AGRICULTURAL CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
CONNECT | INSPIRE | ENCOURAGE
We exist as a community of believers who are involved in agricultural and horticultural pursuits.
A Future for ACF
Over the past year we have been considering the future options for ACF, since Christopher retired from being Co-ordinator due to poor health. His absence left us wondering if there was even a future for the group, but many of you have made it abundantly clear that a Christian voice in farming is as needed as ever, and I believe that God has a work for us to do.
The key area to enable us to continue is administration, which needs both simplifying and bringing up to date with current technology. I am very pleased to report that the Lord has provided an opportunity and the way ahead is becoming clearer. We have an offer from Village Hope to partner with them, both groups potentially gaining from the partnership, but initially ACF will receive the much needed administrative support. Village Hope is an organisation which seeks to proclaim and live out the gospel in rural Britain, so there are already overlaps in our mission. Peter Carruthers heads the work and I am also a trustee, so we are already familiar with working together. The ACF committee have approved a ‘memorandum of understanding’ which provides a starting point for how things will work.
One important change for ACF is regarding membership, which will now be by assent to our Christian basis of belief rather than by subscription. So we are discontinuing membership fees and inviting voluntary donations to support the work. If anyone has paid a subscription in the last twelve months of our indecision you are welcome to a refund or to count it as a donation.
Below this message is a bit more detail in a letter from Malcolm Harrison, who has consistently done a great job as treasurer over many years, for which we are extremely grateful and give thanks to God for his gifting.
We will keep a list of current members but will not share that information, in accordance with data protection rules. We will also disseminate information to ‘friends’ of ACF who are interested in a Christian view of farming but who may not yet be ready to follow Jesus Christ.
This website - acfhub.com - is working but needs some updating and current content. If anyone wishes to contribute articles or blogs you may send them to me at - email@example.com
Contributions and offers of help with the technology will be most welcome.
There are two upcoming dates to make a note of:
On Saturday 31st July we have another ‘Hope Countryside’ prayer morning. Following previous truly encouraging events this will again be via zoom, and booking on eventbrite. Details to follow.
On Saturday 30th October we are planning a joint conference with Village Hope focussing on current critical issues that will shape the future of farming and the countryside. The working title is ‘Countryside at the Crossroads - an ABC of agricultural change.' More details to follow, again we will be meeting virtually, but please note the date.
Above all do pray for our farming community; that the gospel will be lived and proclaimed in the countryside and from the countryside.
Be blessed as you join in this endeavour.
The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
A New Future for ACF?
For all of us, this has been a year like no other, and we hope that you have stayed safe and healthy and coped with the restrictions we have all been under.
ACF’s administration has, up to March 2020, been handled through Christopher Jones’ farm office at Manor Farm, West Haddon in Northamptonshire, and it has worked well, ably managed with the efficient help of our office administrator, Jane Collingridge. With lockdown, and Christopher’s health challenges, he has needed to retire from being actively involved in ACF. Since the pandemic, he and his wife Ita have had to shield, and the office has been inaccessible to Jane and others including myself. The day-to-day administration of ACF has therefore been very restricted since last March, and we are painfully aware that ACF Members have had no communication or “ACF Updates” since then, for which we apologise unreservedly.
Jane also wishes to retire from continuing with ACF administration work, so this opens up the necessity for new person or team to do this necessary support work for ACF, in a new place. We will always be grateful not only for Christopher Jones’ phenomenal contribution over many years to the inspiration and hard work he has done, but also making his farm office available for its administration.
During this last 12 months to the year ending 31 March 2021, income from subscriptions and donations has reduced from £1926.00 in the previous year to £412.00. At the same time, office and administration costs have reduced from £1354.14 to £149.99. A donation of £1000.00 was forwarded to FCN in April 2020. The bank balance at 31 March 2021 was £3508.12 with £1001.70 in the current account and £2506.42 in the deposit account.
ACF is now at a crossroads (literally!) and decisions are now having to being made as to the shape of a "New ACF", or whatever its new name might be. One consequence of our latest committee meeting has been the decision to end subscriptions. Many have given generous donations from time to time, which is highly appreciated, so that opportunity will still be available for you to do so. If any reading this wish to have any subscriptions they have made since April 2020 returned, this could easily be done, but you will need to let me know.
We are now needing to move our ACF administration office from Manor Farm, which must happen if ACF is to continue. We have already had an offer of a new ACF administration facility. The ACF committee has been in discussion with Village Hope (VH), who have agreed in principle to take on the necessary office administration of ACF alongside the administration of VH, whose administration office is in Prior’s Frome Chapel, Priors Frome, Hereford, HR1 4EP. VH is administered by Helen Prince, and, with approval from the VH Committee, she is prepared to also act as ACF Administrator. Fine tuning of the details is still being worked through but the proposal is that the day-to-day ACF finances are to be run as a book account by VH. Because VH is a registered Charity, Gift Aid can be claimed. The ACF bank accounts, currently with The Cooperative Bank, will be maintained until at least March 2022 to hold ACF capital and receive any standing order or direct debit income directed specifically to ACF. After the first year of this joint administrative proposal, decisions will be made then as to the best way to proceed in the future.
Also, all our committee are getting older (so are we all), and some of us are well past the normal retirement age, and perhaps past our “Best Before” date, including yours truly! After prayerful consideration, I plan to retire as Treasurer and Committee member by August to give opportunity for other members to take on this necessary responsibility. It will also give plenty of time for an orderly hand-over, including the necessary change in bank signatories. After that, I will continue to support ACF as long as I am able.
Your prayers, suggestions and active support for a “New ACF” working with or alongside Village Hope as our new administrators are vital. I believe we must also make space for new, younger talent with a vision for the future possibilities for ACF to take it forward in a relevant way appropriate to the 21st century.