St. Peter’s Draycott Annual Parochial Church Meeting for 2006/07- Minutes
Held on 22nd April 2007 at 6:30 p.m. in the church.
The meeting was opened by Stanley with a prayer
Apologies had been received from Thea Oliver and Colette Jeff
The sole nomination received had been for Richard Dingley, so he was duly declared elected. (NB. Someone else could be appointed later, although this should be before the next archdeacon’s visitation).
This had been carried out by the outgoing PCC. No amendments were received at the current meeting, so the minutes were declared as a true record.
There were no matters arising.
(See report A)
A confidentiality query was raised on the publication of addresses of those on the church electoral roll register. The precedent was cited of the constituency electoral roll.
(See Report B)
(See report C)
Clarification was given regarding £250 per month parish share. We contributed as much as we could, given our other expenses. We pay £250 per month when we can afford to. The question was asked, do we still owe the diocese the balance of what we were unable to pay last year? The answer is that we start each year with a clean sheet. The point was made that we still pay the parish share when the church is cold with no lighting, due to the lack of money we have had to spend on the fabric.
A further comment was received that we won’t encourage a new incumbent to come if we can’t be more welcoming than this. If the church is not welcoming, it will die- also, it will be compelled to close if it is unsafe.
Stanley clarified the following:
· We had applied for an emergency faculty to the diocese for lighting.
· A similar process was underway for the boiler.
· The reasons for the lack of safety were explained.
· We are making it a priority to get the boiler fixed before the winter.
David Cheetham directed us to the £12,115 in the General Fund that had to be used for building works, bringing the total spent in major works to £43,133.
Charitable giving included events that we organised on behalf of a third party, although we had not given money from church funds.
The giving to the International Nepal Fellowship (INF) had in fact taken place, as per our commitments, but this had been too late for these accounts. It was pointed out that these monies were given specifically for INF, so were ‘ring-fenced’ and could not be used for anything else.
Monies for the Barry Rose concert had at first been put into the General fund, then after discussion at the PCC transferred to the refurbishment fund.
(See report D)
Tricia Heckbert proposed that the accounts were accepted. Tricia Lumley seconded. All agreed.
(See report E)
We all admired the altar frontal, made by the school.
No quotation had been received for the boiler repairs yet. Some of the background to the boiler problems was explained. Part of this was historical, where the original requirements for gas had increased, but the size of the gas pipe had not. The supposed unsafeness of the boiler was largely theoretical due to an incorrectly fitted flue. In practice the boiler had been working for 30 years with no problems!
There had been a discussion about whether or not the lime trees in the avenue needed to be pollarded- Richard was going to take this up with Mendip District Council, and would try to get an assurance that any liability was theirs.
(See report F)
Richard Dingley commented that we would not be where we are without Victor; a vote of thanks was given to him by the whole meeting.
(See report G)
Sylvia would like more people to go to Deanery Synod meetings, which were open to everyone and very good value.
(See report H)
In Thea’s absence, Stanley said he would answer any questions concerning this report and the next one
(See report I)
The readers were encouraged to press on with their further training.
(See report J)
There would be a reduction in income tax and hence tax rebates, but not until April 2008.
(See report K)
The main news is the early retirement of the head teacher Viv White, and the attempt of the school governors to fill the post. We were unable to shortlist from the first round of applications, so we are re-advertising. Prayers of the congregation would be appreciated.
Ann Wait at Cheddar is responsible
(See report L)
Richard spoke to this report, and called our attention to future events and the ecumenical Lent group, which is being supported by the LMG.
(See report M)
Our main charitable support is the contribution to the Sisters of the Church, but this has fallen off in recent months. This needs a mention in the magazine, and possibly a ‘promotional’ visit from one of the sisters.
(See report N)
(See report O)
(See report P)
The following members were not standing down, and had confirmed that they would be prepared to continue:
The following had stood down, or had been newly proposed; all had confirmed their willingness to stand.
Sylvia Dingley was still within her three-year term as Deanery Synod representative, and so was on the PCC ex officio. NB. since Wendy Cartwright had resigned, we were entitled to another member.
The vicar Stanley Price and church warden Richard Dingley made up the other members of the PCC, ex officio, bringing the total number of proposed members to nine people.
Richard Dingley proposed acceptance of the proposed PCC members with no further vote. Nikki Devitt seconded. All were in favour, so they were declared duly elected.
No further items were raised.
Stanley Price closed the meeting with a prayer.
Richard Dingley, Electoral Roll officer
At the close of the 2002-2007 Electoral Roll there were 52 members listed. However a number have moved away and for the newly created Roll a reduced number of only 42 had returned completed forms by the due date. Since then I have received 2/4 additional forms bringing our current total to 44/6.
The reduction is accounted by:
2 Left the Parish;
Graham and Julie Brown
John and Wendy Cartwright
3 Failed to renew membership
Eileen and Lionel Plimsole
John and Maureen Richardson
4 Members to be added to the roll at the end of the meeting;
Annabel and Jeffery Astle
New members to the roll are:
Christina and Stephanie Lumley
Chris Green, PCC Secretary
There have been 10 members in the PCC this year, after John and Wendy Cartwright left last August. David Cheetham joined us, and bravely stepped into the breach left by Wendy as treasurer. Tricia Lumley also joined us during the year. All are standing again this year apart from Victor Skinner, who is standing down after a particularly active and fruitful six years of service. He will be greatly missed.
Since the last APCM on 2nd April 2006 the PCC have held their regular meetings on 2nd May, 30th May, 26th June, 31st July, 18th September, 23rd October and 20th November in 2006; and on the 15th January, 26th February and 2nd April in 2007. We also held extraordinary meetings on a number of occasions.
Although we held more meetings than last year (ten meetings, as against seven in the previous year) they continue to be quite full, and we are very grateful to our lay chair Tricia Heckbert who moves us through our business as briskly as she can. Where possible, we set up subcommittees to advise the PCC and to carry out some of its work, such as the worship group and charities group.
The proposed font sale has probably been our single biggest challenge this year, and has taken a large amount of PCC time (including several extraordinary meetings). We made a formal application for a faculty for its sale, and after the faculty was contested we have had to prepare responses to the objections. The proposal also hit the local press, and we responded to a letter by Mr. Dave Binning. Recently we set up a working group to finalise our response to objections to the font sale, which has to be lodged with the Chancellor by 3rd May.
PCC minutes have continued to appear on the Website, and this report will shortly be uploaded there as well: www.rodneystokewithdraycott.org.uk/Draycott/Reports/Reports.htm.
David Cheetham, Treasurer
This has been a year of very major expenditure on the Church roof and on the painting of the Chancel ceiling. We acknowledge the financial help that has come from outside bodies, particularly English Heritage, but it is also a credit to our small community that we have managed to make the Church watertight and have begun the task of making the interior beautiful and welcoming.
The money we have spent on major works has, however, made it impossible to fulfil our obligation to the Diocese. Our Parish Share for 2006 was set at £9081, but of this we have only been able to pay £2500. The Parish Share for 2007 has been set at £8954 and we are contributing to it at the rate of £250 per month. The amount paid to the International Nepal Fellowship is shown in the accounts as only £230 for the year instead of £460. This is because the end-of-year payment of £230 was made too late to appear in the 2006 accounts; it will appear in the 2007 accounts instead. We have fulfilled all our other financial obligations.
There is now enough money in the Refurbishment Fund to carry out the essential task of renewing the electric wiring, which has been declared unsafe. The gas boiler has also been declared unsafe and is due to be replaced during the course of the year. This will probably take most of the remaining money in the Refurbishment Fund. Therefore, in order to continue the work on the interior of the Church building a new fundraising initiative will be needed.
Let me pay due respect to Wendy Cartwright, the PCC Treasurer for many years, whose bookkeeping and good sense were exemplary. I have to give up the position that I took on temporarily when she left, but I give my successor every good wish for the future.
David Cheetham, Treasurer (NB. General Fund reported 2nd for editorial reasons)
Covenants and Gift Aid 390.00
Income Tax and VAT recovered 8 226.77
Gift Days and sundry donations 172.17
Grants and Legacies 23 600.00
Fund raising 69.49
Total 32 458.43
Major Works 31 017.61
Excess of Receipts over payments 32 458.43
Less 31 017.61
Add transfers from General Fund 1 464.43
Balance of account 01.01.2006 2 811.96
Balance of account 31.12.2006 5 717.21
Increase of balance during the year 2 905.25
Covenants and Gift Aid 5 771.50
Income Tax recovered 2 141.85
Collections at services 1 226.14
Gift Days and sundry donations 1 642.04
Grants and Legacies 252.00
Investment income 115.86
Charitable and ancillary trading 1 802.75
Restricted income 459.17
Total 13 411.31
Diocesan quota 2 500.00
Clergy expenses 539.65
Upkeep of church 2 114.71
Upkeep of services 173.30
Major works 12 115.73
Salaries and support costs 335.50
Fund raising and church admin 31.12
Restricted payments 230.00
Total 19 210.75
Excess of Payments over Receipts 19 210.75
Less 13 411.31
Add: transfers to Refurbishment Fund 1 464.43
Less transfers from Deposit Account 9 300.00
- 2 036.13
Less cheque drawn in 2005 but presented 2006 10.00
- 2 026.13
Add cheques drawn in 2006 but not presented 635.02
- 2 661.15
Balance of account 01.01.2006 2 017.47
Balance of account 31.12.2006 4 678.62
Increase of balance during the year 2 661.15
Balance of Account, 1st Jan 2006 21.70
Payment for daffodils, 4th April 2006 16.00
Balance of account, 31st Dec 2006 5.70
(This account was closed Jan 2007)
Balance at 01.01.2006 9 379.16
Transfer to current account 9 300.00
Balance at 31 12 2006 79.16
(Note: interest is paid into the current account)
Balance at 01.01.2006 186.19
Interest added 8.42
Balance 31 12 2006 194.61
Major works expenditure
West Country Tiling 34 789.20
Kynaston (ceiling painting) 6 170.00
Chedburn (architect) 2 174.14
Total 43 133.34
Grants made during the year
Church Army 14.57
Historic Churches Preservation Trust 25.00
Amnesty International 34.60
Sisters of Mercy 30.00
Children of Chernobyl 400.00
(of which £350 in concert ticket sales)
Kenyan Orphanage (Harvest Supper) 252.00
INF (Nepal) 230.00
Collections at services at The Laurels 77.04
Collections at services at Sealey Close 84.00
Coffee money (collections, less expenses) 28.00
.Barry Rose concert
Ticket sales 770.00
Less expenses 71.50
Carol singing 134.46
This report on the financial statements of the PCC for the year ended 31 December 2006, is in respect of an examination carried out in accordance with the Church accounting Regulations 2006 (“the Regulations”) and section 43 of the Charities act 1993 (“the Act”).
As members of the PCC you are responsible for the preparation of the financial statements. You consider that the audit requirement of the Regulations and section 43(2) of the Act do not apply. It is my responsibility to issue this report on those financial statements in accordance with the terms of the Regulations.
My examination was carried out in accordance with the General Directions given by the Charity Commission under section 43(7)(b) of the act and to be found in the Church Guidance, 2006 edition, issued by the Finance Division of the Archbishops’ Council. That examination includes a review of the accounting records kept by the PCC and a comparison of the accounts with those records. It also includes considering any unusual items or disclosures in the financial statements and seeking explanations from you as trustees concerning any such matters. The procedures undertaken do not provide all the evidence that would be required in an audit, and consequently I do not express an audit opinion on the view given by the accounts.
In connection with my examination, no matter has come to my attention:
(1) which gives me reasonable cause to believe that in any material respect the requirements to keep accounting records in accordance with section 41 of the Act; and to prepare financial statements, which accord with the accounting records and comply with the requirements of the act and the Regulations have not been met; or
(2) to which, in my opinion, attention should be drawn in order to enable a proper understanding of the accounts to be reached.
Mr Alan B Rowntree, Westfield Barn, Wells Road, Draycott, Somerset, BS27 3SF
13 April 2007
Richard Dingley, Church Warden
I do not intend to rehearse the saga of the roof. The fabric of this is now sound, and only the small area above the present toilet remaining to be completed.
The main saga for this year is the decision by the PCC to ask for a faculty for permission to sell the Font in order to fund the continuing repairs detailed in the quinquennial report of last August and to embark on the further refurbishment with the intention of making the church building a place of beauty and peace usable by the whole village.
The survey raised a number of serious issues with regard to the fabric of the church. The electrical system is in need of an urgent reformation and has been declared unsafe in some areas. The boiler is also not working properly and needs major work or replacement. The damp damaged areas of the north transept and adjoining nave require removal and replacement of the plaster and there is a need to control rising damp in the south transept. The avenue of lime trees is considered in the report as in need of pollarding, this is in agreement with my own view that ‘once pollard – always pollard’ but a view contrary to previous decision by the Mendip Tree Officer that lime trees should not be subject to pollarding. The branches are now getting large and heavy and there is a potential hazard of damage or injury from one of these breaking. A further approach to the Council regarding their acceptance of the liability for this should be sought. The further refurbishment, re-ordering and decoration of the church remains under active consideration and decisions will need to be made in co-operation with George Chedburn as soon as the financial position is clarified.
The most significant addition to the inventory during the year was the presentation by the School of a new Frontal for the Nave Communion Table. This is a valuable and impressive piece of work by the staff and students at the school and will be treasured for a long time to come. Also during the year one of the communion cruets was broken and a new pair obtained.
2006 saw the completion of the repairs to the Church roof. We still await the completion of the snagging list, for which we owe the builders just less than £1400, but when this is paid we can claim the last 5% of the English Heritage Lottery grant, worth around £2400. At long last the roof repair is complete and paid for.
After some frantic last- minute negotiations we were able to secure the £1500 grant from the Wyvern Environment Trust before they closed down.
The sale of second hand books has come to the end of its useful life, but we still have a few volumes in the Book Barn, from whom we receive a small payment, now and again. Our thanks are due to Rita who has raised over £1000 from this venture.
2006 was the year in which Barry Rose and friends gave their December concert in St. Peter’s. The most enjoyable event raised almost £700 but Barry’s hard work would have been better rewarded with more aggressive ticket sales.
Sylvia Dingley, Deanery Synod representative
Deanery Synod Meetings in the last twelve months have been interesting, informative and interactive friendly occasions.
In June 2006 the Rural Dean of Shepton Mallet spoke on the work of the Diocesan Environmental Working Party of which he is the Chairman. He asked for our assistance for the working party as they draft a Diocesan policy on environmental issues and encourage Christians to personally think about ecological issues. Lively discussion groups tackled different aspects and came up with some very sensible ideas. ‘Would the DAC approve of double glazing or solar panels?’ Concern about rising sea levels with many parishes in the Deanery being below the present sea level ‘Could the Bishop use a bike instead of a car? And many more.
The highlight of the Deanery Synod meetings of the year was an open meeting in November on ‘an exploration on the Consecration of women to the Episcopate.’ The guest speakers were Father David Holding, a General Synod member and parish priest, representing the Catholic wing of the church and Mrs Christine Rees, a Christian writer and broadcaster, just returned from Washington D.C. where she had attended the Consecration of the first woman bishop in the United States. Both speakers gave us fascinating informative and interesting presentations, which, together with the question and answer session at the end, gave us plenty to take home to think and pray about.
February saw us in Wedmore for a power point presentation about the ‘School of Formation, Diocese of Bath and Wells, again a very good informative and useful presentation. As these meetings are open to all and are such very good value I do recommend that more members of our church attend our Deanery Synod meetings. The business is usually kept very short and is preceded by good fellowship with sumptuous light refreshments. We need a new Parish representative to replace Wendy Cartwright and we hope to see more of you attending in the future thus gaining an insight into the wider affairs of the Deanery, Diocese and Province.
Thea Oliver, Church Warden
The group has continued to meet quarterly throughout the year. Many good ideas are shared, discussed and put into practice. Examples of this include themed services and a very enjoyable and successful family picnic and compline service to celebrate our patronal festival in June. We hope to repeat this on Friday June 29th this year and have a family communion service on Sunday July 1st to which the families of all those who have been baptised or married at St Peter’s in recent years will be personally invited to join us.
We have discussed music in our services and a singing group has formed to augment worship for festivals, everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed singing at Christmas and Easter and we are looking forward to singing together again at Pentecost. At Christmas time we were joined by members of The Mendip Players carol singing around the village on foot, with plenty of mulled wine & mince pies supplied on the way!
Our evening services of meditation and Taizé style music for Advent Sunday and Good Friday have attracted friends from other Churches and attendances are growing. This year we celebrated Holy Communion with a service of foot washing on Maundy Thursday in place of the Passover meal.
We continue to hold joint services with St Leonard’s on the 5th Sunday of the month alternating between St Peter’s and St Leonard’s Churches.
We have enjoyed hearing a variety of preachers including visiting preachers via the LMG’s pulpit swap scheme!
The suggestion was made that this group could be disbanded and that the preaching team could decide on themes and types of services, but the consensus is that although it appears to be duplicating effort at times it is important for everyone in the congregation to have the opportunity to be involved.
We in the worship group have discussed the future especially in light of the fact that repeated invitations to the congregation of St Leonard’s to join us have not borne fruit as yet and so we plan to invite everyone from both Churches to our next meeting; this will be a social evening at St Leonard’s Church hall in early September. We hope that this event will encourage more members of our congregations to give their opinions, share their ideas and give us feedback. We all know that the future for our Benefice must involve closer working together and to enable this to happen both congregations must feel involved and able to give their opinions and share their ideas.
Thea Oliver, Church Warden
This year the preaching team of Rev Stanley Price, Richard Dingley (Reader), Canon Gordon Jeff, Chris Green, & Thea Oliver was joined by Nikki Devitt. We have also been involved with the LMC pulpit swap, ‘lending’ our Vicar to other Churches and ‘borrowing’ theirs for a Sunday!
Archdeacon John Reid re-licensed Stanley to serve our benefice in February, this license will last until the LMG comes into effect and the new team takes over.
We continue to meet to discuss and plan the services and suggest themes that can be take up by the worship group. One theme was around ‘Christ in the workplace’ and three very different sermons were enjoyed by the congregations in St Peter’s and St Leonard’s Churches.
The ‘lay members’ of our team are investigating further study and are planning to attend training courses in leadership and preaching skills, and considering Readership training at some time in the future.
We are all enjoying the experience of both preaching and listening to others and especially appreciate feedback from members of the congregations as well as each other.
Victor Skinner, covenant secretary
I have added one more covenant to our list and have modified (upwards) two or three of our existing pledges.
We have placed two notices in the Church, encouraging people to place their collections or donations in the yellow envelopes so that we can claim tax rebate. Unfortunately, in reducing the standard rate of income tax from 22% to 20% each pound we give, under the Gift Aid scheme, will only be worth £1.25 to us – still worth having.
Nikki Devitt, Foundation Governor
There are now 4 Draycott School Governors from St Peter's electoral roll (N.Devitt, G.Astle, L.Talbot, M.Ricard).
The school children continue to attend Assembly in the church on alternate Wednesday mornings, with Stanley officiating. Members of our congregation are welcome at these services. The children behave respectfully in the church and join enthusiastically in the responses, the activities and the singing. They also join in saying the Lord’s Prayer; it’s good to see children of all ages are familiar with this. As 'foundation' governors we have a legal duty to monitor RE and collective worship, but quite apart from these duties, it's very encouraging to see the children participating in the life of the church.
The special services for the school and the children’s parents on the Friday before Harvest and Mothering Sunday have also been well attended.
The children of the school made and donated a splendid altar frontal for St Peter's church last July. I visited them during a lesson whilst they were working together on this. It really was a whole school effort with every child contributing something. They were very keen to tell the different stories they knew of St. Peter, and explained very well the themes illustrated on the frontal.
Since the last APCM the parents have completed a feedback questionnaire for school, with a 66% response rate. All the respondents agreed with the statement ‘I am aware that the school is a church school and this creates a caring, Christian environment’.
This suggests that despite the absence of the children and their families from our worship on a Sunday, there is an appreciation of what the church stands for.
In the coming term the governors have a major challenge, as Viv White is taking early retirement and we must appoint her successor. We would appreciate the prayers of the church community as we embark on the most important task we undertake as a governing body, that our new head will be someone who makes the spiritual development of the children a priority, and who will be keen to foster links between school and the church.
In September 2005, as part of the Diocesan initiative, Changing Lives, Changing Churches for Changing Communities, thee Local Ministry Groups were formed in the Axbridge Deanery. The Mendip Local Ministry Group comprises Axbridge, Shipham & Rowberrow, Cheddar, Crook Peak and Draycott & Rodney Stoke.
The aim of an LMG is to work together; to share information, resources and skills; to develop a sense of community and to reinvigorate parishes for outreach. With this in mind, a corporate logo and mission statement - Better Together - were adopted.
The Clergy met initially and then a Steering Group was formed to also include some Readers and Parish Representatives; this planning group meets bi-monthly. It decided that the best way forward was to move slowly but steadily and, with this in mind, a series of events have been planned:
· Pulpit exchanges take place two or three times a year, with Clergy visiting each other’s churches to preach and meet the different congregations.
· A series of evenings using course material from the School of Formation have been arranged. These would not be viable in individual parishes but, as an LMG project, allow interesting and informative sessions to be shared and for fellowship to develop.
· Clergy and Readers meet weekly for Morning Prayer at 9am on Thursday mornings in Axbridge, Cheddar or Weare.
· A very successful skittles evening was held in July and there will be other social events.
· Youngsters have attended a very well-run and informative meeting with Tony Cook, Diocesan Youth Advisor.
· A united service of Pentecost Praise, with a picnic, will be held at a farm on Mendip on the afternoon of 27th May.
· Canon Russell Bowman Eadie will be a guest speaker on 27th June.
· A Marriage Preparation Day is being planned for February 2008.
This has been a very positive start but there is much more to achieve as we continue to inform our PCC’s and congregations, and encourage them to think and plan as part of the Mendip Local Ministry Group.
Colette Jeff, charities group
This committee has not formally met since being created with its present membership.
During the year, the church has been involved in the following support of good causes:
· Children's Orphanage following the Chernobyl disaster, organised by Stanley Price.
· Christian Aid, organised by Tricia Heckbert.
· Children's Society, through boxes and a Christingle coffee morning, organised by Lynda Whittle.
· Poppy Appeal, with the village, organised by Ronnie Moulton.
· An African Charity at Harvest, organised by Thea Oliver.
· International Nepal Fellowship, supporting Lois Dingley in Nepal.
· The Sisters of the Church in Bristol, to whom we send donations of food for distribution to those in need in the St. Paul's area of Bristol.
The PCC has not allocated any funds to the committee. In view of the considerable shortfall in St. Peter's income and its expenses, and taking into account the current level of giving to the above charities, we consider that it is already adequately fulfilling its obligations.
Chris Green (leader, Bible Study Group)
The bible study group has met throughout the year, at the houses of Audrey Morgan in Draycott and Chris Green and Nikki Devitt in Rodney Stoke. In 2006 we finished the Gospel according to Matthew, and then the Acts of the Apostles. We then began Luke's Gospel in Advent, which we continued until Lent in 2007.
The bible study group chose a Lent course on behalf of the PCC- a York course loosely based on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. Members of the Bible Study group led the five sessions.
During the year seven people have regularly attended the bible study groups, all worshippers at St. Peter's. None of us is an expert, so we all bring our own thoughts (and often bible commentaries) to these sessions, and also compare different translations. When studying the gospels, we often use parallel texts to bring out the varied approaches of the different gospel writers. Above all, we ask ourselves- how is this the word of God for us today? We hope that some of our insights may filter back to the congregations of St. Peter's, for example through preaching, and bidding prayers (three of us are on the preaching team at St. Peter's and St. Leonard's).
We are always looking for new people to join us. We don't expect regular attendance- all that we ask is that participants be prepared to discuss the different viewpoints expressed, and be open to learning from each other.
Chris Green, Webmaster
The address of the website of the benefice is: www.rodneystokewithdraycott.org.uk.
Within this, there are separate sections for St. Peter's, St. Leonard's and the Newsletter. During the year we have another section for the preaching team, on which you can also find some of the sermons. If you would like any more of the sermons you hear to be published on the website, just ask the preacher and the web master.
The newsletter has been updated regularly on the website, although this has been missed twice during the year due to holidays and/ or other commitments on the web master. Following the appearance of our font in the national news, some extra pages were added to provide additional background, including pictures of the font.
The issue of the font has in fact shown us that having a website can be useful in various unexpected ways, as it allowed us to respond rapidly to outside interest and to put our own point of view. As well as adding information about the font, we also put in a section on fundraising- to drive home the fact that we had raised a large amount of money for roof repairs before the font sale was ever considered. In the same vein we also added some information on our continued need for repair and refurbishment.
We monitor visitors to the website, and up until Christmas last year we had about 21 a week, a little up on 17 a week in the previous year. But starting from Boxing Day the activity shot up, and has shown an average of 44 a week. The font story broke in the local press around Christmas, so this seems likely to have been the source of the additional interest.
Stanley Price, Priest in Charge
Firstly, I am very pleased that you asked me to continue as Priest-in-Charge for another two years. It was very encouraging to see members joining the PCC at short notice and in the early evening for the licensing. I enjoy working with you all; the fellowship is a happy one.
We have continued to experiment with worship during the past year, introducing a Family Communion service on the first Sunday of the month. This has been well received but as yet we don’t get many parents with children. The Iona Holy Communion service on 5th Sundays we share with Rodney Stoke, is popular with members from both churches. The occasional Taizé evening services continue to be well received and that on Good Friday attracted worshippers from outside the benefice. A very successful Patronal Festival in June saw new faces and I thought the celebration of Compline in amongst the spent cups and crumbs was very moving.
I am pleased that the newly formed Preaching team has your enthusiastic support, it gives much encouragement to all of us who ‘stick our necks out’ every week. Nikki Devitt is a welcome and very valuable addition to the team. She and Chris and Thea are keen to seek to be trained as Licensed Readers, possibly beginning this autumn. I am hopeful that their existing educational and professional qualifications, which are considerable, will give sufficient credit for them to be excused the most basic parts of the theological training. However, we will continue to enjoy the benefits of their thinking and experience while they are in training.
The fortnightly school services in St Peter’s Church continue to be enjoyed by the children and a few parents (and me). The Friday afternoons preceding Harvest and Mothering Sunday are always packed as they attract most parents and quite a few grandparents. Relationships between school and church are very cordial and this is thanks in no small measure to the dedication of the Governors and voluntary helpers, many of whom are church members. As you know Viv White retires at the end of this term and the Governors are interviewing prospective candidates for her replacement. Viv has been a good head and ensured the Christian faith has been well taught.
The Mendip Local Ministry Group is continuing to flourish, albeit in a quiet way. Clergy and Readers are committed to making the Group successful. One or two educational meetings have been fairly well attended and a Skittles evening in Wedmore was very popular. Another is planned for September in the Red Lion and an open air picnic and Songs of Praise service is being held at Pentecost in a few weeks time at Flagstaff Farm in Christon.
The sale of the Font has tended to dominate the work of the PCC and I fear we are suffering from ‘Font fatigue’, which may be one reason why we may not be able to field a full PCC in the coming year. However, this issue will be resolved one way are another this summer.
Everyone works hard at St Peter’s and I say thank you to the PCC, churchwardens and workers generally without naming individuals (so as not to forget anyone). Suffice to say we have a very good team of happy, hard working people for the church of St Peter. I hope you will know soon that your work is being rewarded when we receive the hoped-for favourable decision on the sale of the Font.