St Mary's Church in Kersey introduces new contactless payment system for donations
Days of passing around the collection plate could be over for members of a congregation in Kersey – with the church set to go contactless.
The Rev Jackson Crompton-Battersby says a contactless payment system is set to be introduced in St Mary’s Church from June.
With more than 10,000 visitors a year, St Mary’s is part of a Suffolk tourist trail.
Many visitors wanting to buy items from the church shop, or make a donation to the ancient building, do not carry cash with them, he says.
Contactless payments on debit and credit cards will enable visitors and parishioners to make payments, although the church will still be able to take cash in a bid to ensure those who want to use it still have the option to do so.
Mr Crompton-Battersby said: “We will offer both options at church services and for other payments.
“Increasingly, we find that people are not carrying cash so much these days. I had one visitor who had to drive five miles to get to the nearest machine to get cash out.”
He said he often makes payments using his Apple watch so was aware of the need to modernise and go with the times.
“Churches have always moved with the times,” he added. “Fifty years ago, none of them had public address systems, modern heating or alarms. We are lucky enough to have those things at Kersey, as well as a fantastic disabled toilet and kitchen.
“When you think it was only 70 years ago that most churches were lit by oil lamps or candles, we have moved on.”
Parishioners are planning a summer of fundraising events, including artists and potters in residence, where visitors will be able to buy their work using contactless technology.
A series of monthly events will include a classical concert and a jazz night.
Next year, the church is constructing a new shrine.
“It will be the first replacement shrine in any Suffolk church,” said Mr Crompton-Battersby. “It’s incredibly exciting.
“Kersey was the most important church in medieval times and was completely forgotten about.
“We have spent the past year-and-a-half researching historical documents, even looking at papal archives in the Vatican. Christians were instructed to come to Kersey by Pope Pius II.”