churches across the Diocese of Carlisle on Tuesday as part of the National Church’s £ 1.25million investment in digital giving. The churches of the Dioceses of Southwark and St Edmundsbury & Ipswich will join the trial later this year.
Most affected churches receive one of two types of contactless devices: the CollecTin More is portable and can be wall mounted; The PayaCharity Plus A920 is portable, for use in locations without WiFi or mobile signal. Some churches will have a pedestal-mounted GoodWith device, which is designed for larger churches and cathedrals.
Donors can choose from a list of payments or enter their own amount. Details are listed on the Church of England and Church in Wales website www.parishbuying.org.uk.
One of the first six churches to go into service on Tuesday was St Mary’s, Ambleside. Team President Reverend Beverley Lock said: “More and more we see people who worship and visit our churches turning to contactless forms of payment in their day-to-day lives; so it is very important that the church is able to offer them the same opportunity to give financially. . .
“During the Covid pandemic, we have truly missed our regular visitors for their friendship and encouragement. We hope this will facilitate their generous donations.
The other churches where the service was launched this week are Lanercost Priory; Saint-Laurent, Appleby; St Michael and All the Angels, Hawkshead; St Oswald, Grasmere; and the priory of Sainte-Abeille.
Eventually, some devices tested in the pilot will incur a monthly fee of around £ 10 per month, but during the one-year trial period they will be funded directly by the National Church at specially negotiated rates. Participating churches will be offered training and support, and after the trial can opt out of the program.
Church of England national digital giving manager Grace Emmett, who is in Cumbria giving advice, said: “As the trend continues for card payments to outperform cash payments, non-contact donations will make it easy for visitors and regular worshipers to support the life and ministry of churches across the Diocese of Carlisle. So far, experience shows 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 works in a range of settings, from the city of Carlisle to towns and villages. Enabling contactless payments will be ideal for helping tourists and hikers to generously share in the local economy when they visit churches on the go, exploring the lakes. We are also excited to see how these units are supporting churches in the urban centers of Carlisle, Workington and Barrow, where churches provide frontline support to their local communities.