Sophie, Anne and Suzi

In the second in a series of articles about the work of staff at Church House, we meet the diocesan Finance team.

Some years ago, the Diocese of Truro’s Finance Manager Anne Bone backpacked down the east coast of Australia and around New Zealand’s South Island, where she tried a bit of skydiving, bungee-jumping and swimming with dolphins.

“And I basically did a lot of walking,” she adds.

Her colleagues Finance Assistant Suzi Dyke and Director of Finance and Assets Sophie Eddy feel they can’t compete with that.

“I work in finance,” says Sophie. “It’s that whole stereotypical boring accountant thing.”

This land of saints

Sophie is however rather more passionate than the average accountant when it comes to the subject of her adopted home county, to which her family moved when she was ten years old.

“I love Cornwall,” she says. “But, with the housing situation as it is, I fear for the younger generation.”

“It’s housing and jobs,” Suzi adds.

“It really is scary,” says Sophie. “You see the postcard side of Cornwall, but many people don’t see the real side.”

Anne agrees. “It’s not all sunshine and surf,” she says.

“Far from it,” Sophie adds. “And let’s not mention the roadworks!”

Suzi was born in London and grew up in Kent, but is proud of Cornish ancestry that goes back to the eighteenth century.

She and her partner moved to Cornwall because he wanted to be able to grow their own produce. They now live near their own bit of land just outside Falmouth.

Originally from St Buryan, Anne and her husband also have their own smallholding, an acre of land at the western end of the Land’s End peninsula.

They’ve been inspired in this endeavour by the Church’s work in Creation Care.

“Everyone’s talking about climate change,” Anne says. “But not everyone’s doing anything. It’s really good that the church has a plan, and that it’s putting its money where its mouth is to really make a difference.”

Building relationships

Sophie joined the Diocese eight and a half years ago, after a decade working for Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, a charity based in Redruth. Suzi joined the finance team at Church House in May 2019, and Anne joined last September.

Anne had previously worked for an international manufacturing company.

“Moving from the corporate world to a charitable organisation was quite a steep learning curve,” she says. “But I love it here and I’m very glad I made the change. I was tired of the corporate world – it was an American-owned company and rather aggressive. It’s nice to think that being part of the Diocese I’m doing things with people based locally rather than thousands of miles across the globe.

“It’s very busy but I really enjoy working with the people here. Everyone’s very positive and works collaboratively. There’s a very kind ethos in this organisation.”

Sophie, Suzi and Anne are clearly very focused on how they can help people across the Diocese. One of their initiatives involves running regular Zoom meetings for parish treasurers and PCC members to offer support and advice.

“All are very welcome,” Anne says.

“As long as the questions are about finance,” Suzi adds. “Then we should have the answers. A lot of our work involves answering queries from treasurers in parishes.”

“A lot of people are volunteers who give their time for free,” says Anne. “They don’t necessarily have backgrounds in finance. Treasurers have responsible roles and it’s important to recognise that, and that people know they can call us whenever they have any questions.

“I do enjoy those calls from our parishes. It’s really nice to be able to put voices to the names that we’ve come to know.”

“It’s about building those relationships with people in parishes,” Sophie adds. “It’s about giving support to treasurers and parishes from a finance point of view, and that they know we’re here to help them.”

Making a difference

Sophie stresses that this spirit of support is central to all aspects of the finance team’s work.

“We put the pound signs to the strategic plans,” she says. “We’re the budgeting side of things, led by the mission of our parishes, deaneries and diocese. Now that we’ve got our deanery plans in place, along with our Diocesan Plan for Change and Renewal, we’re looking at how we can best use our resources to support these works of Christian mission across the Diocese.

“We’re releasing a lot of funds to support mission and ministry across our parishes. And we’re helping to keep MMF levels down by putting our hands in our pockets.

“It’s great to be able to help parishes, to play a part in providing resources to support their work.

“I love working here. I find the Church of England absolutely fascinating – and sometimes a bit frustrating. But I really align with its values. It’s by the stuff that we do that we can see the difference it makes.”

Sophie at Diocesan Synod in May