Debit machine 'giving terminal' in Newfoundland church sparks debate
Published Tuesday, October 17, 2017 6:04PM EDT
In the age of e-transfers and tap-and-go credit cards, a Newfoundland church has brought in a wireless debit machine in hopes of modernizing the age-old tradition of the collection plate.
The so-called “giving terminal” has been met with mixed reviews since it was introduced at St. Mark’s Anglican Church in St. John’s. It even spawned its own online meme, showing Jesus telling a dismayed parishioner, “Sorry b’y, our tap don’t work.”
Rev. Robert Cooke defended the church’s decision and called the meme “a little crass.”
“We’re trying to the exact opposite of what the meme is suggesting,” Cooke told NTV News.
In response to some negative feedback online, the church clarified that the terminal is not passed around with the offering plate. Instead, it’s available in the church’s office for anyone who wants to make a one-time contribution but isn’t carrying cash.
The church also allows parishioners to set up recurring contributions.
“They would have to seek us out in order to give this way. So it’s very no pressure,” Cooke explained.
The concept isn’t entirely new. The church has accepted electronic direct debit payments since 2001, and added credit card capabilities a few years later. Earlier this year, the church obtained a wireless payment terminal for easy one-time payments.
A photo of the handheld machine, posted on the church’s Facebook page on Monday, fueled local news coverage and launched the debate.
Cooke explained that the funds help the church carry out its mission – things like feeding the hungry, community outreach and partnering with other organizations.
By making donation easier, Cooke said the church is simply keeping up with the times.
“We thought this was just another way that people could give to the church.”
With files from NTV News