Annual Reports 2016

2015 Annual Report, Priest-in-charge of Stonehouse, St. Cyr

Where did 2015 go?  I'm more inclined to ask that question than to enthuse about the exciting things that we've done together.  The years go by and it is difficult immediately to see much progress.  Yet if we approach the passing of the years with our faith in God, we can be sure that He is working, in His way, in His time, for His kingdom, in us, through us, among us, around us - and way beyond us too.

So, where was God in 2015?  That sounds like a strange question; I am certainly not trying to say that He's been missing.  Let's put it more respectably, “what signs of the coming of the kingdom of God have we been able to see in the past year.

Asked like that, I regain my enthusiasm!  Look at the Visitors'  Book in Church and you will wonder what God has been doing with all those people who have taken advantage of our recent practice of leaving the Church open during the day.  Yes, there have been one or two little thefts, but how many lives have been changed?  Our church building is beginning to rediscover its witness to almighty God!  That's Good News!

Then think about how many Christians there are worshipping in Stonehouse.  Easy to say, “not enough!”  It would be wonderful to report that our numbers have grown but they haven't.  But we have been discovering afresh that we are only part of “the Church” in this place, and we have, gradually and gently, been working together to express our allegiance not to our particular way of doing things, but to Christ.  So many of us came together in house groups in Lent 2015, and it has been good to see that kind of meeting happening again in 2016.  We have shared our worship with the Methodist Church, experiencing what they do well and sharing our tradition, not in a contrived “ecumenical” style but just saying to one another, “this is where and how we encounter God.”  That's Good News!

We have continued with our other relationships with our fellow-Christians in this place.  The Good Friday procession along the High Street may not have an obvious impact on many people outside the Churches, but it has been an act of faithful witness for many years, one, not that we can be proud of, but that God can and does use to His glory.  Our coming together for a summer celebration is another example, but perhaps the most significant part of what we do is to pray for one another, and to rejoice with one another.  At St. Cyr's we may well be sad (to use the biblical phrase which many of us have studied recently, we may well “mourn”) at the fact that we have not had a dramatic impact on the young families of our parish.  Let's learn to rejoice, not to be jealous, of the success that the Baptist and the Bethel Churches have had in this area in recent years.  Let's rejoice to the full in the work we've been able to share with the PSALMS ministers among young people who have had so little contact with us.  Let's rejoice in the work of the Open the Book Team that has long been the exEmplar of different Christians working together to share Good News.  That's Good News!

Talking of prayer inevitably brings me to more Good News! No, I'm not going to report that God has suddenly moved St. Cyr's into the town because of our faith (though that would be easier than throwing  the biblical mountain into the sea.)  I am going to report a growth in prayer by many people, individually and in groups.  I believe the key to this is (as once again we have been studying in this year's Lent Groups) has been learning to be “poor in spirit”.  All of us have always paid lip service to the notion that we depend on God; most of us have gone on to make plans about doing things ourselves.  I believe that we are beginning to learn the lesson that the growth of the Kingdom of God in this place isn't down to how good our plans are for re-ordering the Church, or for evangelism to young parents, or for service to the community, but to our submission to the way and the will of Almighty God in Christ.  This applies to groups such as the Parochial Church Council, the Local Ministry Team, the Prayer group, the House Groups, and to the various groups that meet to plan and organise the likes of Experience Easter, concerts by local groups, or this year's summer celebration weekend.  As the whole congregation learns that lesson to look to God for his blessing, not to the world, we find that blessing coming to us in full measure.  That's Good News!

I am very glad to be able to talk mostly about what we do, not what I do.  What I am charged to encourage is not a willingness to do what I say, but a preparedness to be the people of God, taught by Him.  I play my particular part in dealing with the needs of individuals – for baptisms, weddings, funerals, for confidential pastoral discussions.  But God's kingdom comes in his whole people.  Remember that as you see that parishes around Stonehouse are managing without a vicar.  There is no need to panic at the thought of “pastoral re-organisation” or at the arrival in the area of a new priest with responsibility for a much bigger area to include Stonehouse and the thought that he or she might do things differently (and that you may see less of me!)  The same people are still the people of God – YOU!  That's Good News!

So as we look to 2016 with all the changes in Church structures that we can expect, let's rejoice at having so much to contribute to the successful working of the Church of England in the 15 churches that stretch from Arlingham to Selsley and from Frampton and Frocester to Haresfield.  Thank you to all of you who play such a great part in St. Cyr's, those of you who simply turn up to share your worship with others, those who do the jobs like serving coffee or cleaning the Church; those who are able to contribute more technical skill to keeping the Church building in good order, to the Readers who lead worship, to all who read the bible, pray the prayers, welcome the people to our worship, to the members of the PCC and the LMT for their leadership in many areas.  Thank you for all you have done, are doing, and will do for St. Cyr's.  Rejoice that that enormous talent  will be able to find expression in giving to other Churches, other Christians and that we will be able to receive so much from them.  Yes, even when it come to the tedious and boring work of pastoral reorganisation, I can say:-


Charles Minchin




Churchwardens Report for 2015


Church Fabric

We have ongoing roofing and stonework problems that we are currently in the process of resolving as well as plastering and painting the church interior as it is looking a wee bit tired.

Although we had approval for the old pipe organ to be removed, this did not happen during 2015 but it looks like it will be happening 2016. A team from Italy will dismantle, transport, rebuild and refurbish the organ.


Many thanks once again to John Roberts for his sterling work in keeping the grass under control in the churchyards, during what turned out to be a very long growing season. John will be with us again this year and we wish him and his family well.


Sidmouth 2015

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


Thank You’s

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 sidespeople, 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 agenda’s 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 have not been firing on all cylinders during the last two years.

So taking all that into account, I have spoken to Charles and I will not be standing for Churchwarden this year, thank you all once again.




Deanery Synod Report 2016

The Deanery Synod has, as usual, met three times during the year.

I was unable to attend the June meeting in Stroud. The main items at that meeting were the Deanery Mission Action Plan and consultation on the 2016 Parish Share.

In October we met at Cainscross. The main session was a presentation on the new Diocesan Development Fund and how Parishes could access money from the fund for projects. This was followed by information from Parishes on initiatives they were working on linked to the Mission Action Plan.

The meeting in February was at Frampton-on-Severn. The Revd. Helen Bailey and the Revd. Mike Smith talked about Spiritual Nurturing and Development – how we can work with those inside our churches and without. This was followed by discussions in small groups, of ideas how this could be done.

Inevitably, at all the meetings reference has been made to the plans for changes in the Parishes in the west of the Deanery.

Audrey Ricks



Stewardship Report 2016 (for 2015)

Numbers:         Parish Giving Scheme:               12                 10 Gift Aid

                        Standing Orders:                          3                 all Gift Aid

                        Envelopes:                                  18                 10 Gift Aid

                        Additional St. Cyr, Gift Aid:       4

                        Visitors, Gift Aid                       24


Tax reclaimed: Parish Giving Scheme:            £2,357.00

                                    Direct giving:                          not yet claimed


Thank you for your continuing support.

Sadly during this year, we have lost a number of generous givers.

With Love,



 Flower Report

Again, huge thanks to everyone who has spent long lonely hours arranging flowers in the church to make it look so lovely.

Thanks especially to all who give up precious time before Christmas and Easter to decorate the church.

St Cyr’s people are so generous in donating money to the flower fund. Thank you.

For the first time we are going to have a workshop evening at the end of April, with a demonstration and the chance to have a try at something new. Anyone is welcome. there will be drinks and nibbles afterwards. Why not come along? 

God Bless,




Open the Book Report.

I'm proud to share that our team is in the 11th year of storytelling at the Park Junior School. That means that approximately 1750 children have heard God's stories over the years!

We now have 10 people in the team, from nearly all the churches in Stonehouse which is brilliant as the children see us having fun together.

The children still appear to enjoy us adults larking about!

Over the years people have joined and left the team, as they have felt called, but they all remember to pray for us. Please do pray that the children will be receptive to God's word, now and in the future.

God Bless,




Electoral Roll Report

Removed members:                10

Current membership:               56


Colin Matthews


Financial Report for 2015

Balances  at 31.12.15


At 31.12.14

At 31.12.15

Deposit account



(£10,000 withdrawn for building work in Jan 2015)

CAF deposit  account



CAF current account



Total cash






Shares value




  1. At the end of the year we had £164,433 in our current and deposit accounts and the value of our shares was £20,816
  1. Planned and unplanned giving was down approx. £4,000 on 2014 – the figure of £15,927 for unplanned giving contains £10,000 that was a transfer of funds between the deposit and current account, so unplanned giving was actually £5,927.
  1. We received two legacies totalling £80,000 during the year. £30,000 of this is restricted for use in church refurbishment
  1. £16,600 0f the Share paid in 2015 was late payment for 2014. We paid £14,400 Share for 2015
  1. The amount for sundries also contains the £10,000 that was transferred between accounts, so sundries were actually £496. Most of this (£450) was the cost of the coach to Sidmouth, which has been collected from participants on the trip.
  1. Our income over expenditure, discounting the legacies came to £1,947. However, our contribution for PSALMS for 2015 of £3,300, didn’t clear till 2106. So, in reality, our income over expenditure was minus £1,353.


Retiring Collections 2015

The figures below are the amounts donated and banked in 2015:











Bible Society


Churches Together in Stonehouse




DEC Nepal Earthquake


Christian Aid


Leprosy Mission


Church army


Training for ministry


Mission to Seafarers


M.U. Overseas






Church Urban Fund


The Society of St Francis


ST Luke’s


Royal British Legion






Children’s Society







Val Winder

Honorary Treasurer


PCC Secretary’s Report to APCM March 2016

The PCC met for 9 ordinary meetings and one extraordinary meeting  from March 2015 to January 2016. 

18 people are on the committee.   2 of these moved away after the first 2 meetings leaving a committee of

16 people.       These two are not included in my analysis.

4 members attended all meetings. 2 attended 9 meetings. 2 attended 8 meetings. 1 attended 7 meetings.

4 attended 6 meetings. 2 attended 5 meetings and 1 attended 3 meetings.

Once again a good attendance.


The following statements are in no particular order.


Church Publicity

From the Issues and Hopes on our agenda it was agreed that there would be a publicity push for Easter 2016 and a ‘Church Celebration’ day in June around the time of our Patronal.

Colin Wood and Mike Wright are looking into the possibility of an electronic display in the church which will inform visitors of activities.


New Architect

The new Architect appointed by the PCC is David Newton.



This has been difficult this year as we have no representative.  As a consequence there are a number of people in need of an update.  It is hope that this will be resolved soon.


Open Church

The church continues to be open most days and, except for a small amount of theft, has been much appreciated.

The Stonehouse History Group put on a display in church of interesting historical material relating to Stonehouse. We had many visitors from the local area and the event was a great success and thanks must be given to them, and to Colin Wood for this.


Fund Raising

The concert by the Thameshead Singers in March went well but the concert in June by the Beacon Choir to which some of our church members belong, was poorly attended. 

Fairtrade continues to raise funds through the catalogue. 

The tea and coffee served after services is Fairtrade.


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. It was agreed that in 2016 there would also be a street collection.

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 continues to suffer with a very intermittent water supply. The PCC resolved to have a new, independent water connection to the church.


New Bishop of Gloucester

The PCC has invited the Bishop to come to our church at her convenience.

A reply acknowledging this has been received but no date has been forthcoming.


Church Reordering

The PCC has been enthusiastically looking at the possibilities of reordering the church. Colin Matthews made a plan of the building and all had a say in what they would like to see in the future. This is now in the hands of the Architect and it is hoped that a ‘proposal’ will be on view at the Church Celebration Day.


Old Church Organ

The removal of the organ has been on the agenda all year. There was some excitement that someone from Italy would be coming to remove it but for various reasons this has not progressed. It is still in place!

Issues and Hopes

Barry and Jean produced a statement for the PCC to work to. This has proved valuable and many things are progressing as a result.

Many thanks to them both.


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! 

This year we have invited members of the congregation (and anyone else!) to clean inside the church at the same time.  This has had mixed response.

The PCC is very grateful to our regular ‘hooverers’ for their sterling work throughout the year. 

Also to those who do other little jobs throughout the year which you may or may not have noticed!


Changes to Ministry

A meeting to discuss the best way forward with meetings was held in January. This was to, hopefully, make the ministry of the church more effective.  There was lively discussion and a trial change will take place for the coming year.


West of Stroud Deanery Review

An extraordinary meeting was held to discuss this matter.

Due to many factors, this area of the Diocese needed to be reviewed.

It is suggested that there is a Team Ministry with a Team Rector, a Vicar (or 2) and a Pioneer Minister.

The PCC discussed all the suggestions from the Deanery and have sent a letter to the Archdeacon with points they would like considered.

As yet there has been no reply.

With Love



Food Bank - Kids’ Stuff - Furniture Bank

Improving Lives in the Stroud District

Good News         ~   and some not so Good News

The Good News is that life in all parts of this work is as busy as ever.  The drop-ins where people collect food for immediate need – the visits to families in need of bedding – clothes – stair gates etc. – and delivery of basic furniture is all needed and appreciated.

Some facts –in Stonehouse in 2015 we gave food for 565 people (351 Adults, 214 children).  This is in line with last year. In addition a total, 422 hampers were given out, containing a bag of 'basics' and a bag of 'specials' (Christmas pud etc.), around 15kg together, coming to a whopping 6.5 tonnes of food in total. Many thanks to everyone for their varied donations over the year that have made this possible. The Hampers are now packed at Brimscombe with Volunteers doing extra duties. Our thanks also go to those from Ecotricity who helped out with packing the hampers; it was much appreciated!

Change has been a large part of the year:-

A move to a larger and more suitable Warehouse in Brimscombe happened early Summer so that all parts of the work are in one space and easily accessible from other parts.  This was rounded off by a Sunday Teatime Barbie.

An Operations Manager, Sue Beattie, has started work with the aim of being able to expand the work without dropping the present high standard of care and knowledge of work.

Since February we have, in Stonehouse and Stroud, a member of CAP (Christians Against Poverty) being present and able to advise clients on money management and debt issues and offering follow-up advice help to pursue that advice. This has been very valuable.  These issues are not part of regular FoodBank work – nor do we have the training.

Furniture Bank continues to collect items for the refugee families that are due to come into the District. We have 3 confirmed households with more on the way. At the moment there is a real appeal to landlords. All the refugees are being housed in private dwellings and we can only house as many as we have offers from landlords. If you, or someone you know, might be willing to rent out a house please get in contact.
In the meantime, we had our busiest month on record in January and moved over 100 items across the District. Some items were provided for low income families but others were sold in order to raise funds to pay for our warehouse and other costs. We have just started doing this in partnership with Stag Auctions ( who have been selling surplus items for us at no cost. We are really grateful for the support and would suggest you all check out their website or pop in to see the awesome work they do.

Kids’ Stuff  The seven days of Christmas have come & gone with the people of Stroud District generously donating their quality pre-loved items to us at KS. We were overwhelmed with donations, literally. It became tricky if not quite dangerous in the KS area. We simply could not keep up with all the sorting, checking and cleaning required.

Thank you so much for your continued support. There has been no less  requests by professionals for items for vulnerable families locally.

We are still in need of your gifts – at the moment Children’s toiletries and Nappies – are greatly needed.


Then the ‘Not so Good News’


– that this work is needed.


THANK YOU for your support

– whether taking food to the Warehouse

– collecting from the Warehouse

– working at the drop-ins

– and with Prayer,



Stonehouse Mothers’ Union Report for APCM

March 2016

Our MU membership now consists of 20 members of which 5 are members of the indoor members prayer circle.  Non- members are always warmly welcomed to our meetings. We meet every 3rd 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 John Morse. The Committee meet about every 6-8 weeks.

Meetings 2015:-
February – Our AGM and a Christingle beetle drive! Much fun (and cheating) was had trying to put together the elements of a Christingle from the throw of a dice. Many thanks to Anne Minchin for the idea and for organising us!

March - Paul Summersby came to talk to us about the role of the street pastor and how they began in Stroud. One of our members, John Morse, was training to be a street pastor at the time.

April – Annee Barwell came to talk to us about the MU Teddy Bear project and how successful it had been. The teddies, knitted by MU members and friends, are given to children attending hospital. They are always well received and often make a difficult time slightly more bearable – no pun intended!

May – Hymns We Love.  Another much loved session organised by Jean Riggs using material prepared by her late husband, Revd. Sid Riggs.

June – Ruth Creighton came to talk to us about the Glory Road Ministry, a charity supporting truckers and long distance lorry drivers. She highlighted how lonely and isolated truckers often were and how the charity supported them.

July - We had an outing to the little café at Saul Junction.  It was a fine, albeit windy, afternoon and we enjoyed a lovely selection of cakes whilst watching the narrow boats moving along the canal.

September – For our meeting we used the MU Wave of Prayer service to highlight the changes to the list of dioceses that are now linked to Gloucester diocese in prayer.

October - Our speaker this month was Will Mansell who came to talk to us about Foodbank and Kidstuff.  As ever, Will’s enthusiasm and compassion, made the talk interesting and entertaining.

November - An enjoyable evening listening to Audrey Ricks talking about the origins of children’s nursery rhymes. Audrey is an inveterate storyteller and was very entertaining!

December - Christmas celebrations!  Our entertainment began with a short sketch and some appropriate prayers and readings. We played pass the parcel, organised by Glenis Abbot, which was good fun and we all got a chocolate!  As usual we enjoyed singing a few carols and many thanks to Revd. Charles Minchin for playing the piano for us.

This ended our year of praying together, sharing fellowship together and welcoming visitors to our group.
We are now looking forward to 2016 and to more sharing of prayer, worship and fellowship.

God Bless.




Bell Ringers’ Report 2015/6

The past year has been an up and down year, as is quite normal in some towers.

The Tuesday morning practice, 10:15 until 12:00, is going from strength to strength with visitors from various places.

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

We try to practice on Wednesdays 19:30 until 21:00 (except the 4th ) - phone first and we would welcome any one who would like to have a go on these two days.

Late in the year a ringer came to live in Stonehouse so there is hope for the future.

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

If anyone is interested, please speak to either Steve Allen or myself.