The Trust has been established to enable churches, with a focus on those in the Diocese of Oxford, to work together in promoting the Gospel. Its legal structure is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). OGST’s purposes (formally, “objects”) are:
The object of the CIO is to advance the Christian religion, as this is set forth in the Statement of Faith, for the benefit of the public residing in the Diocese of Oxford or elsewhere as approved by Trustees, by supporting, through the making of grants and otherwise,
- the provision and maintenance of facilities for public worship,
- the provision of ministers and others for the conduct of public worship, outreach and provision of pastoral care,
- outreach and evangelisation, and
- the promotion of the awareness and understanding of the doctrine of the Church of England.
The doctrine of the Church of England is for these purposes to be construed in accordance with the OGST’s Statement of Faith.
The Trustees see key elements of working together to be:
- A shared commitment to the Statement of Faith
- An attitude of serving each other with the goal of promoting the Gospel to the glory of God.
- A commitment to transparency in our relationships
- A commitment not to compete with each other. The Trust sees one of its primary goals as providing a channel for resources to support local churches and their work.
- The Trust committing to report on its activities.
- A total commitment to loving, serving and honouring the Lord Jesus Christ in the way we work together.
In 2019 four churches met to discuss how they might work more closely together. The four churches involved are:
- St Ebbe’s, Oxford
- St Mary’s, Maidenhead
- St Paul’s, Banbury
- Arborfield & Barkham Benefice
Following a series of meetings, these churches established a Working Group to explore how to work together financially to support the advance and defence of the Gospel across the diocese. The Working Group looked at examples of “Good Stewards” trusts in other dioceses, which varied in their approaches, but provided many ideas that the Working Group could adapt. It was agreed to go ahead and form the Oxford Good Stewards Trust as a registered charity, structured as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).
An Application to the Charities Commission was made in February 2021 and, very quickly, the Application was approved. The Trust came into being on 15th February 2021.
The first meeting of the Trustee body was held on 20th April 2021. The Trustees expect to meet about 8 times a year.
The Trust is financed by supporting churches, and other sources.
The Trust invites applications for grants to support gospel work as set out above.
The Trust enables churches who wish to do so to pay some or all of their parish share to the Diocese via the Trust
The Trust has no plans to carry out activities directly itself. It is a mechanism to bring together gospel ministry and the finance required to support it. The Trust has no plans to own assets, other than cash resources on a short-term basis.
Now the Trust is in place, the Trustees are discussing how best to appoint further Trustees.
The trustees seek to welcome new trustees to represent a wider cross section of the Diocese.
It is intended that some trustees will be sought from outside the immediate network of the four founder churches. The trustees expect that in due course there will be at least six trustees.
Initial conversations are taking place with interested churches.
Yes. The Trust’s Statement of Faith is clear on the biblical foundations of its work.
The churches that the Trust works with, and grant applicants, must subscribe to the Statement of Faith.
Please contact the incumbent at one of the founder churches, or one of the trustees or send a message here.
The Oxford Diocese Fund is a restricted fund. Under Charity Law, money held within this fund can only be used for the purposes for which it has been established.
If the OGST finds itself no longer able to make grants to the Oxford Diocese, the trustees will inform donor PCCs so that they can cease their regular gifts and will return any balance remaining in the Oxford Diocese Fund to the donors.