2020 will be remembered for many things. However, something which has not yet made the front pages, is the fact that Church Growth Trust (CGT) has reached double figures. It has been a long and fascinating journey; its roots in the work of the Brethren movement and its eyes fixed on God’s plan for the future.
In 1906, Stewardship, then the United Kingdom Evangelization Trust, was set up by a group of Brethren believers to steward church properties. A hundred years on, Stewardship was focusing more on its giving services and in 2010, its trustees decided to separate the property and trusteeship services arm from its main activities to form a new charity. Church Growth Trust’s Chief Executive, Giles Arnold, was involved from the start.
He states, “Forming a new charity is a long-drawn out process. God was in it from the start, and it took only six months from the original decision to the day that all the properties were transferred and we became an official charity. Looking back, I can see God’s timing. I had been consulting with a solicitor, Ian Gardner, for years. He was retiring and had lots of extra time to devote to helping us sort out the new charity, transferring the properties and trusteeships, and agreeing everything with the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission were also incredibly helpful and proactive and I had the time, as I had stopped leading my local fellowship that year. Everything worked together really well.
“By October 2010, I was running CGT from my dining room, along with my part-time business. Mandy Harris, who still works with us today, was working with me part-time and Stewardship kept all the files for us. Providentially, in July 2011, a church in Corby was looking for some premises. I was helping them and when I found somewhere suitable, there was extra space. We moved all the files in and were able to use the space on a licence at a low cost. It was goodbye to my dining room table.”