Annual Reports 2015

ST. CYR'S CHURCH, STONEHOUSE

Report to the APCM 17th February 2015 by the priest-in-charge

on the year ended 31st December 2014.

At the start of 2014, I was distracted!  For personal reasons, which continued a lot longer than I had expected.  So, at least for the first half of the year, YOU carried on as usual.  That sets the first theme of this report – I'm not indispensable; the life of the Church depends on all its members, not on one leader.  So thank you! And keep it up!

I could say that my other theme is “ecumenism” - but I probably shouldn't use Greek words that I don't really understand!  Shall we perhaps say “working together” or “looking outside”?  Just as we should not depend on one person within a congregation, so we must never think that ours is the only Church that matters in Stonehouse, let alone the world.

Let me start then by saying thank you to Val and Colin, (and indeed to all the congregation on the last Sunday of 2013) for leading services without a priest.  It raises the question whether it is right to expect our main service to be Communion on virtually every Sunday, and I hope it encourages all of us to look to God for fulfilling worship, not to particular people leading, or particular forms and formats.  Then let me say thank you particularly to Kay for sorting out Lent groups – as I said earlier, YOU carried on.  Thanks too to Val and Barry for keeping the monthly prayer group going, giving all of us an opportunity to pray together.  Thank you to all of you who take particular parts in our regular services – leading prayers or reading scripture at any of our four regular services, welcoming people, serving coffee, to Val and Michelle and others who have been taking the Sunday School, the Choir, organ grinders (No! That's not the right word is it?!) and servers – and to all who initiated 'something different' or responded to requests to take part in that through the year.  To those who work in the background too – the cleaners, the flower-arrangers, above all to all of you whose contribution to the life of the Church is in private prayer, that we will do well what God wants, and stop doing anything else.

Well done, all of you!  And please carry on.

Lent Groups this year are being arranged to span at least some of the different churches in Stonehouse and prepared jointly by Father Bill, Graham (the Methodist Minister) and myself.  We will continue with the occasional sharing of worship with the Methodist Church (10.30 on each fifth Sunday of the month, on Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday) and more widely in the Good Friday Procession of Witness and a midsummer Celebration of Vision with Churches Together at St. Joseph's.  Thank you to my fellow ministers and to the various congregations for all the willingness to share and to work together for God's kingdom that we have seen in 2014 and look forward to in 2015.  I look forward to consolidating and developing that shared work and witness, both with the other denominations in this town and with the wider Church.  One example is the part we have played,  can play and will play, in the work among young people led by PSALMS; we should be aware too of the work that, for example the Baptist Church are leading in their Community Church meeting in the Stonehouse Community Centre and the joint work of Messy Church at the Methodist Church.  At a different level, quite a few of us are looking forward to sharing with Woodchester and Brimscombe parish at a weekend at Lee Abbey.  There are more opportunities for “looking outside” than perhaps we realise.  Thank you to all of you who have spotted some of those and taken part.  May that desire for our Church to live that way, grow this year and in the future.

In all of this the diocese should be seen as a support and a resource rather than a burden.  We need to be aware of being a part of a Church which is so much bigger than St. Cyr's.  One of the ways in which the diocese gets involved in our life is by recognising ministries.  We rejoiced last autumn to welcome Kay Hensley's admission to the Office of Reader.  That was a (long overdue) recognition of how much she has been doing and will go on doing in the life of this congregation.  We look forward to her taking a more public part in our worship, along with our other readers, Colin and Val as it becomes more and more apparent that I am not the only one in this parish who is a “minister.”

What is true for Kay in her new appointment is, of course, also true of our Local Ministry Team.  All of them have been very involved, particularly in our worship during the past year.  As a team, though, we have been very aware that ministry is not only within the congregation but also to the whole parish.  And we are looking at what we can do together in reaching out more effectively to those in our parish who sometimes look in our direction but very rarely come through the doors.  That may mean they are less conspicuous at church because none of us can do everything.   We need always to be aware of that balance of ministry between LMT, PCC, Churchwardens, Readers, myself as “priest-in-charge” (never forgetting that my office relates to responsibility for the parish, not authority over it!) and the whole congregation.  What I want to say now to all of you is thank you for your ministry – whether that is in leading Evensong, making a faculty application, counting the money, locking up the Church, or washing up.

Lastly, one simple question should govern what we do and what we think of what we have done – last year, this year, and next year.  Was it directed towards God's kingdom and founded on prayer?  I hope we can say yes to that question about all that our Church has done in 2014.  May our record in that respect get even better in 2015!

Charles

 

Churchwardens’ Report

Church Fabric

The roofing and stonework problems that were reported in 2013 have now been resolved and all works are now completed.

Although we had approval for the old pipe organ to be removed this did not happen during 2014 but it looks like it will be happening in March this year. It will no longer be going to Poland but is now destined for Italy. A team from Italy will dismantle, transport, rebuild and refurbish the organ. Once the work has been completed it will be installed in Sotto il Monte Giovanni XX111, Colombera.

As all of you can now see, the work to the outbuilding roof has now been completed and I hope you will agree it is weathering well and looks good. This should now deter any future thefts.

 

Churchyard

Many thanks once again to James Mathews (and family) for mowing the grass during the early part of the year. James decided part way through the year that it was time to move on and asked us to find another contractor to complete the year. We did this and cutting throughout the growing season. For 2015 we are currently seeking tender applications. 

 

Sidmouth 2014

This again proved a very popular outing as it did in previous years.

 

Thank Yous

A big thank you to all of the helpers at St Cyr’s, we could not run this church without you. Many thanks to the sides people, readers, intercessors, chalice bearers, organ players, flower arrangers, refreshment teams, choristers, servers, sweepers, cleaners, magazine delivers, Sunday School teachers, linen washers, washer-up helpers and to the volunteers who all come together to keep our Graveyard compound clear. If I have forgotten any one, I apologise in advance and ask for your forgiveness.

I’ve singled out a few for particular thanks: John for his help and support as fellow churchwarden; Charles for continued spiritual guidance; the Colin’s (Wood and Mathews) for their support and ideas(no matter what we throw at the them, they always come up trumps). Thank you to the PCC members and officers for all your hard work over the year.

Finally a huge thank you to Richard for always being there when I need to call on him for advice, organising the duty rota, as well as this year organising all the agendas for the PCC meetings as well printing the monthly magazine and pew sheets, all ably assisted and supported by Kay, thank you to you both.

A Final Finally: a big thank you to everyone at St Cyr’s for your understanding, love and prayers for Carolyn and myself this year. I was not been firing on all cylinders last year, hopefully I will be in better form this year.

Love

Steve Allen

  

Electoral Roll Report

Additional members:              2

Removed members:                8

Current membership:               66

Colin Matthews

 

Financial Report

At the end of the year we had:

Cash

 

 

Deposit account

73,898

63,898 at 19/1/15

CAF deposit  account

 1,007

 

CAF current account

 8,326

 

Total cash

83,231

73,231 at 19/1/15

 

 

 

Shares value

20,536

 

 

  1. At the end of the year, we had not yet paid all the SHARE we had pledged for 2104. When this is paid, we will have spent £45,700 more for 2104 than we received.

  2. £33,000 was spent on major essential work to the roof, stonework and church yard store.

  3. We transferred £31,000 from out deposit account (church hall account) to pay for this.

  4. We have reduced our pledge for the SHARE we will pay from £36,600 (2014) to £14,400 for 2015.

  5. We aim to break even in 2015.

  6. Regular giving, gift aid and collections raised £28,177

  7. Extra donations this year were a legacy of £1,000, post funeral donations of £750 and £250 and a £150 donation from Emma’s wedding as well as extra donations from regular givers.

  8. Specific fundraising events raised the following:

    Sale of Christmas cards   £168

    Capella Concert                £394

    Coffee morning                 £41

  9. We continued to support PSALMS with donations of £3300 and gave £2,008 (plus £115 in direct cheques to the mission) in retiring collections, boxes and carol singing collections. £974 of this went to the Children’s Society.

     

Val Winder

Honorary Treasurer

 

(Please see centre fold for more detail)
Stewardship Report

Parish Giving Scheme:  14.     Giving: £ 12,953

Standing Orders:  3.                Giving: £   1,004

Envelopes:  21.                        Giving: £   4,030

Gift Aid (tax recovered on above):     £ 3,914

Very many thanks for your support over the year.

Love

Richard Hensley

 

 

Deanery Synod Report

The Deanery Synod has met three times during the year. The June Meeting was addressed by Stephen Lake, the Dean of Gloucester and there was also discussion of the Street Pastors initiative. In October Bishop Martyn was the Guest Speaker and the Deanery Action Plan was discussed. At the February meeting the Deanery Mission Action Plan was again under discussion and there was information about the new Parish Share Model.

Sadly because of various reasons I was unable to attend any of these meetings.

Audrey Ricks

 

Stewardship Report

Parish Giving Scheme:  14.     Giving: £ 12,953

Standing Orders:  3.                Giving: £   1,004

Envelopes:  21.                        Giving: £   4,030

 

Gift Aid (tax recovered):        £ 3,914

 

Very many thanks for your support over the year.

Love

Richard Hensley

 

LMT Report 2014/5

The team (Michelle Baxter, Emma Dunn, Olga Gibbons, Kay Hensley, Anne and Charles Minchin, Audrey Ricks and Jean Riggs) have continued to meet regularly throughout the year. Much time has been spent devising and organising services for festivals and special events. These services are designed not just to give new insights to these occasions, but also to encourage and enable participation by a wider group of the congregation. The Team is, however, aware that, important though that role is, they should be trying to widen their role in the Church’s ministry and have spent time in recent months discussing and praying about how they could support Charles more in his work and how the Team can do more in the wider community of the Parish. We are aware that some members already do this under different guises. We are all busy people and finding more time to pray together as a group is not always easy. We felt this was important and managed to arrange a Quiet Day away at the Marist Centre at Nympsfield. This was led by the Revd Malcolm King of Stroud and everyone felt the day had helped each of us as individuals and the Team as a whole.

Please continue to hold the Team in your prayers.

Audrey Ricks

 

PCC Secretary’s Report to APCM February 2015

The PCC met eight times from April 2014 to January 2015.

Seventeen people are on the committee. 

3 members attended all meetings; 4 attended 7 meetings; 2 attended 6 meetings; 4 attended 5 meetings; 2 attended 4 meetings. 1 attended 3 meetings and 1 attended 0 meetings. Once again a good attendance.

The following statements are in no particular order:

 

Church Publicity

A quote had been received from Zeta Printing and a group worked on the production of a general leaflet.

This is now complete and will be available to anyone visiting the church and in various places around the town.

New Architect

On the retirement of our previous Architect, the PCC proceeded to investigate a new one.  Two people have been interviewed by the PCC and a decision is imminent as to which to use.

 

Open Church

The opening of the church more often has been high on the agenda this year.  The Insurance allows for the church to be open during daylight hours and since Christmas a rota of volunteers to open and close the church for a week has been arranged.  A visitor’s book has been provided and from the comments in this book it can be seen that open church is much appreciated.

 

Fund Raising

The concert by the Cappella Singers in conjunction with the Canal Trust was a great success.   This March we plan a concert by the Thameshead Singers and in June by the Beacon Choir to which some of our church members belong.  Fairtrade has suffered a little due to family commitments for Ceri, but Olga has picked this up and we continue to raise funds through the catalogue.  The tea and coffee served after services is Fairtrade.

 

Prayer Group

The Prayer Group continues to meet on the third Monday of the month.  During cold weather this is at a different venue each time.  During the Summer they meet in church. Please keep your eye on the church notice board.

 

Christian Aid Week Food Bank and Samaritan’s Purse (Shoe Boxes)

Barry, Jean and June keep the PCC up to date on these charities.  Barry organises collectors every May and is always on the lookout for more.  Jean and June keep the congregation informed on FoodBank activities and the church continues to support this.  June encourages us to provide shoe boxes at Christmas.

 

Water Supply

The church has suffered with a very intermittent water supply for many years.  The PCC are investigating the situation which will hopefully result in a good flow.   Ongoing.

 

New Bishop of Gloucester

The PCC responded to a request for two ‘priorities’ that we would like in a new Bishop of Gloucester.

The response sent was

  • Every effort should be made, including the possibility of delay, to allow for scrutiny of Legislation for Women Bishops.
  • Important that the next Bishop of Gloucester listens to the Parishes.

 

Bishop’s Visit

+ Bishop Martyn of Tewkesbury visited us on Sunday 19th October and Confirmed seven people and baptised one baby. A most enjoyable occasion.

 

Church Development Group

The removal of the organ has been delayed due to the people in Poland not responding to messages.  It has been decided that they are no longer interested.  However there has recently been interest from people in Italy and the PCC is hopeful that this will result in removal very soon.

Repairs to the roof and the stonework have been carried out at great expense but at least we are now dry!

 

Churchyard Rubbish and Church Cleaning

An on-going project. Two working parties have, once again, been organised to keep the churchyard tidy.

The lure of a substantial ‘brunch’ continues to bring great joy!  As the Autumn ‘clearance’ coincided with the Bishop’s visit people were also asked if they would help to deep clean the inside of the church.  They did a great job and we hope to continue with a combined inside and outside clean twice a year!  The PCC is very grateful to our regular ‘hooverers’ for their sterling work throughout the year.  Also to some very talented people who have worked hard to repair/replace the needle worked panels in the main altar.  These are only revealed a couple of times a year so look out for them.

 

With Love,

Kay Hensley

 

 


Sunday School

Sunday school has struggled this year due to only having one regular leader at the moment, but thankfully there are always a few ladies willing to take over for a week or two. Since November, Val has decided to become a leader too, so she has been getting used to the children and their ways and how we do the lessons each week. She will now do a few sessions a month, which is a great help and reduces the pressure on the other leader.

We still have the regular four children each week, with it occasionally expanding to nine children, and during a particular baptism nearly twenty, where we took over the tea room as well, to fit everyone in. In the summer we had our annual outing to the Museum in the park and a picnic by the lake, with games and lots of tree climbing! Great fun by all. The children really enjoying making things to be used in a service. This year they have made candle holders and decorations for the extremely large Christmas tree. 

Love

Michelle Baxter

 

 

PSALMS Report

Stonehouse:

Since my arrival in post in Stonehouse, I have experienced a lot of adaptation and desire to move forward with the work that Odele had started. I wanted to re-launch the Drop In so that we could bring a structure to the club to ensure strong relationships with the Young People were being made. Since the re-launch we have had a fresh intake of new young people mostly aged yr7-yr9. This has been positive as we can now walk with these young people right through until they are eighteen and beyond.

I also wanted to move the club along the discipleship grid, so we have started to have a ten minute discussion about God.  This is still in its early days but I feel we are making good ground work with the young people beginning to get the structure and wanting to engage with the discussion. This has now enabled us to be really upfront about the club being a Christian club and allowed us to have conversations with the young people and the team about running a bible study which is currently having a proposal written.  We are aiming to start this after the February half term.

Schools work has improved already from last term, in Maidenhead school we are about to start mentoring with six members of the team recently completing training. On top of mentoring I have started coaching the yr9 boy’s football team and we are currently in conversation about running a homework club at the school. We have identified this to be valuable to the young people as numerous times we have had kids bringing their homework to club and asking for help. This will also serve a purpose of engaging the local churches in providing volunteers to help with this club. The amount of ex-teachers or even people who have worked in a specific field such as engineering or business in the churches is plenty. So we are praying they will come forward and volunteer for our homework club. Wycliffe school is opening doors for us to work in the school with Jon running community squash the twice a week. Steph is also partnering with the school by helping to run their after school drama club. They have also shown strong interest in us working with the jazz band to create a chapel band for the chapel once a month. I will be teaching these young people about worship and helping them play together in a chapel environment. I have also been invited to talk on 'does God matters?' in the schools chapel early February.

I am extremely encouraged by what God is doing in Stonehouse. We have very good relationships with all organisations throughout the town and that is all due to the favour of God.

I feel we have maintained good relationships with the churches and have fantastic team of volunteers. I believe we are moving in the right direction in continuing to build the kingdom of God in Stonehouse.

Andy Poole

Strategic Sports Youth Minister, PSALMS

 

Stonehouse Mothers’ Union Report

Our MU membership now consists of twenty members of which five are indoor members. During 2014 sadly we lost Nell Holder. Mary Walker has not renewed her membership and Sue Wheeler, a long-time supporter of our MU branch, has moved to Cornwall.  We always warmly welcome non- members to our meeting. We meet every third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm in the lounge at Hazelwood Sheltered Housing and we pay a small fee for the use of their lounge and kitchen. Olga Gibbons is our branch leader and treasurer; committee members are Glenis Abbott (secretary), Audrey Ricks, Kay Hensley and Anne Minchin. The Committee regularly meet about every 6-8 weeks.

 

Meetings 2014:


January - Our AGM followed by a quiz and nibbles.
February - A special and interesting evening listening to June Dolphin share with us her travels with Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse.
March - Make A Mother's Day - fundraising event where we welcomed quite a few visitors. We shared prayers, reflections and photos of our mothers; we had a 'bring and buy' stall, raffle prizes donated by the flower shop and our local greengrocer; also a lovely Easter Egg from one of our members. Anne Minchin had prepared flowers for us to make and write a memory on. These were then displayed in church. Our event raised £140.00 for MU projects.
April - Our membership were invited to share the Maundy Thursday Service with the Methodist church.
May - Fun quiz evening.
June - unfortunately our meeting was cancelled due to lots of apologies.
July - We met in our church; as always we started our meeting with prayers, And then shared a cream tea with a lovely strawberry cake and a delicious cheesecake. Some of us shared our recent holiday experiences. Our fellowship ended with compline led by Kay.
September - To celebrate harvest our members, under the guidance of Anne, created an ocean scene to be displayed in church to celebrate the harvest of the sea.
October – Unfortunately, our speaker Will Mansell (Foodbank) had to cancel due to being unwell. However Kay and Olga organised us in preparing cut out pictures depicting family, to decorate the MU Christmas tree in St Lawrence's Church, Stroud during Advent.
November - An enjoyable evening making advent table decorations. This was led by Anne. Everyone went home with a lovely decoration with an Advent candle.
December - Christmas celebrations - entertainment –a sketch by the committee; the theme being the true meaning of Christmas! Game - pass the parcel, which was good fun; we all got a chocolate! We enjoyed singing a few carols and solo performances as we sang ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.

This ended our year of praying together, fellowship together and welcoming visitors to our group.
We are now looking forward to 2015 and to more sharing of prayer, worship and fellowship.

God Bless.

Glenis Abbott

Secretary.

 

 

Bell Ringers’ Report

The past year has been an up and down year as is quite normal in some towers. Unfortunately, early in the year one ringer was seriously ill, but the good news is that she has made a recovery and has since returned .

We continue to ring for weddings and occasionally on a Sunday.

Since March we have been holding a Tuesday morning ringing session 10.00 until 11.30

We continue to practice on Wednesdays 19.30 until 21.00 (except the 4th)

and would welcome any one who would like to have a go on these two days.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has helped to keep the practices going.

 

Robin Screen


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