Parishes in various parts of this country are becoming more creative in terms of fundraising
and are starting to embrace new technology to reach their goals.This was what St Luke’s Flat Bush parish priest Fr Craig Dunford realised after he was tasked to lead the building of a new church in east Auckland.

“It’s not an easy task to fundraise the amounts of money that we are looking at,” Fr Dunford told NZ Catholic. “But it’s nice to be in a position where we’re building churches and not amalgamating churches or closing churches. It’s a real blessing for us in the diocese.”

Fr Dunford has worked with Karen O’Connell from Auckland diocese in developing a fundraising solution that will be implemented for the first time in the New Zealand Catholic Church: the “Tap and Go” paywave donation device.

“All anyone has to do is to hold up their card to the device and it will automatically take from their account to, in our case the church building account, a fixed amount. So, there’s no pushing of buttons, no pins required,” he explained.

Fr Dunford noted people don’t carry a lot of cash nowadays.

“We are turning more and more into a cashless society. The Church has to think afresh as to how we’ll enable people or encourage people to donate. This is a way that people are going to be able to donate,” he said.

St Luke’s parish set the amount at $5 “which is the cost of a coffee for most people”.

“We are conscious that with our parishioners, $5 is probably a manageable amount,” Fr Dunford said.

St Luke’s, he explained, is a community made up mostly of new immigrants and Pasifika people. There is not a lot of disposable income between paying their mortgages or rents and sending their children to school.

The device the parish has is a freestanding one. They are looking at other Tap and Go devices that would sit in a basket and one that would sit on a counter.

The total cost of building the church at Flat Bush is $12.3 million. The diocese gifted the parish with the land and will shoulder half of the construction cost. That still leaves the parish with about $6 million to $6.5 million to raise.

“We are hoping to approach organisations and individuals as well as different trusts around to see if they would like to assist us,” Fr Dunford said.

He said the earthworks permit had been granted by the Auckland Council. The work is out for tender and is expected to start in November.

“In the meantime, what we are doing at the moment is working at the detailed drawings which will then go to the council for the building
consent,” he said.

Fr Dunford said they hope to start actual construction in the first quarter of next year.

“I’m told it is a year build, but with this climate in Auckland, I think realistically, it’s probably going to be closer to a year and a half. If we were
in for Easter 2020, that would be fantastic. But I’m not setting any dates,” he said.

At the moment, the parish is renting Sancta Maria College’s auditorium for its two Sunday Masses, attended by at least 1100 parishioners.

The church will be built on Chapel Road, opposite Barry Curtis Park and behind Sancta Maria College and primary school.

“It sits a little higher on the property. So, it will be an icon or beacon for all those in the area to see from a distance. Our hope is that it will be a place
of prayer or solitude for all,” he said.

Those who wish to help build the church can donate directly to St Luke’s church building fund account 02-0358-0037852-00.

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