I have been writing an email to a customer in the Netherlands and had to delay sending it for over a week to wait for a an important piece of information I needed. In that time, we’d gone from 89p to the Euro to 92p.
We all know that it wasn’t long ago that it was 84p. I was amazed it took some of our suppliers so long but we know that some items and supplies will increase by 4% on 1st October. We expect more in the New Year and /or April
We’re thinking of ways round this.
For example, all current stock will be sold at pre-increase prices. Hires for 2018 can be at current 2017 prices if booked now. It would be very wise to book for Easter 2018 very soon in any case as pools are limited (see our last blog).
Our baptistries maybe portable but it is still an event when they arrive – at least 3 boxes all of some size. Out heaters are more diminutive, being in small plastic crates. The big issue for everyone is the timing of deliveries and pickups. We have all had the experience of waiting in all day for a delivery that may take place between 8am and 10pm and an unhappy and disgruntled driver turning up at our door.
We do try to minimise poor experiences for all concerned (including the drivers, some of whom have a challenging job). However, we need to work in partnership with everyone to make things work smoothly. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, something may derail things, such as a road accident or weather, or a technical fault in the system or the truck and leave us all without the service we had worked for!
Why not a carrier who can provide 2 hour delivery windows? Our Baptistries are specialist and often bulky items and so not every carrier is happy to take our parcels, and others charge a high price for doing so. Parcelforce charge a good price for delivery and will take even our biggest baptistries without complaint. We are also finding them better able to reach our extremely rural customers via their network. As for 2 hour window notifications, this is something they are working towards. Let us hope and pray the obstacles they are finding to doing so are overcome.
After using FedEx for over 6 years we have had major problems with them over Easter. Hopefully, customers will not have noticed. However, FedEx implemented a new online booking procedure and, in short, it was chaotic and their pricing and billing system has become erratic and unreliable. What is clear is that it has been a cover a for a price hike.
To send a Nonagon pool now would cost £140 there and back whereas it used to cost £100. To send the old Galilee pool, we were recently charged over £300 instead of £120! We are urgently looking at other carriers and it is likely that we will have to use a pallet service as the default carrier. This has three immediate benefits: it is cheaper; the delivery is within a much narrower time-window; the baptistry is easier to repack for the return to us. The down-side is that a customer must be able to receive a pool on a pallet. The carrier will have a tail-lift on the lorry and a pallet truck and will deliver to the foyer on the level. For customers who can receive and return on a pallet, we are looking at other carriers who can cope with such large consignments.
As all this may wish you could buy the pool, we are putting together a way for customers to buy in instalments over more than the 3 months currently offered.
The lease scheme is better value than hiring if you use the pool more than 3 times per year, and whilst it is a 5 year lease, there is an opt-out at 3 years.
The Galilee baptistry, which was very popular because it was quick to set up and had a double-liner system has become too expensive to send with FedEx because the curved panels result in big, bulky boxes. Hitherto, FedEx were the only ‘parcel’ carrier who would deal with boxes of this size, now they seem to be charging silly prices. To help matters, we have redesigned the pool to give the new Flatpack Galilee. At the same time, we’ve made changes to the dimensions – the new flatpack Galilee is 78cm deep (the same as the Nonagon and Croydon pools) because some felt the depth of the Galilee a little on the shallow side. It is also a wee bit longer and broader. at over 7′ long and 5′ wide internally, this is a very spacious baptistry that stores well.
For nearly 10 years now we’ve run the baptistry hire side of our business as a service to church congregations of all denominations because we think it is an important part of mission for churches.
We’ve taken a long, hard look at baptistry hire and come to the conclusion that there is a group of problems centring on sustainability.
Sustainability- transporting them to and from is dead money for the customer. Sustainability – transporting pools around by courier leads to more wear and tear on them and the need to keep making new ones. Post-Brexit, raw material costs are creeping up. Sustainability – the business. This year we carefully looked at the figures and worked out that we were barely breaking even on the hire side. And there is the sustainability of us as people – there is a lot of work in organising the logistics, packing and repacking pools, making and repairing pools, and so on and we are not getting younger.
We will carry on renting out the pools but we have formed a new way for customers to get their baptistry. With leasing, customers will pay a far lower weekly rate and not have the transport costs between hires. Nor will they have to worry about whether another church has damaged the kit as you will have complete control over the pool with you. If the liner does get damaged, we factor in one replacement liner during your lease. You will have a baptistry at your church all the time and the facilities on hand to offer baptism more often.
Leases can be for 3 or 5 year periods as you prefer. If you currently hire 3 times a year, then it would be worth your while to look at leasing. Leases are available now (speak with Ruth).
Rentals as we do them now would carry on but the cost would reflect the true cost of putting on such as service. We know that for special one off events and for particular Church circumstances a hire service will still be required, but we also know that to sustain the service in the long run we will not be able to do the work ourselves. So we are planning to pay staff to do the work and offer the service. We want to pay a real living wage and to do this our hire prices will rise from Pentecost onwards. The Apostle hire will go up to £300 plus £120 delivery, the Croydon and Galilee will hire at £235 plus £100 delivery and the Nonagon will hire at £225 plus £100 delivery.
Distance can limit the number of people who join your services and in Brighton, one church has felt God call them to get more local.
Church of Christ the King used to meet in one building, with a morning and an evening service. They had a dedicated congregation but they also wanted to offer people more opportunities to come to church.
The first step the Church took was having ‘zones’. Zones are groups meeting locally across Brighton between services offering more support and giving people more options, as Christian Finer explains. The idea blossomed, it got people thinking and Christian suggests that:
“Getting the people in the church thinking in a geographical way was the biggest change. It concentrated them on thinking about their neighbours and how they could bless their community – thinking about their own areas more deeply.”
This emphasis on care has driven the work to get out to different communities and, as the church has grown to work over different sites, they’ve worked hard to keep everyone together too. A mixture of social media, video content and regular events at the biggest site helps everyone feel their shared mission.
The first site to have its own service was Shoreham. With a half hour journey into Brighton and no fast public transport, it was a great choice. People coming in from Shoreham were able to enjoy a service round the corner and a great result was that now they could invite their friends to come along much more easily!
The Church has expanded to two services in central Brighton, two in Shoreham, two morning meetings in East Brighton and most recently two meetings in Hove. The fruit from all that hard work is there to see in the friends who’ve joined their congregation and the additional baptisms they’ve performed.
Baptism has changed along with the rest of their Church. Baptisms now happen over all their sites now, rather than just centrally, there were 57 baptisms last year.
Because of the need to drive their equipment out and set up tanks, often in hired premises, having a set of portable Baptistry UK Nonagons worked well for them. Christian agreed: “they are compact enough to go in with the rest of the stuff when we drive out, and they’re ok on space when they’re stored too”.
There was a special moment reaching out into communities this Easter. Christian says “I was there for the baptism at Easter. What was nice and a bit different was that we had two Chinese people get baptised, they shared their testimony in Mandarin for their friends and then we got it translated for everyone else in the room.”
That baptism marks a new beginning for them. Working locally has make the Church of Christ the King accessible and offered people a sense of being part of something bigger as all across the city baptisms take place simultaneously.
Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.
It’s a phone call no one wants to make and one we very rarely receive. Tudor Roberts at All Saints Lydiard picked up the phone the day before his baptism service to tell us his pool was leaking.
Ruth says “It’s the call we dread. We do everything in our power to prevent this happening and consequently it is a very rare event. But when it does happen my heart sinks into the bottom draw! Because all we can do on a Saturday is pray for a miracle. It is a funny thing but as I prayed (and I prayed!) I had the really strong sense that God was doing something really special here and I should leave it in his hands. On Monday morning I was so humbled by what God had done.”
Tudor kindly shared his story with us:
“We booked a pool from you two years ago and did a baptism in our churchyard. That was in a United Service when we were part of a local ecumenical project and the Baptist minister did it. I helped put the pool up then and I remember thinking ‘I’d like to do that in my church’.
“Well, two years later we have Joshua Harris who’s 13 – his mother Becky Harris is one of our worship leaders and chose to have a thanksgiving service for her children and wait till they were older rather than baptise them as babies. There was a Confirmation coming up at the end of March nearby at Rodbourne Cheney, so I said, look it would be great if we could do a confirmation preparation course in advance of the confirmation service on 25th March. Having been to Africa and taught the Rooted in Jesus course in Kenya, I used that with adults and with the youth group.
“Out of that course, two adults who’d previously done the Alpha course wanted to be confirmed. Joshua really wanted to be baptised in his own church not elsewhere. So we got the pool in for him, and I was asked “Are you sure it’s going to be alright?” And I may have said “I’m a Vicar, you can trust me” or something like that!
“We also offered a rededication of baptismal vows for people who had been baptised as a baby. Joshua Scellier, who I’d baptised as a baby, said “I‘d like to do that” – he’s in Year two at school. In the meantime, we had lots of young people doing our 12 wk course in the weeks before the service and most of them turned up at the baptism.
“By Saturday 21st March, the baptistry pool was up and ready. On that morning we had our puppet practice and a couple of the kids said, ‘Tudor… it’s leaking!’ I rang up Baptistry UK and they explained that we needed to empty and refill the pool. That afternoon with help from Becky Harris, we emptied it. I wasn‘t best pleased as I saw there was water on the floor in the church! Becky tried to look on the bright side and said maybe it was a fulfilment of the prophecy in Ezekiel that water will come down from the altar.
“We then refilled it but not so high. Becky said I’m going to pray and get my parents to pray and we hoped it would make a difference. And it did because the next day, when we went in, it was much better.
“Everything before this service that could go wrong went wrong. The data stick with the songs on would not work; we managed to get it working eventually. Someone forgot the bread for Holy Communion and I forgot the Baptism certificate. Then during the service an elderly lady collapsed and a paramedic had to be called – luckily she’s fine as it was a hypo glycaemic attack. It was very Vicar of Dibley.
“But what was most amazing was the atmosphere of joy in the church. So many teenagers there were gathering round the pool. We called the two boys being baptised big Josh and little Josh to tell them apart!”
One of Tudor’s parishioners said to him “I thought it was very beautifully done in terms of making both big and little Josh feel that it was a special service for them. It was lovely to have the young people up watching it at the front and it felt like God’s family celebrating something very special this morning.”
Tudor continues, “I think it was a real turning point moment for the church. So by the time I spoke to Baptistry UK on the Monday morning, all my negativity had disappeared and I was so thankful. Our youth work is now growing and we’re hoping to employ a youth worker from September and we’ve just started a new children’s service at 9.15am once a month at which we had 40 people and another service at 10.30am with lots of time for praise and testimony – it just took off and people are asking what’s happening.
“The baptism wasn’t the only thing but it was one of the things that helped an ordinary church like us get new hope in the Gospel.
“Interestingly, a number of other Anglican churches in the Deanery are now looking at baptism by immersion. We may end up buying a pool for the Deanery. Becky said that it just showed how God answers prayer. The immersive baptism was one of those things in recent months that has produced new growth and new hope in our church; some of the other things we’ve done in the last year is we’ve got a new piano, our new toilet is opening soon and now we’re hoping to get a drum kit and a youth worker, we feel reinvigorated in our work.
“Now I understand why Baptist ministers get so happy! We’ll continue to do baptisms for babies of course, but we want to use immersive baptism too now. We’d be happy to use Baptistry UK again.
“The whole service felt different because of the number of young people around and the sheer atmosphere of joy in that part of the church. Our Church origins go all the way back to the 12th Century… but this was something new for us.”
With many thanks to Tudor for sharing his experience with us, it’s a wonderful story of how, even if something goes wrong, baptism can offer rebirth for the whole community, creating a joy and enthusiasm that’s truly invigorating.
We include a puncture repair kit with any hired pool, and if you want complete reassurance, our Galilee and Apostle pools are able to work with a double liner, meaning that – even with a puncture – we’ve never had a leak with a double liner.
We’ve a short blog today to share our thoughts on different kinds of piping. There are three main types: lay flat pipe, hose pipe and crushproof pipe. So what are the pros and cons?
Lay flat pipe is what you’ll find when you hire a baptistry from us: it makes your postage cheaper as they’re lighter and flatter to transport. However, we replace them regularly as they don’t have a long shelf life. So we’d suggest a lay flat pipe if storage space or the ability to transport the baptistry are your main concerns.
Hosepipe is the easiest to source and you may already have a hosepipe to hand. It maintains water pressure and is made from durable material so it works well.
Crushproof piping will last longest, it’s tough and durable and doesn’t usually kink. It comes in 30 metre rolls so it’s best if your toilet or drain is some way from the baptistry. However, it is the most expensive piping of the three. Where crush-proof really excels is in emptying the pool with a pump, you still need a hosepipe to fill it. It allows the pump to get up to full speed because there are no kinks to stop the water.
You can also upgrade from lay flat to crushproof piping for £15 when you hire a baptistry from us.
We’re here to talk if you want to ask anything specific about your booking, just ring us on 0345 230 1381.
We put the nonagon up recently and, when we came to put the liner on we found the liner too big and a side too many – we’d accidentally forgotten a panel and made an octagon. As the panels went together just as well with one missing, we tried it with one extra. Ten sides worked too and it gave a pool that is catching on. It is wider than our ‘workhorse’ pool the nonagon but not any deeper. As the first church to try it and buy it was in Croydon, the name stuck. It is a cost-effective way to get a large baptistry tank (nearly 7′ across) that can be stored easily and doesn’t required the larger steps of our deeper baptistry (The Apostle).
The photos below are taken of the pool as it had arrived back. The two boxes with panels in had not been taped up and were open as seen. The green kit box was unsealed too. The other taped-together blob contained the two foam mats (which should have been protecting the side panels) and the liner (which was wet and had leaves on it). The crate contained all the other kit chucked in pel-mel. The pipes were still full of water and there was 1cm of water sloshing about the bottom. Aside from being cavalier, it loses the bond. The bond cheque gets presented and the extra time taken in drying, cleaning and checking the kit is deducted.
Please repack the pool and equipment carefully, not only is it the decent thing to do, it might mean that the next church has no pool because it has been damaged in transit. It is a very good idea to delegate a couple of people to unpack, set-up, take down and repack. Problems are most commonly encountered in large churches where there is no person taking responsibility.
There is a one page guide, with pictures, on repacking. There is a number to ring. Please take care of the baptistry and your bond.