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The Christian Charities Handbook

By Paul Martin
September 2020 | Review by Richard Atherton


The Christian Charities Handbook is an invaluable guide to the legal and practical responsibilities associated with the governance and management of charities. Paul Martin, a senior and experienced charity solicitor, offers an overview of the principal issues and appropriate advice for responding to them.

  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844742769
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: £3.89
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Book Review

Are you a deacon or elder in your church? Then you are a charity trustee according to charity law. Or are you a committee member of a local community organisation? The same probably applies.

So many Christians are involved in charitable organisations, in one way or another, that this ‘essential guide’ to charities is a necessary tool for every church. In former times we might have agreed to be trustees without much thought, but today it is a weighty responsibility and this book should be available for every trustee to consult. This handbook by Paul Martin, who is a solicitor with thirty-five years experience of charity law, is written in a clear and authoritative manner which inspires confidence that everything you need to know is within its pages. It is both comprehensive and practical. Throughout the book, the author constantly relates the material to the particular issues of churches and Christian charities.

The book is not intended to be read from beginning to end, but is for reference when you need to know about a particular subject. The chapter headings are an excellent instant guide to the important issues – for example: governance; employment issues; membership issues; what can go wrong? (e.g. funding failure, malpractice, fraud).

There is an excellent appendix entitled ‘What to do when?’ that covers such situations as when one trustee cannot agree with a majority decision, or when ‘suspicion’ arises around someone or something, or when the charity wants to undertake a ‘mega’ project.

Although this book may not have instant appeal, it is a useful and necessary read for those who have trustee responsibilities within churches and other Christian charities.

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