WORSHIPPING, CARING, SHARING
in the name and love of God
St Laurence, Appleton
is a registered Fairtrade Church
APCM 24th March 2019
Annual Report for the year 2018
The annual report includes contributions from the Rector, Church Wardens, Parish Safeguarding Officer, Deanery Synod Representatives and Bell Captain.
Please read through the reports prior to the APCM at 10.30am on Sunday 24th March. No verbal reports will be given on the day but comments and questions are invited as usual.
Report from the Rector
As I reflect on another year in the parish, I am again grateful to God for the many folk who have continued to give generously of their time and other resources, in order to serve our Church and villages. Nothing in my report or in the rest of this pack would have happened without the intentional and often sacrificial contributions of a wide range of community-minded people – a huge thank you to you all.
According to the Bible, the word “Church” refers not to a building, but to people – that is, those who meet together for Christian worship and mutual encouragement on a Sunday (and less formally at other times), and then head off to play their part in the wider world throughout the week. This might be in the work-place, in sporting or artistic groups, in charitable contexts or in general good-neighbourliness. Since love (love for God, and love for other people) is at the heart of the Christian faith, much of our energy at St Laurence is spent on building relationships and connecting people with each other - whether through the low-key, regular provision of Tea and Chat on Monday afternoons, or through the bigger one-off events, some of which raise considerable sums of money for charity, as well as contributing to our own significant running costs.
As far as specific events go, 2018 began on a chilly February night with the annual Ceilidh in the Barn at South Lawn. As usual, this was very well-attended and lots of fun, with the homelessness charity OXPAT benefitting from the proceeds. The 200th Anniversary of the Appleton Bells swiftly followed at the beginning of March, when many villagers and visitors discovered more about the bells’ rich history and enjoyed trying their hand at ringing. A great afternoon of activities at the Barn, not least a hand-bells performance by children from our Primary School, culminated in a short but much-appreciated Songs of Praise service.
It was a balmy April evening for our annual Parish Drink at the Manor, when we took the opportunity to welcome newcomers to the village, and to say thank you to all who support the Church in any way. Then, in the last week of May, the new Parish of St Laurence Appleton-with-Besselsleigh was officially recognised, with Thanksgiving Services at both churches led by the Bishop of Dorchester. (I also became the Rector of the new parish at this point - though I’m still not entirely sure what that means!)
There was something of a hiatus over the summer, though in mid-August members of The Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust were pleased to attend a presentation about the church and our famous bells. On Saturday 8th September, a few Ride and Stride visitors made their way to St Laurence, and on the following day, we marked the beginning of the new school year with a special All Age Service for Education Sunday. Teachers, governors and families new to Appleton School were invited to join us at church, and for post-service refreshments and activities in the Manor gardens. Our third annual Bridge Afternoon, in aid of the Church and YoCO (a local youth charity), took place on an Indian summer’s day later that week. At the start of October, we celebrated our Harvest Weekend, with Appletonians of all ages coming together for a sell-out Harvest Party on the Friday evening and for Sunday’s Harvest Thanksgiving Service. All proceeds from these events, along with money raised by the school’s Harvest Festival and home-clothes-day, were donated to the charity Send-A-Cow.
Working more closely with the school has been a positive feature of the past year, and Remembrance 100 in November offered another good opportunity for collaboration: each pupil from the school painted a large pebble (red or black) to form a beautiful poppy, which was laid outside the church for the duration of the weekend. On Remembrance Sunday itself, over 200 people - including members of the armed forces and local uniformed organizations - attended the service at St Laurence and the act of remembrance at the war memorial, where ten Appleton villagers laid special poppy garlands to represent each of the decades that have passed since the 1918 Armistice. The subsequent performance by the Community Choir in the village hall was much appreciated, as were the refreshments and children’s activities. A short, additional Service of Remembrance, specifically for the children at our school, was held in church on Monday 12th November.
Thanks to widespread and invaluable support, the Christmas Bazaar at the end of November was a resounding success and opened our season of activities for Advent and Christmas. This year’s Appleton’s Handmade Christmas was a wreath-making event, at which a packed village hall enjoyed wine, canapés and a short talk about the first Christmas. The Family Christmas Concert in mid-December again drew great support, raising more funds for the OXPAT charity.
Inclement weather meant that our Carols Under The Stars were actually sung indoors, but there was a wonderful community “feel” to the event, at which more than 30 children made beautiful lanterns and consumed vast numbers of mince pies. Mulled wine and fruit juice were also on offer. Back at St Laurence, the stars on the Tree of Remembrance shone brightly, with all monies raised going to Emmaus, another charity working with the homeless. Appleton’s Living Advent Calendar again stimulated creativity across the village, and culminated in the beautiful silhouette of the Nativity scene in the window of the St Laurence floristry-room. Again, heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported or contributed in any way to the activities mentioned above; we hope to maintain a similar programme of events in the coming year, with an extra Open Gardens Afternoon pencilled in for the beginning of June.
Turning now to the more “in-house” aspects of Church-life, the past year has been one of consolidation rather than major change. We have maintained the regular pattern of Sunday services to suit the various tastes and traditions of the Church-family, with Book of Common Prayer communion on the first Sunday of the month; Evensong services on the first and third Sundays; and Common Worship communion services at 10 a.m. on most Sundays - the exceptions being when there is an All Age Service (once every four or five weeks). Refreshments are served every Sunday after the 10 a.m. service, offering the opportunity for congregation-members and visitors to share their lives and to strengthen relationships with one another - a key element of life as a true Church-family. Sunday Club, our provision for 4 to 10 year-olds at 10 a.m., is now two years-old; and I am very grateful to the teams of willing parents and others who faithfully staff this ministry on a rota-basis. The congregations at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. have continued to welcome the ministries of younger (!) visiting preachers, mostly from St Ebbe’s in Oxford; and our placement student from Wycliffe Hall, Will Harwood, was widely appreciated (and also benefitted greatly) during his five-week stint in the parish in late summer.
Most Wednesday mornings find me leading a Collective Worship / Assembly in the school. Please be praying that, as I (and others) share Bible-stories and spiritual truths with the children each week, they would gain a solid grounding in the Christian faith, and come to know more deeply that they are loved without limit by their Creator. On the subject of prayer, I am grateful to those who meet with me at 9.15 a.m. on Thursdays for a short Service of Morning Prayer. I am always encouraged by the time spent with this group, as we pray for each other, the Church, the local community and the wider world. For those who are at work or otherwise unavailable on a Thursday morning, we have an Evening Prayer Meeting (in the Rectory or at someone else’s home) on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.
The four St Laurence Home Groups (one morning, three evening) are now well-established as hubs for bible-study, prayer and mutual support; they are open to all regular congregation-members seeking to deepen their life of faith and Christian discipleship. For those who feel less confident in their faith, or who wish to go over the basics, the Christianity Explored course offers a gentle and effective introduction to the Bible’s take on some of life’s big questions. A new CE course is planned for mid-March, so please do let me know if you (or a friend) might be interested in joining in.
One of the aims in setting up the Home Groups in 2017 was to lighten the load on the Pastoral Team, who continue to serve the wider community and extended Church-family with commitment and compassion. The team offer listening visits to those in our villages with a specific need (e.g. recent bereavement) and to those in need of other emotional or practical support. The team members meet together on a regular basis to co-ordinate home-visits, and to ensure that our practice follows Diocesan guidelines with respect to safeguarding and accountability etc. The Pastoral Team have also been the driving force behind the Women’s Breakfasts, the format and pattern of which have been reviewed and re-vamped recently – do keep an eye on The Advertiser and Church Notice boards for dates.
Again, I am hugely grateful to everyone involved in leading and organising any of the above ministries and to the many other people not mentioned so far – our organists, sides-persons, sacristans etc. My thanks also to the flower-arrangers, cleaners and handy-men, whose services to the Church provide us with a beautiful, safe and functional building in which to meet. I thank God, too, for those of you who give money towards the upkeep of the church building and our payment of the parish share. Generous financial giving is a vital aspect of every Church’s life (and often a key indicator of deepening discipleship), and we are excited to be introducing the new Parish Giving Scheme at the A.P.C.M. -another good reason to plan to attend! On a very personal note, I again want to say Thank You to the generous donors who have responded to the Ministry Fund appeal, which enables me to devote myself to ministry here full-time.
Finally, I thank the Lord for the provision, abilities and commitment of all our P.C.C. members, not least Duncan Montgomery, who is stepping down from his role as P.C.C. Treasurer. I am especially grateful to our two Church Wardens, who work tirelessly behind the scenes; and to Carol Dodimead and Alison Jeffreys who, on top of other significant administrative tasks, plotted a way through the details and legalities of G.D.P.R. last spring. (Please consult our website www.stlaurenceappleton.org * where all relevant policies are available to view.)
As for the future, please keep praying for us as a Church body in the months ahead: that we would remain united in Jesus Christ, and be true to the Worshipping, Caring, Sharing aspirations of the St Laurence strap-line. Thank you all, again, for your partnership in the gospel. May God bless you all richly, as you have blessed the Church.
*The website also provides details of our other policies; a calendar of events; information about forthcoming services; contact details; and also a gallery of photographs. The Communications Team hope that the website, along with the Appleton Advertiser and the half-termly School Flier (distributed through pupils’ book bags), enables as many people as possible in the village – and beyond – to feel connected with our life as a Church-family.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting - Sunday 24th March 2019
10 am Short All Age Service followed by APCM
1. Annual Vestry Meeting
•Apologies for absence
•Election of Church Wardens
2. Annual Parochial Church Meeting
•Approval of Minutes of APCM held on 18th March 2018
•Presentation of Electoral Roll
•Financial Statements for 2018
•Appointment of independent examiner
•Future Plans and Thanks
•Responses to written reports:
Church wardens report
Parish Safeguarding report
Deanery Synod report
•Election of PCC members
•Election of Deanery Synod Representatives
•Election of Sidespersons
St. Laurence, Appleton Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Sunday 18th March 2018
In attendance: Revd Ken Campbell (Chair), Carol Dodimead, Roger Mitty, Stuart Gibson, Duncan Montgomery, Ellie Montgomery, Barbara Payne, Peter Day, Mary White, Chris Cairns, John Cairns, Jennie Revell, Alison Jeffreys, Patty Tuckwell, Mary Blake, Claire Barratt, Lesley Lowe, Lucinda Lewis-Crosby, Margaret Howard, Brian Howard, Diana Lawrence, Fiona Davis, Maria Davis, Vivian White, Ann Ford, Annewen Rowe, Judi Gowing, Trish Wagstaff, Jane Cranston, Christine Harris, Tian Davidson, Betty Griffiths, Victoria Marcham (33 attendees).
Apologies: Pauline Smith, Richard Dick, Felicity Dick, Joanne Challis, Sylvia Harrison, Stephen Barratt, Stephen Day, Pam Feast.
Annual Vestry Meeting
Election of Church Wardens
Thanks are recorded to Roger Mitty and Brian Howard for all their work as Church Wardens over the past year. Roger has agreed to continue and Stuart Gibson has agreed to stand. Nomination forms were received.
Proposer for Roger Mitty was Peter Day and Brian Howard seconded.
Victoria Marcham proposer for Stuart Gibson and Carol Dodimead seconded.
No other nominations received and all present were in favour.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Minutes from APCM - 12th March 2017
There were no comments / amendments. These were proposed by Brian Howard and seconded by Chris Cairns, all in favour. Ken Campbell signed.
There were no matters arising.
Presentation of Electoral Roll
Alison Jeffreys presented the electoral roll which now stands at 105.
Financial Statements for 2017
Duncan Montgomery has been treasurer since August 2017, took over from Peter Day.
Huge amount to be grateful for, the annual expenditure was covered through giving.
There were no specific questions on the accounts. All those present were happy with the figures presented.
The financial statements were proposed by Tian Davidson and seconded by Claire Barratt. They were signed by Ken Campbell and Carol Dodimead.
Thanks were recorded for Duncan and Peter.
Appointment of Independent Examiner
The accounts have been audited by Mary Carey. We acknowledge our thanks for examining the last set of accounts. Mary has been asked to be continue and awaiting her confirmation. All were in favour of Mary continuing subject to her agreement.
Future Plans and Thanks
Ken told us of his overwhelming sense of what God is doing in the village. He has undertaken his first two Baptisms. Baptism preparation includes the Christianity Explored course.
Ken described how he feels things are warming up spiritually, as people are showing an interest in spiritual things, “Aslan is on the move”. Ken thanks God for his work in you and us.
He reported feedback received by some bell ringers from Somerset who attended the recent bell ringers’ weekend, “there was something special in our church. God is at work”.
Sunday club has been running for a year, this provision will continue and be refined.
Home groups have been running since September, people have reported- great joy in discussing the bible and what it means to follow Jesus.
Priorities for the year ahead:
Main aspiration is to engage fully and better, mainly with the school- parents and children, families with younger children. This isn’t going to happen quickly, currently not set up with provision for under fours. Until we are it is difficult to really encourage newly Baptised infants to come every week.
Each PCC subgroup has been tasked with reviewing their terms of reference with that aspiration in mind. However, there is a need to be careful in not over reaching ourselves.
Children and Youth sub group have decided to run a two-day football camp (for boys and girls) at the end of August, finishing with a Sunday 10 am service with a football focus. Also considering running a one-day event for families or children.
Ken gave thanks to everyone who helps on Sunday and also those who help on other days of the week in different capacities.
Responses to written reports
Ken’s report included the reports from the Pastoral and children and youth sub groups.
Chris Cairns commented on how helpful it was to receive the half term flier produced by us and distributed by school.
Chris raised a question about homegroups and how people who weren’t involved in one could become involved; to ensure we were inclusive and there was a place for everyone. It was felt there was a need to communicate about homegroups in a different way and to understand who should do Christianity Explored.
Ken clarified that homegroups are for people who say they want to follow Jesus. Christianity Explored courses are for people who: aren’t sure but show an interest; no-one is expected to say anything, it is light touch. Anyone can invite/ encourage a friend or neighbour to come to church to find out more or to join a Christianity Explored group.
When talking about homegroups on a Sunday it was suggested that Ken should make explicit that if anyone was interested in finding out about a homegroup they should talk to him.
People interested in Christianity Explored courses could be directed to the St Laurence website or talk to Ken.
Claire Barratt asked about future plans for the 10 plus age group. Currently we don’t have any, Ken felt we would be over reaching ourselves to expand what we are currently offering. The football camp would be aimed at primary aged children. It was acknowledged the importance of providing for the 10 plus age range so they didn’t ‘drop off the radar’. Claire mentioned that we might find the resources available from the diocese helpful.
Mary White congratulated Roger and Viv for organizing a great celebration for the 200th anniversary of the bells. Thanks to Richard and Felicity for opening up the barn.
Ken thanked everyone for the work that had gone into producing the reports.
No other comments were made from the floor.
Election of PCC members
Pam Feast, Tammy Day and Fiona Davies are standing down from the PCC at this time
Six people had been nominated to stand
Victoria Marcham (previously co-opted onto PCC), Duncan Montgomery (previously co-opted onto PCC), Carol Dodimead, Tian Davidson, Jane Cranston, Stephen Day.
Ken suggested that the six be elected ‘en masse’. All present were in favour of this and all six were elected.
Election of Deanery Synod Representatives
Current representatives are Alison Jeffreys and Lucinda Lewis Crosby. Both are happy to continue for the time being. Although Alison would like to step down. We are eligible to have three representatives. It is important that we utilize all of our votes on Deanery matters. We are entitled to three lay votes and one clergy vote. It is not an onerous role and it is interesting. No nominations from the floor.
Action: Agreed to try and find another Deanery Synod Representative.
Election of Sidespersons
Currently we have seven sidespersons, no-one is stepping down. Brian Howard, Patty Tuckwell and Peter Day agreed to be sidespersons. All present were in favour of this.
Ken reported that Alison Jeffreys and Carol Dodimead were working on policies and procedures to ensure we were compliant with regards to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Ken raised the need for some help with book keeping, this will be advertised in the Appleton Advertiser. Additional help with admin is requested, mainly for larger services: formatting service sheets and printing. Anyone who could help, please talk to Ken.
The Charity Policy is being reviewed by Finance and Risk Sub group, the policy will provide a process for suggesting charities that we would like to support and transparency in the decision making process.
The formal relationship with MAI and Embo ended in October 2017. We had committed to a three-year partnership, this was extended for a further two years. The PCC voted to end the partnership and will think about what to support in the future.
Claire informed us that Pastor Leonard was visiting the UK in April. She was organizing two local events during his visit: a concert on 7th April at Kennington Village Hall and an ‘At home’ evening on 11th April. Please contact Claire for more information / confirm attendance.
Roger wanted to record a vote of thanks to Ken. The progress that has been made is amazing, and he is conscious of all the hours that Ken and Sallie contribute. It is our ambition to release Ken from the admin load, which holds Ken back. We also need to be mindful that we need to do what we are currently doing, properly before embarking on new initiatives.
Ken thanked people for attending and he was available after the meeting if anyone wanted to discuss the points raised.
Meeting closed at 11