Alastair Findlay will stand down as Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance at the end of 2019 after 20 years in the role. He tells us about his time in post.

“I became Chair of the DBF on 1 January 2000 after being invited to take on the role by Bishop Peter Selby. At the time, I was also the Chair of the House of Laity, so for a while I wore two hats! Being an accountant by training, I was well versed with commercial accounting, but diocesan finances definitely have their own challenges.

“I started at a very significant moment for the Diocese. Individual DBFs had become responsible for contributing to clergy pensions after the previous system became unsustainable (where contributions were paid for by the Church Commissioners). Before then, the cost of ministry was not as widely understood as it is now, albeit that there is always work to do in this area.

“I have always maintained that Parish Share should be a gift from parishes to the DBF rather than a tax. We should be generous as a response to a generous and giving God, for the benefit of us all. It’s important that we focus on this – our financial issues won’t be overcome simply by making financial appeals, it must be linked to our Christian discipleship.

“Being Chair of the DBF has been a fulfilling yet challenging role and I’ve always felt it was God’s work. Throughout my time, it has been great to have the support of colleagues, particularly Robert as Diocesan Secretary and both bishops Peter and John as well as people throughout the Diocese.When I was made redundant from my paid employment, being Chair of the DBF helped me to see my life still had value and purpose – it was a great support during a difficult time for me.

“However, it’s definitely time for me to move on and for a fresh pair of eyes to take up the role. I would encourage my successor to remember that they are not looking after just any set of accounts – they will be responsible for God’s work in the Diocese of Worcester and shouldn’t lose sight of that. It’s important to listen to a wide range of people and take a firm line when necessary; it’s not always possible to say yes. It’s also been valuable being a parishioner as this has given me a different perspective on the issues we’ve been discussing.

“Although I’ll continue to be a PCC and Deanery Synod member, I’ll be giving up all my diocesan roles at the end of the year. It’s been immensely rewarding and I’ll miss being so involved, but it’s definitely time for me to retire. It will be great to have more time to travel with my wife Anne and I’m waiting to see what God’s got in store for me around the next corner!”