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Canberra Baptist Church: charity review

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

This is a review of the organisation ‘Canberra Baptist Church’, principally for existing givers and those considering giving.

I sent a draft of this review to the church on 15 May 2019. They did not respond.

The charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their article, Donating to Legitimate Charities, gives “some things to consider to help you make sure your donation is going where it is intended”:

  1. Check the charity’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Canberra Baptist Church’, with #5 supplemented by the essentials of the ACNC’s What should I consider when deciding which charity to support?[1].

1.  A search on the name ‘Canberra Baptist Church’ on the ACNC Register of charities leads to a registered charity in the name Baptist Church Canberra (Canberra Baptist). This is because the Church has recorded, on the Register, Canberra Baptist Church as another name by which it is known[2].

2.  One would not expect a church to use third party collectors, and there is nothing to indicate that Canberra Baptist does.

3.  The web address begins with ‘https’, and there is a “closed padlock symbol next to the web address in the address bar”, so the website is secure [the first ACNC article above]. However, you will not need to rely on it as there is no online giving facility.

4.  The Australian Business Register (linked from Canberra Baptist’s ACNC Register record), says that the charity is not entitled to receive tax deductible gifts. It is, however, a legitimate charity.

5. Objectives/Mission

From the website:


See ‘Ministries’.

Sharing the Gospel[3]?



Canberra Baptist operates in Australia, per the ACNC Register, only in the ACT.

No overseas countries are listed; whether this is correct depends on whether Canberra Baptist sends money overseas, something that cannot be confirmed from the ACNC Register information (see below).

How the mission and activities translated into dollars spent

Canberra Baptist’s size for reporting purposes, ‘Medium’, would normally mean that there is a Financial Report on the ACNC Register. But Canberra Baptist has taken full advantage of the concessions allowed it as a Basic Religious Charity. So, no Financial Report, and no financial information in the AIS 2018.

There is, however, an unaudited Financial Summary for Year Ended 30 June 2018[4] in the 2018 Annual Report [ACNC Register]. Here are the items in either ‘Expenditure – General Fund’ or ‘Expenditure – Missions and Others’ that made double figures:

Ministers’ Costs – Stipends                                   144,282

Office Manager                                                           37,775

Major Maintenance Reserve[5]                               33,777

Insurance and Workers Compensation                22,121

Global Interaction (ABMS)                                     14,500

Community Centre                                                    13,731

NSW Baptist Co op Program                                 13,000

Electricity / Gas                                                         10,517

These two categories of ‘Expenditure’ together totaled exactly the same as ‘Total Income, giving a ‘Surplus for the Year’ of zero[6]. What then is the section over the page in the Financial Summary?

From the ACNC Register, these are the people responsible for this decision (and all decisions):

Alan Howe

Belinda Groves

Churcher Peter (sic)

Ian Joyce

James Carter

John Higgins

Kathryn Joyce

Merilyn Carey

Nanda Vernon

Paul Falconer

Peter Churcher (included twice?)

Phillip Hingley

Wendy Holland

Belinda Groves is one of the ‘Ministers’; the other, Martin Reilly, appears not to be on the board.


Nothing found on outcomes or impact.



  1. Focus on the nature of the charity’s work, its beneficiaries and the impact the charity is having in the community.Is it clear what the charity is trying to achieve and how its activities work towards its objectives?Would you like to spend your money, or time if volunteering, to support these objectives?Is the charity being transparent about its activities? [A section in the article, Donating and Volunteering].
  2. Canberra Baptist does not have Canberra Baptist Church registered as a business name. It has that name as a trading name, but trading names do not meet the requirements of a registered business name.
  3. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.
  4. This report does not comply with the Australian Accounting Standards, but the Church’s governing document [“Standing Orders”, ACNC Register] does not require such compliance.
  5. This is not a legitimate charge against revenue.
  6. Which is unusual.