Sloan Street Presbyterian on Omega Church software
We had a chat with Paul Hanna, a Committee Member and key Omega Church contact for Sloan Street Presbyterian, who was kind enough to answer the following questions regarding his church's use of Omega Church software.
When did you purchase Omega?
We have been using Omega for 5-6 years.
What led to your decision?
The move from paper to computer records largely came about at a time of change in personnel undertaking financial roles within the congregation. Those new to the role were more comfortable with using technology and saw the savings in time that could be achieved, particularly when undertaking activities such as producing Gift Aid claims or the Annual Report. Omega was selected as it was specifically aimed at Churches rather than just a generic financial tool and had been suggested to us by other congregations that were using it.
How do you use Omega Church software?
Omega is installed on a laptop which several people share to enter and update the data. We use Omega largely to record weekly donations and then to use this data to automatically produce Gift Aid claims and to export the data needed for our Annual Report to Microsoft Excel, so that it can be formatted to our specific requirements. Recently we have added the Omega Accounts package to allow us to better integrate our giving and expenditure as well as helping us to comply with the new Charities legislation. This is proving beneficial.
What are your experiences of Omega Church software and its support team?
Our experience of the product to date has been a positive one. The anticipated time savings have been realised. However new adopters of the system should be prepared to invest a significant amount of "up front " time to enter the data initially. This is not specific to Omega but is a feature of moving from paper to computer records. Once the initial time investment is complete, maintaining the data is simple and straightforward provided data is maintained on a regular basis.
There are also additional features in Omega which we do not currently use, for example the recording of pastoral visits and linking organisations to the membership data. In our case this is due to the fact that our Congregation does not have a central "office" nor "office staff". Using the additional features would therefore involve many more volunteers "borrowing" the same laptop for their own purposes and hence it not being available when needed for its (in our case) "primary" purpose of financial management. Using these features would also involve entering and maintaining a greater range and amount of data which could lead to putting too great a workload on volunteers. However, even without using these features, Omega has brought many benefits to us, for example, significant time savings and also allowing us to analyse the data in many different ways than were possible before. Other congregations with office staff would be in a better position to use these additional features and hence gain even greater benefits.
On the small number of occasions where we have had to contact the support staff we have always had an extremely prompt response and any issues have been resolved.
Omega has totally revised how our church manages its membership and financial records. With the integrated database and flexible reporting, it is so easy to record and interrogate the information. All of this plus the ability to log on from home means I can do what I need, when I want.
- Joy Ross
- Carnmoney Presbyterian
Sloan Street info
The main church building is located on the corner of Sloan Street and Young Street on the Co. Down side of the Union Bridge over the River Lagan in Lisburn, close to the Riverside Retail Park. The Halls complex is located a hundred yards or so further up Sloan Street on the left heading out of Lisburn towards the motorway. You would pass both the halls and the church building if you were to drive into Lisburn from the Saintfield Road roundabout of the M1 motorway.
• Morning: 11.30am
• Evening: 6.30pm
Groups/Organisations (September to May)
Presbyterian Women First & Third Monday of each month at 8:00pm
Ladies Bible Study 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10:30am
Boys' Brigade Anchor Boys (5-8 years), Thursday 6:15pm
Junior Section (9-11 years) Monday 6:45pm
Company Section (12-18 years) Wednesday 7:30pm
BB Old Boys' Second Friday of each month at 7:45pm
Girls' Brigade All sections, Tuesday from 6:00pm
Toddlers' Group Thursday 10:00am-Noon during School term time
Bowling Club Thursday 8:00pm
Badminton Club Monday 8:30pm
Junior Badminton Friday at 6:45pm
Sunday School Sunday 10:00am
Minister's Bible Class Sunday 10:15am
The history of Sloan Street can be traced back to 1860 when the General Assembly gave approval to the forming of a new congregation in Lisburn. Services were initially held in a hay loft in Castle Street and were led by John Powell. In 1863 a Mr. Sloan kindly offered a site for a meeting-house for the new Congregation. This was accepted and a building was erected. In 1880 Rev. Powell resigned owing to ill health and on 8th August 1880 John William Gamble was installed. In 1887 he and the congregation of Lisburn (Sloan Street) were received into the General Assembly and the current church building was constructed in 1900. Following Mr. Gamble's death in 1921, a number of ministers have served the congregation: James Morrow, Wilbur W. Pyper, Andrew Fullerton, James McAllister, James Walker Neilly and David Johnston. The present minister, William John Keefe was installed in Sloan Street on 2nd December 1976.