Over the next several weeks, we’ll be (re)introducing a number of tools for you to consider in your parish to help you to live out your mission and vision for your church community and hopefully make your lives a bit easier! Today’s focus is thinking about QR codes as an act of hospitality. 

As followers of Jesus, we’re called to be hospitable – welcoming and inclusive – to all people who come across our paths. We all know that welcoming visitors is an important part of sharing the good news of Jesus and the Way of Love on Sundays (or whenever our parishes may meet). It is important to make our visitors really feel like they belong right from the jump, whether they’re just passing through town on vacation or looking for a new church home. One way we can be inclusive is to make it easy for anyone and everyone to give during our time of offering. 

“Wait,” I can hear you say. “We don’t want people to think we’re just out for their money!” And to that I say (in classic Anglican fashion), “Yes, and.”

Yes, and giving is not about giving money to the church. Not really. Remember that all of our gifts – our time, talents, and treasures – can be given in acts of worship and adoration of God. People who visit our churches are there to worship with us as the Body of Christ and we need to make sure that all of our acts of worship are easily accessible to everyone who worships with us. 

…Online giving is really no longer optional for churches that want to make it easy for people to give to and be included in their ministries. Online giving is essential. 

Given the reality that fewer and fewer people are carrying cash and even fewer carry checkbooks, online giving is really no longer optional for churches that want to make it easy for people to give to and be included in their ministries. Online giving is essential. 

“Wait,” I can hear you say again. “We don’t know how to have a fancy app for giving!” And to that I say, “You don’t have to!”

In a future article, we’ll share resources for creating your own online giving portal for your church if you’d like, which is something I strongly recommend. It’s also something I can help you with if you simply ask! However, you don’t need to have an online giving portal to help people give to you online. You only need a simple, free QR code. 

I’m sure you’ve seen QR codes around – funny little squares with different patterns and bright signs that say, “Scan me!” You see them in TV Commercials, on the sides of busses, in magazines, and on flyers. And you can put one in your worship program! 

A QR code is scannable – like a barcode – with any smartphone and it is essentially just a link that directs the scanner’s phone to a website, app, video, or document. QR codes are so ubiquitous that now it’s very simple to get a free one. We recommend using the built in QR code generator which is available with a free account in Canva, an online graphic layout app. (Sidenote: Want to learn to use Canva, even just to make your own QR codes? That’s something else I’m happy to help you with if you ask!)

“Wait,” I can hear you say yet again. “What does it matter if I can use a QR code to link up to online giving if I don’t have a place for people to give online?” And to that I say, “First, I’m loving the dialog we’re having today. Fun! Second, that’s where this page comes in!” 

Image Description: A QR code that directs scanners to https://cnyepiscopal.org/give/give-to-my-parish/This giving form on our diocesan website can be used in a pinch to give to your parish – yes your parish – online! Anyone who visits this page will just have to scroll down and choose your parish from the drop down menu. In fact, the QR code in this article points to that page, so you could download that image and add it to your worship program with the following instructions this week! Just use the image in your worship program and write something like, “Scan the code to give! Simply choose [Your Parish Name and City here] from the drop down menu.”

“Wait,” I can hear you chime in. “That sounds great! Why don’t we just stick with that?” To that I say, “Ahh. Wellllllllll. It works, but it’s not ideal.” 

In a pinch, you can use this page and this code to help people to give online. However, there are some drawbacks. First, the money will technically be given through the diocese; that is, we’ll have to process the gift and then send it on to you, so your parish won’t get the gift immediately. Second, for people who are not familiar with The Episcopal Church and how the different levels of our church work, they may feel confused about why they’re giving on a page that is on cnyepiscopal.org and not on your church’s webpage. Third, there’s no guarantee that people will give to the parish they want to give to! Mistakes happen! They could choose the wrong St. Paul’s or simply think they selected your parish but actually select the one below or above it on the list. So, you can use this link and this QR code, but I strongly recommend that you only use it until you can reach out to me or someone else on diocesan staff to set up a time to explore simple ways to have your own online giving portal for your church. Keep an eye out for a future article about different online giving options for churches. 

I leave you with this: A new person walks into your nave on Sunday morning. They seem eager to be part of the service, to participate, to sing (maybe they’ll join the choir?!), to pray, to listen, to greet. You pass the peace and then it’s time for the offertory. They worry that they won’t be able to give and participate in the offering, but then they notice the QR code in their bulletin. They pull out their phone, scan, give, and go right back to preparing for the Eucharistic feast, having fully participated in giving as an act of worship. QR Codes and Hospitality – who knew?! 


Rachel Ravellette, Communications Director 

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