Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2007/08 - St. Peter’s Draycott
Held on 27th April 2008 at 6:30 p.m. in the church.
Richard Dingley opened the meeting with a prayer. Tricia Heckbert took the chair.
Victor and Rita Skinner, Linda Whittle, Stanley Price
Mavis Ball is in hospital.
Barbara Brice, David Cheetham, Tricia Corrick, Nikki Devitt, Richard Dingley, Sylvia Dingley, Chris Green, Tricia Heckbert, Collett Jeff, Gordon Jeff, Tricia Lumley, Maria Millard, Dorothea Oliver, Barry Rose, Susanna Walker
Two nominations had been proposed and seconded:
Thea Oliver and Richard Dingley
All agreed with these proposals, so they were declared duly elected. The meeting thanked them for taking up the office during a time of interregnum.
The minutes were agreed as an accurate account of the meeting, and signed by the chair.
Under item 10, pollarding of lime trees.
Richard Dingley had contacted Mendip District Council to ask whose responsibility this was. They agreed that it was their own (but only thought that they needed thinning, not pollarding). However they are treating this job as low priority. We were at liberty to arrange the pollarding ourselves by a suitably qualified person, but this would have been very expensive. Richard wrote back saying that there was a safety issue involved- the path is used not only by the congregation of St. Peters, and visitors to the church and churchyard, but also regularly by school children and accompanying adults. He had not heard back.
Under item 11, Fundraising Committee.
Chris Green had written to Victor Skinner expressing our greatest appreciation for his work on the fundraising committee. He had replied explaining his reasons for resigning.
Under item 19, Charitable Giving: support for Sisters of the Church.
We had publicised this more widely, and one of the Sisters had come to talk to us about their work in Bristol. Tricia Corrick had encouraged everyone to bring extra food during Lent. All this had resulted in increased donations, especially at Easter, and much more had been donated this year compared to last year.
(See report A)
Since the report was written the number has been reduced by one to 45.
(See report B)
(See report C)
David drew our attention to the following:
It was asked why we should pay the parish share. Most goes on clergy salaries and pensions. NB. in former years we have been the only parish in the deanery to pay such a small proportion of our parish share, so have been rather ‘letting the side down’. We think that it is essential that we pay this, if we possibly can.
(See report D)
Richard Dingley proposed that the meeting accepts these accounts. Colette Jeff seconded. All were in favour, so the motion was carried.
(See report E)
Highlights- we should be able to start looking for a buyer for the font next month (May).
We thanked Stanley for organising the original petition for the sale of the font, and his part in presenting the case in the face of objections. Thanks also to Chris Green for pulling together the elements of this case and producing a well-argued document.
(See report F)
The most encouraging part of this had been that different people had been involved in the various events. We should look at setting up a fundraising subcommittee. NB. The previous committee was wound up through lack of support, which meant that too much was falling on individual members.
This year all fundraising has gone into the refurbishment fund, not into the parish share.
(See report G)
Sylvia encouraged participation by others- ideally we need another one or two members.
The new youth worker at Kings of Wessex- has been a very good appointment. The deanery is appealing for churches to help fund her for additional hours (she is employed by the school for four days a week).
(See report H)
This has been working well. In the future we should think of having joint ones with Cheddar.
It was suggested that when we are organising a service rota for St. Peter’s in the new benefice, we should try to keep a service at the same time each week- otherwise people get confused and stop coming. This was agreed.
(See report I)
The report should take into account that Nikki, Chris and Thea are not yet officially accepted as trainee Lay Readers- indeed Thea has not yet applied, although she is doing the ‘Exploring Christianity’ training module with Nikki.
Stanley is reducing his coverage of services from July, and only doing the 1st Sunday in the month at Draycott. The preaching team will cover two Sundays each month.
If anyone would like us to invite particular celebrants back, please let Richard know.
(See report J)
How do we convey more effectively the advantages of covenanting ones contribution to the church (NB. See 8. Financial Report, above).
We would ask Victor if he would be prepared to write an article in the Newsletter on this subject.
(See report K)
Relations between church and school are cordial.
Note that the new incumbent at Cheddar will be governor at Kings of Wessex ex officio, so is unlikely to be a governor at Draycott and Rodney Stoke School (as previous priests in charge at Rodney Stoke and Draycott have been).
The meeting thanked Nikki for stepping in and taking school assemblies.
(See report L)
Pentecost Praise seems to have gone by the board- a pity, as it was good last year.
(See report M)
Should we provide a more regular reminder to the village about the contribution to Sisters of the Church? We need more publicity, plus we should probably put dates of food delivery to Bristol in the diary.
(See report N)
All are welcome- and it is not a commitment that you have to come every week!
(See report O)
The meeting thanked Chris for keeping this excellent website up to date.
(See report P)
The meeting re-iterated our feeling of gratitude to Stanley for all that he had done in the parishes. His final departure will not happen until the new incumbent is in post.
The following nominations had been proposed and seconded:
Tricia Heckbert, Chris Green, David Cheetham, Tricia Lumley, Colette Jeff, Barry Rose.
All had agreed to stand, and there were no objections. Together with the ex officio members Thea Oliver and Richard Dingley (churchwardens) and Sylvia Dingley (Deanery Synod representative) they were welcomed as the new PCC (proposed: Gordon Jeff; seconded- Nikki Devitt; no objections).
a. Thea Oliver wanted us to recognise David Cheetham’s considerable contribution to the running of the church as, effectively, deputy churchwarden. He had expressed his willingness to continue in this role, and it was a pity that it did not have formal recognition. The meeting agreed, and thanked David for his help in the previous year, and in advance for next year.
b. Audrey Morgan said that the organists should have a vote of thanks. We were particularly blessed with the quality and quantity of organists, and the occasional organ recital at the end of a service was a treat in its own right! All agreed.
c. Tricia Corrick asked whether the second bell would be brought back into use. It was only the bell rope that was preventing this- unfortunately, repairing it would necessitate erecting scaffolding, so would have to wait until we were doing redecoration.
d. Chris Green submitted a request on behalf of Graham Brown. Graham and Julie were distressed at the state of the Garden of Remembrance. It is in a scruffy condition- why could we not do something along the lines of St. Leonard’s? This is an issue for Graham at the moment as the daughter of his deceased brother-in-law Richard had proposed to inter her father’s ashes there, but in its current condition Graham could not recommend this course of action. If nothing were done, Graham would have to reconsider his current contribution to our funds; conversely, if we were able to make improvements, a contribution could be made from Richard’s estate (and Julie would make due provision in hers).
In reply, David said that we have been tending the garden, and Gordon Jeff and Owen Spencer had inspected it. Had Graham seen this in its current condition?
The meeting asked the next PCC to address this issue.
e. Barry Rose raised the issue of the sound system. The feedback we endured at the last service was an ample illustration of the problem- what can we do?
Suggestions: testing more thoroughly before the service; fixing the settings; switching off the speakers (only those with hearing aids would then be affected).
We will look into it!
Richard closed the meeting with a prayer, and we said the Grace.
Richard Dingley, Electoral Roll officer
In the year under review there have been few changes to the Electoral Roll. The present Roll has 46 members.
The annual survey for the Parish Share has increased by two since last year. This is based on attendances in October last and NOT on the Electoral Roll. Our active membership this year is counted as 32.
Chris Green, PCC Secretary
Your PCC was 9 strong this year, although down to 8 when Stanley left at the end of January. All (apart from Stanley) are standing again. We had nine meetings, on the 22nd May, 17th June, 23rd July, 12th September, 15th October, 26th November, and 5th December 2007; then on 21st January, 18th February and 25th March 2008. Once again we have greatly appreciated our lay chair, Tricia Heckbert, in keeping our meetings running smoothly and even (sometimes) to time.
Our PCC has often felt stretched by the challenges thrown up this year. Where feasible we have created subgroups to manage particular aspects of church life, but have not always had enough people to go round- so for example we have not re-started the fund-raising committee, although we have hosted several events.
One major source of work this year, as last year, surrounded our proposal for the sale of the Font. Our main task was delivering a response to the objector’s reply to our own document justifying the proposed sale. Mercifully there was no new round of responses, and as you know the Chancellor found in favour of the proposed sale (albeit with some conditions). This felt like a major vindication of our efforts, and the prospect of an increase in our funds due to the font sale is one of the bright points looking forward to next year.
To support our case for the font sale we carried out surveys on heating and lighting, to assess the real extent of our immediate fabric needs. This resulted in both being condemned as unsafe! We then needed rapidly to organise works to get both in service again, and - after some Sunday services held in the cold and dark- we are using them with new appreciation.
The great challenge in store for the PCC in the next year follows from the retirement of Stanley, and the choice of a new incumbent. We have appointed representatives to work with Rodney Stoke and Cheddar, due to become joined together in the new benefice. This heralds the most far-reaching change for Draycott for many years, and we look forward with a mixture of feelings- trepidation at the unknown changes, excitement at the new possibilities it opens to us in worship, fellowship and study. At the same time, we acknowledge gratefully the huge contribution Stanley has made to the running of the parish - he will be greatly missed by us all.
In the meantime, the PCC must continue to run the parish in Interregnum, and requires your fullest support and understanding to do so.
PCC minutes and APCM reports can be found on the website at:
David Cheetham, Treasurer
This year the church has once again been forced to lay out a considerable sum on the refurbishment of the church building: the cost of the rewiring came to over £8 000. All of this came from our own resources, no grants being available for this work.
Because of very heavy refurbishment commitments in previous years, it has not been possible for us to pay the Parish Share (Diocesan Quota) in full for some time. However, the PCC decided that this year the Parish Share, amounting to nearly £9 000, should be paid in full.
Even if we had not undertaken any major refurbishment work this year, our income would still have been insufficient to cover our costs. I would like to remind the whole congregation how advantageous it would be to the church if we all gave our donations by covenanted standing order instead of by cash in the collection plate.
It is important for us all to realise that if we should receive a windfall during this coming year by selling the Font, that would not mean that our financial problems were over. The cost of carrying out all the necessary work outlined in the quinquennial survey would more than swallow up the extra income. We are holding a number of fund-raising activities during the year; please do your best to support them.
I would like to thank Bernard Wood for helping with the book-keeping and Alan Rowntree for carrying out the examination of the accounts.
David Cheetham, Treasurer
Covenants and Gift Aid 6 828.00
Income Tax recovered 1 766.57
Collections at services 1 729.70
Gift Days and sundry donations 2 546.17
Investment income 5.46
Charitable and ancillary trading 1 121.20
Restricted income 385.00
Total 14 382.10
Diocesan quota 8 954.00
Clergy expenses 907.27
Upkeep of church 2 905.95
Upkeep of services 144.94
Major works 8 299.03
Salaries and support costs 362.00
Fund raising and church admin 133.29
Restricted payments 460.00
Total 23 170.37
Payments 23 170.37
Receipts 14 382.10
Excess of Payments over Receipts 8 788.27
Less internal transfers* - 7 203.88*
Add cheques from adjacent years** + 353.25**
From Refurb. to Gen., 30/07/07 8 000.00 (towards the rewiring)
From Flower to Gen., 25/01/07 + 5.70 (flower account closed)
From Gen. to Refurb., 22/01/07 - 698.50 (proceeds of B Rose concert)
From Gen. to Refurb., 24/09/07 - 103.32 (share of tax refund)
Cheques from adjacent years**
Drawn in 2006, not debited until 2007 563.40
Ditto + 71.62
Drawn in 2007, not debited until 2008 - 281.77
Balances of Account at Lloyds Bank
01/01/2007 4 678.62
31/12/2007 2 740.98
Decrease of balance during the year 1 937.64***
Covenants and Gift Aid 280.00
Income Tax recovered 103.32
Gift Days and sundry donations 650.44
Grants and legacies 1500.00
Fund raising 965.93
Total 3 499.69
Receipts 3 499.69
Add transfer from Gen. Fund (Rose concert, 2006) 698.50
Less transfer to Gen Fund (Rewiring) 8 000.00
Excess of payments over receipts 3 801.81***
Balances of Account at Lloyds Bank
01/01/2007 5 717.21
31/12/2007 1 915.40
Decrease of balance during the year 3 801.81***
Balance of Account at Lloyds Bank, 01/01/2007 5.70
Transfer to General Fund 5.70
Account closed 0.00
Balance of Account, 01/01/2007 79.16
Balance of Account, 31/12/2007 79.16
(Note: interest is paid into the current account)
Balance of Account, 01?01/2007 194.61
Interest added 10.72
Balance of Account, 31/12/2007 205.33
Collections at Sealey Close 85.54
Collections at The Laurels 54.53
Coffee money 59.65
This report on the financial statements of the PCC for the year ended 31 December 2007, 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
21 April 2008
Richard Dingley, Church Warden
There have been no major new concerns over the fabric of the church in the past year. We have completed the rewiring of the church under an emergency Faculty granted when the wiring was found to be unsafe. This has been completed apart from the required Certificate from the contractor that the work meets the safety standards.
We have also had problems with the heating system but, after the programmer has been replaced twice it does now seem to be reasonably reliable. The programmer is quite hard to programme and it is important that only those who have been shown what to do alter the settings.
The annual inspections of the fire extinguishers and lightening conductor were satisfactory.
The Font remains a concern. The Victorian Society objected to the Chancellor’s decision that we could proceed with the sale of the font but their appeal was out of time and refused. We are therefore awaiting the outcome of the grace period in which a museum or other suitable institution can bid for the font. Your new PCC will have to take this matter forward in a few months time.
Within the church yard, technically outside our responsibility and maintained by the Council, the footpath between the two gates to the road and the school has been resurfaced and the damage caused by subsidence near the west wall of the church also repaired.
As usual this has been a busy year for fundraising at St Peters. We are very aware of how much money is needed to keep this building open as a place of worship and as a focus for the community life of the village. Ideally we should always be in the position of having one project in the planning stage and another ‘on the go’.
Also, in order to reach as wide a market as possible, our events must be varied and, hopefully, imaginative. We must mix the tried and tested with the new and exciting. People love the idea of the centuries –old events still taking place, the traditions they can reminisce about.” I remember coming to the harvest supper as a child”…”when I was a kid we…”. Unfortunately they love to know that these events are still taking place but are not so keen on buying tickets and encouraging others to come along. This is why we keep trying new things.
The P.C.C. is very keen on having the church used as a community space and so we have tried to hold our events in the church. This also means we don’t have to pay hall rental so we increase the amounts raised from events.
In 2007 we held several fundraisers in the church.
The Harvest Supper raised a total of £273.10. This is a traditional event but our next fundraiser broke the mould somewhat.
We had ‘the Lost Sheep’ performing at a rock-n-roll evening! It would have been wonderful to have had a larger audience but those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the event and we raised £316.00 for the church. Maybe next time we won’t organise an event to clash with Bonfire Night.
As usual St Peter’s was involved with the Christmas Fair held by the First School. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share this day with the school as it gives a boost to our fundraising efforts and is also a chance to engage with the wider community. The income from this was £386.50. Part of this came from the sale of cards which were handmade by Pat Mullay
Another chance to use the church for a community event came at Michaelmas when Thea organised a soup-lunch. This was very profitable and raised £240 and I would like to thank the ladies who made some very tasty soups for the occasion. That’s definitely one to repeat!
It is not often that we have a wedding at St Peters so there was great excitement when we were asked to arrange the flowers for a wedding in June. The wedding party bought the flowers and a donation was given to the church for the ‘flower ladies’ work. Not only did the church look and smell wonderful but the work party was fun for all involved.
On a beautiful evening in December members of the parish and of the Mendip Players gathered for an evening of carol singing round the village. This added £145.82 to our coffers.
A Parish Awayday was held in June and added another £77.40.
The work continues in 2008, we have already held a Celtic Evening and have plans for a jumble sale when the weather is warmer.
I would like to thank all those who contributed in any way to any of these events and would appeal to you all to come along and also bring your friends and neighbours.
Sylvia Dingley, Deanery Synod representative
The Burnham meeting drew our attention to the youth in the area. Tony Cook, the Diocesan Advisor on Children's Work both in community and church, was our main speaker. He encouraged us to get congregations interested in voluntary work with children and is himself willing to spend time in our parishes if asked. Good work is being done at Kings of Wessex by the Youth Worker who is also willing to advise parishes. Fear of litigation is having an adverse effect on recruiting adult leadership. If anyone if really keen to be involved in this very important work, do not be afraid, advice and help are available through him - Tony Cook.
The Bishop of Taunton, Peter Maurice, was our speaker, he reported on Changing Lives and its progress in our Diocese; he contrasted it to Christian witness as he saw it on a recent visit to Zambia. There most parishioners live on less than a dollar a day and churches were huts or outdoor gatherings. In implementing the aims of Changing Lives we should be considering the opportunities offered to contact our neighbours, as well as the congregation, at the times of Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals. Look at ourselves, as to how a stranger sees us as Christians. Do we make them welcome enough when they do come to church? Should we change some of our routines? Changes do not please everyone but trying them for a few months may make newcomers more at home and us old-timers realize that it was a good idea to change. A church in Bath Deanery has started a service for children after school at 4 pm., which is very successful.
The agenda for this meeting - a very full meeting - was the Local Ministry Groups. Our Rural Dean, the Revd. Martin Lee, reviewed the progress made since the formation of these groups three years ago. Our Deanery has three groups, The Levels, The Coastal and The Mendips. The Synod divided into local groups to discuss progress and any difficulties that have arisen over the three years. We then gathered together again and reported our findings. The Levels and Coastal Groups had suffered from communication problems, probably because they had not formed a committee to arrange events. The Mendips appeared as the most successful group probably because they had met and organised a committee from the start. Twelve events have taken place in our group over the past two year period.
The clergy in the group now meet regularly each month over a meal to support each other and help our inter-church relations. For us at St. Peter's our group, Mendip, is working well. At this meeting we were also informed about the progress of the work of Jo Slade, the Youth Worker at Kings of Wessex. She works there 16 hours a week and is greatly appreciated by the School. The Deanery and the School would be delighted if the churches in the Kings of Wessex catchment area could provide some funding to extend her working hours. Tim Hind gave us a very interesting report on the General Synod - he is the Diocesan representative on that body.
The next meeting will be for the newly elected Synod members and be held on Wednesday June 25th at Wells Cathedral for a Prayer Pilgrimage at 7 p.m. led by Dr. John Gould. This will be followed by a light supper at the White Hart Hotel at the cost of £6-50. The evening is limited to fifty people; our newly elected members will have an interesting start to their term of office.
The Worship group has met less often this year as was suggested in last year’s report.
The pattern of Worship at St Peter’s has continued throughout the year with a less formal all-age (family) communion service on the 1st Sunday of the month, with Holy Communion on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th Sundays, with a joint Benefice service on the 5th Sunday in the month alternating between St Peter’s & St Leonard’s Churches.
We followed the plan laid out in last year’s Worship group report, and every ‘special’ service was very well planned and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The highlight of the summer was the Petertide weekend when we started with a picnic and compline on the Friday evening then the Church was decorated as a fishing boat and ‘packed to the gunnels!’ for the Sunday morning service with invited guests as well as regular members of the congregations of our Churches. Everyone was given the opportunity to renew vows that had been made in the past, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, and Ordination. This was also the 21st anniversary of Stanley’s ordination and we celebrated in Style! Later in the year Rev Anthony Cardale presided at our communion service to celebrate his 50th Anniversary since ordination.
We have also worshiped at different venues during this year, apart from the regular communion services that are held at Sealey Close and The Laurel’s, during our enforced absence from the Church due to electrical and gas problems necessitating urgent work, we met and worshipped in the School Hall. During this sojourn attendance did not go down, and most people seemed to enjoy the variation, but we were very glad to return to our own building as soon as the essential work was completed.
In September we held a joint Worship group meeting at St Leonard’s Church Hall: attended by members of both congregations. This was a very fruitful evening, with plenty of ideas and thoughts shared. We discussed the need for more joint services in the future and the style, content & timing of these services. A very good point about the length and content of Baptism services (especially for families who do not often attend Church) was brought up and a decision was made that, whenever possible, Baptisms would be held during a less formal non-Eucharistic service that lasts for less than an hour.
The School Harvest Festival on Friday afternoon was ‘fruitful’ and the Harvest supper, with a Bible quiz theme, was held in the beautifully decorated Church, our gifts were again taken to The Sisters in St Paul’s.
We joined with St Leonard’s choir to sing a Christmas Services in both Churches.
The company of preachers continue to take turns at addressing the congregation and the response from speakers and listeners alike continues to be positive. In February we moved into interregnum and we are enjoying a variety of visiting clergy!
During the interregnum, we will continue to meet and worship together and pray that the ‘right’ person will be found to lead us, together with our brothers and sisters from St Leonard’s as we become a united benefice with St Andrew’s in Cheddar.
The preaching team, imaginatively instituted by Stanley Price, has continued to function, providing church attenders with a variety of approaches and styles, which seem to have been appreciated. An extended course of sermons during the year was devoted to the Lord’s Prayer.
The exciting development is that Thea Oliver, Nikki Devitt and Chris Green are now all in training as lay readers, which before long, with Richard Dingley, will provide the parish with no less than four lay readers, with Gordon Jeff tailing along as the sole ordained preacher in the team during the interregnum.
The team continues to function during the interregnum, which means that some visiting clergy are not required to preach, an arrangement which may well be an advantage when we eventually have a new incumbent with a heavy commitment of preaching.
Members of the preaching team are taking it in turn to write the ‘Vicar’s Letter’ in the parish magazine during the interregnum, having also during the past year contributed brief autobiographies there for a Rogues’ Gallery.
Victor Skinner, covenant secretary
The level of giving has increased over the past year, although three people have expressed a desire to divert their donations from the General Account, as they feel that a disproportional amount of our income is being paid to the Parish Share.
The placing of envelopes in the Church attracts a worthwhile donation from visitors, as well as from casual worshippers.
The change in the standard rate of tax from 22% to 20% means a significant reduction in our tax rebate. In response to a massive protest from charitable groups, the Government has retained the pre-April levels for a further 3 years - this means that each £1 of gift aided donations will still be worth £1.28 to the Church over this period.
Nikki Devitt, Foundation Governor
Since our last APCM there have been major changes in leadership for both church and school. In July 2007 we said farewell to Vivienne White who retired from the headship of our school after 13 years, and have welcomed in her stead Mrs Cathy Lowe, who started in September. Cathy is very keen to involve the church in worshipping with the children in school. In the autumn term, Stanley Price shared taking the fortnightly school assemblies with Nikki Devitt. Since Stanley’s retirement, Nikki has taken over the regular commitment, though Stanley continues his involvement with special school services such as ‘Mothering Friday’, and worship for holy week and Easter which he did on Maundy Thursday.
We are in the process of preparing our ‘Parish Profile ‘ with a view to eventually appointing our new incumbent. Our school has a prominent part in the profile, but since Stanley’s successor will be in charge of Cheddar as well as Draycott and Rodney stoke, the appointee will be ex officio a governor of Kings of Wessex school, also with pastoral responsibility for Cheddar First and Fairlands schools. Therefore it seems unlikely that the new priest will have the time and resources to be as closely involved as Stanley was in our village school. Whilst there are Foundation school governors from both St Peter’s and St. Leonard’s, who are an important link between church and school, it may fall to the wider church membership to find ways of maintaining our close connection with the school in the years to come.
The Mendip Local Ministry Group comprising the Benefices of Axbridge, Cheddar, Crook Peak and Rodney Stoke with Draycott continues to work well. There are regular weekly meetings of the clergy for prayer and fellowship and a planning group meets quarterly. Events in the past year have been well supported, apart from the cancellation of a planned First Aid Course, and a ‘Bring and Share’ supper.
Highlights of the activities have been:
Colette Jeff, charities group
During the year, the church has contributed to:
Christian Aid, organised by Tricia Heckbert.
Christingle with the School and Children’s Society boxes, organised by Lynda Whittle.
The village has contributed to the Poppy Appeal, organised by Ronnie Moulton.
An African mission, using the promoter and her cooking and entertainment through the Harvest Supper, organised by Thea Oliver and Tricia Lumley.
Some church members also support Lois Dingley in Nepal.
The PCC has not allocated any funds to the committee. In view of the continuing 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.
The Bible study group is a joint venture between St. Peter’s and St. Leonard’s Rodney Stoke. Sessions take place on Thursday evenings at the home of Chris Green and Nikki Devitt, with a break in Lent to allow people to join in the Cheddar Valley Ecumenical Lent groups instead. Membership of the group is not fixed, some participants come every week, others occasionally. Average attendance is 6 people. The group is led by Chris Green, but all are encouraged to contribute if they wish to.
We have found it helpful to work our way steadily through various books of the Bible, rather than take passages from different books each week. This has helped us to build up some background knowledge and develop a feel for the texts. In the past we have read through the synoptic gospels in the appropriate year of the lectionary.
This year we have studied Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, and we are now studying the Gospel of John. Extracts from John’s gospel appear in the lectionary throughout the three year cycle particularly at Easter and Christmas; so we are enjoying the opportunity to struggle with the text and try to elicit John’s meaning, to help us understand better the readings chosen for the great festivals of our faith.
Plans for the rest of this year are to continue our study of John’s gospel. Our next project will be decided democratically within the group.
Meanwhile we are always very happy to welcome new participants, whether on a regular or an occasional basis.
Chris Green, Webmaster
The address of the website of the benefice is: www.rodneystokewithdraycott.org.uk.
The website has been continued as in the previous year, with regular updates for the Newsletter, reports (PCC and APCM), and sermons from the preaching team. The PCC decided that all of the preaching team sermons would be published this year, and so far ten have been put on the website.
We can look at the numbers of visitors the site (although not who they are), and this has shown a slight increase on last year, at about 24 a week. This included a week in November where there were over 100 separate visitors, coinciding with the Font judgment. There was no doubt heightened interest in the information available on our website over this period, and Stanley’s excellent picture of the font (posted on our site) has appeared in more than one newspaper article.
I would like to continue the website, for the following reasons. Firstly, any public body these days requires a ‘presence’ on the world wide web, as this is increasingly a tool of first resort for people finding out about anything in the public domain (and if we are not a public body, what are we?). Secondly, it allows us to present our own point of view on issues that affect us. It is quite possible that it helped us in our campaign to sell the font- we were able to use it to present our case effectively, and most press coverage was favourable to us.
As we look for a new incumbent, the website is also a natural point of reference for interested candidates, so may help us in putting ourselves forward. It is only a pity that St. Andrew’s does not currently have a site of its own.
Please go and have a look around the website, and feed back any comments- positive or critical- that you may have.
Stanley Price, outgoing Priest in Charge
Your hard-working PCC secretary, Chris, asked me if I would provide the Vicar's Report as I had nearly completed the year with you anyway. I decided to cut short my contract as Priest-in-Charge when it was made plain to me that if I remained in post, this benefice would not be entitled to representation on the selection panel for the new priest to be appointed to the enlarged benefice of Cheddar, Rodney Stoke and Draycott. I would like to say at the outset that my five years with you have been very happy and rewarding. I thank you all for your patience, kindness, friendship and support. The various reports I have been getting assure me that you are in very good heart, and this enables me to really enjoy my retirement.
In the past 12 months worship has continued its normal pattern, but the PCC did introduce a revised service for baptisms, designed to be more user-friendly. A form of morning prayer, with baptism was printed and used a couple of times. It certainly seems to be more appropriate for families unused to worship and it is less divisive than a service with Holy Communion. However, it still needs to be shortened.
The preaching team goes from strength to strength, each successive sermon providing much enlightenment and food for thought. I am delighted that Chris, Nikki and Thea have each decided to seek licensing as readers. Nikki and Thea have commenced ‘Exploring Christianity’ and are about to start their third term. Chris has already completed a similar course and is waiting to be invited to a selection panel. I think all three of them are to be warmly congratulated and I know they will receive your wholehearted support and encouragement.
Relationships with the school continue to flourish and the new head teacher Cathy Lowe is a great asset. I enjoyed my few times working with her. She is a committed Christian, very calm, friendly and well organised and has won the hearts of children, parents and staff. I see a bright future for the school and church, under her guidance. Nikki has taken on the task of leading the fortnightly assemblies in church on Wednesday mornings. I know that she is enjoying it and I'm sure the children are benefiting from her leading. I am pleased to be able to preside at the occasional Friday afternoon school services. I would encourage members of the church to attend the Friday afternoons in particular but also the Wednesday mornings. The school would appreciate it and you will enjoy it very much.
The Mendip Local Ministry Group also continues to go from strength to strength and is something of a star in the diocese, being quite advanced in our programme and Fellowship. Clergy and Readers enjoy cordial relationships and I continue to meet with them for the planning meetings. The people of the benefices are beginning to join in with the LMG events as publicity improves. The teaching evenings attract a number of people; the second skittles match at the red Lion was well attended and the Pentecost praise evening was exceptionally well attended by over 100 people, in spite of the dreadful weather. In February this year, a preparation morning for couples planning their marriages in the LMG churches was held in Church House in Cheddar, attended by 22 couples. It was most successful and appreciated by the mainly young people. A major point to be considered by those on the selection panel is the enthusiasm of the chosen person for Local Ministry Groups.
Perhaps the most encouraging event for St Peter's Church during the year, was the permission to sell the font. The Chancellor, Mr Briden, in a thoughtful judgement decreed that the font should be offered for sale in the first instance to museums, which were given six months to offer a suitable price for the font. At the end of that time (May 2008) if no suitable price was forthcoming then the font could go to public auction. To date, nothing has been heard from the museums.
Congratulations are due to everyone at St Peter's for the increased giving, which enabled the PCC to pay the 2007 parish share in full. I think this is a very encouraging sign for the future.
To close, my thanks to everyone associated with St Peter's church for all the efforts made to ensure the life of the church is maintained. As I said earlier, the prospects for the future are bright and I pray that God's blessing will continue to be poured on the church in Draycott.