THE PARISH OF

AMERSHAM WITH COLESHILL

 

Annual Report

2017

 

Come to the Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday 23rd April 2017 at 11.30am in St Mary’s Church

 

To discuss the past year and elect Churchwardens and PCC members

 

 

                                                                                                                     SCROLL DOWN 

 

 

 

RECTOR’S REPORT TO THE PARISH AGM 2017

 

Our ministry team is now one of the strongest in the area, three clergy and three Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) no less, and 2 out of 3 home grown. In June, we were joined by Rev Sue Gill as assistant curate, and after four years of study Charles Howlett was commissioned as a new LLM in November. Rev Tim Barnard completed his curacy training, and in March Bishop Alan visited to license him as our Hon Associate Rector. Steve Poulson completed his time as our youth leader, and the General Director of the Church Mission Society visited us later in March to commission him as a CMS Mission Partner to work with Street Kids Direct in Honduras. We wish him well. Kathryn Ridout took over his role and has made a very promising start, working especially hard in both our schools.

 

Statisticians have noticed a trend in larger churches that while no less committed the ‘regulars’ have become less regular in the past few years, attending once or twice a month rather than most Sundays. Life is busy these days. However, overall numbers have held up well and we have had a pleasing number of newcomers decide to stay.

 

St Mary’s School was inspected by Ofsted in July, remaining in their judgement top end Good. In November, the school was subject to the five yearly SIAMS inspection by the Diocese. It felt exceptionally severe somehow, but the school was judged Outstanding. Some particularly gratifying comments were made on the leadership and management of the governing body and the involvement of clergy and youth team. Coleshill School continues to flourish and very popular with parents and children from a wide area. However, very significant cuts are due this year in school funding of between 3 and 13%. How we cope with these remain to be seen.

 

In the absence of our Area Dean through illness, I have been acting in her stead for most of the past year. This involves making regular inspections of the 16 or so parishes in our deanery to make sure things are going well, supporting clergy and wardens, chairing deanery synod and representing the deanery at Diocesan synod. In all this I am ably assisted by Dorothy Potter, our own parish administrator, who is also hon deanery secretary. We welcomed the new (ish) Bishop of Oxford for a day’s visit to Amersham Deanery back in January, and he was astonished by its size and the wealth of activity he found here.

 

My role with the Diocesan Board of Education has developed too. We are fast becoming in effect one of the largest education authorities in the country, with 285 schools on roll across the three counties of Oxford diocese. I chair the Development Committee, divvying out £7,000,000 of government money for repairs, upgrades and new projects. As an accredited schools inspector, I carry out a full scale SIAMS inspection at least once a term in far flung parts of the diocese. This will increase next term.

 

I must thank our wardens, parish administrator, ringers, MDs, choirs, treasurers, sacristans, flower teams, sides persons, PCC and committee members, Sunday school and youth leaders, pastoral visitors, head teachers and school governors, and so many others for their sterling efforts on our behalf. We are very grateful to them all.

 

Tim Harper

 

 

Parochial Church Council

PCC Report 2016-7

 

The PCC meets six times each year and there are currently (XX) members of the Committee whose names appear at the end of this report. Average attendance this year has been (13?). The two Church Committees have met less regularly so as to reduce the duplication of agendas. At each meeting the Churchwardens of both churches present their reports; regular reports are also received from JAM, Youth Work, our two schools and the Almshouses. Louise Baneke kindly keeps us updated with news from the Deanery Synod. The minutes of all PCC meetings can be read in the files on the table at the West End of St Mary’s Church.

 

Main matters discussed during the year 2016-7:

1)      Considerable time during each meeting is devoted, necessarily, to finance. We are extremely lucky that our Treasurer manages our finances with great prudence and delivers his reports with such humour. Good progress is being made towards meeting our financial goals and it is good to note that we continue to meet our Parish Share in full. This year, various gifts and bequests have helped to ensure that our boilers work and that music continues to be played for which the PCC is very grateful.

2)      Discussion of our Mission and Youth Work in the Parish continues to play a central part in our discussions. Kathryn Ridout has now been in post for 6 months and has made great strides in working with our schools and young people in both parishes. We are also pleased to be able to support Steve Poulson as our Mission Partner and are grateful for the strong links that he and others help to forge with Street Kids Direct. So many of our community were involved in Radio Christmas during December 2016 and it is great to see St Mary’s playing a major role in supporting this charity.

3)      The Area Dean carried out inspections at both Churches over the summer period. Both reports were excellent and there were useful ideas especially for All Saints to help them reach out more to the Coleshill Community. The regular Pet Service, Christian Aid Lunches and drop ins have all been very successful in Coleshill in bringing more of the community into contact with the Church. During The Area Dean’s prolonged and continuing absence through serious illness, the Rector has been stepping up as Acting Area Dean  and carrying out the many additional duties with deanery and diocese.'

 

4)      The upkeep of our wonderful buildings also continues to be another main feature of our meetings. Quinquennial inspections at both churches were carried out; whilst there are matters to be attended to, none are in the dreaded “grade 1 – urgent’ heading. At the time of writing, a subcommittee of the PCC are looking at strategies for the upkeep of our boilers and our lighting at stonework at St Mary’s, whilst at Coleshill the moving of pews and the installation of a new toilet are also being progressed.

5)      Equally importantly we continue to consider the safety of our Clergy team and our young people. Our Parish Safeguarding Policy has been updated and is displayed in both churches; the Clergy are also now equipped with personal safety alarms for their use should the need arise.

 

 

Amersham with Coleshill PCC

Annual Treasurer’s Report

For the year ended 31 December 2016

I am pleased to provide you with our annual accounts and this Executive Summary:

Key challenges for 2016 were to:

  1. Build financial sustainability to future proof the finances of the parish.
  2. Finance the future of the Parish by continuing the strategy of support financing Youth Worker and other mission projects.
  3. Provide finance and strategic guidance to support both Mission and major fabric proposals at St Marys in 2017.

Summary of Financial Performance for the year ended 31 December 2016:

  • Operational surplus of £6,719 for year.
  • Shows sustainable performance as we have now delivered 3 years of operational surplus – £8,440 / 2014, £13,099 / 2015 and £6,719 / 2016
  • Income Resources reduced by £45,755 – largely down to 2015 Voluntary Income being inflated via Chancel Roof Donations.
  • Operational Expenditure reduced by £39,357 for same reason as above and  unrestricted expenditure decreased by £1,483. Shows continued strong focus on cost management.
  • Parish Share of £94,032 was paid in full by deadline.
  • The total funds of the church increased by £37,635 over the period largely due to strong performance in our investment assets. It is important to understand when analysing Parish Finances that there are 3 types of Funds:
    • · Unrestricted Funds – general funds for general objectives of the church – Day to day operational cash flow but does include unrestricted assets of which £89,000 is the Curates House – increased by £10,834 to £259,748 – leaving the PCC with access to £170k to use as it wishes..
    • · Restricted Funds –can only be used for the specific purpose for which they have been given eg Fabric – increased by £10,469 to £221,513
    • · Endowment Funds – represent endowments where capital must be maintained and the dividend income used only for the restricted purposes specified in the establishment of the endowments – increased by £16,332 to £138,877.

Key points of note:

  • Planned Giving Donors continued to reduce – 15% reduction in 2 years.
  • Planned Giving increase due to one-off donation – overall trajectory is concerning.
  • Coleshill made small surplus £2,409 due largely to £13,000 transfer from reserves. Without this would have been >£10k cash deficit
  • Have increased Honorarium in line RSM recommendations.

 

Key Finance actions undertaken to address our key challenges and support delivery of sustainable 2015 financial Performance:

  • Have increased Honorarium in line RSCM recommendations.
  • Successful Listed Places of Worship scheme – specific scheme to allow VAT re-claim on eligible fabric works on a 12 month basis.
  • All Regulatory, Diocesan, HMRC & Charities Commission returns brought up to date.
  • Comprehensive Treasurers Report prepared and discussed at every PCC meeting.
  • All Bank Mandates (CCLA & CAF) revised and updated.
  • Charitable Giving Policy created – evidence of 3 years growth on Charitable Giving.
  • Ongoing committed support to Steve Poulson at CMS to support mission work in Honduras.

In Summary, 2016 has been a challenging year for the parish however I am comfortable that overall strategy is working as we showed an operational surplus: we are managing both our cash, costs and risk effectively.  We took the decision to reduce Coleshill burden on Youth Work expenditure and already we can see that making a difference. As a Parish, we are becoming more reliant on legacies and generous donations given that our reserves are not working as hard given continued low base rate and our Voluntary Income is reducing. I will discuss this further at the AGM.

As stated last year we do have ageing buildings that are expensive to maintain and keep to acceptable standards. Good news is that given investment into fabric previously we have had a positive Quinquennial Report compared to last one. However, in 2017 we do have some very difficult decisions to make with regards to St Mary’s Fabric works. My role is to ensure that we fully identify and mitigate the key financial risks for the parish to help us make an informed decision on way forward by assessing the overall costs involved and prioritise works within the limited budgets available to us. We always have to keep in mind that although it would seem on paper we have considerable reserves we are only 1 major building failure problem away from having to deplete our reserves therefore it is important that we take appropriate action now.

  • Integrated Lighting, Stonework and Redecoration Project
  •   New Boiler at St Mary’s Church
  •   Organ Bellows at St Mary’s Church
  •   WC at All Saints

 

I strongly believe that we are continuing to make progress in a challenging financial period but we do need to address the reduction in our voluntary income, loss of key tenant at the church rooms, recruiting new volunteers to run Church Fete and St Mary’s Fabric expenditure strategy.

 

Last year we challenged ourselves to increase our support to good causes and I was proud of the fact that despite financial pressures in a challenging environment we put in place a Charitable Giving Policy and also commit to supporting Steve Poulson’s important work in Honduras for next 3 years. The church fete plays an important part in this and it is vital in my view that we find winning volunteers to run church fete this year as the Fete committee have done such a fantastic job for a number of years putting it together for the community.

 

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the support from the Church Wardens, PCC Members, the Clergy, Dick Ware, Caroline Hughes Dorothy Potter, Steve Johnson  & Philip Woodhead.

 

I will cover in more detail our Financial performance at our AGM in April.

 

However, should you have any queries concerning the contents of this review or should you have any general questions about the parish finances, please do not hesitate to contact me via mobile 07703 963990 or email at treasurer-pcc@outlook.com.

 

Graeme Coles - PCC Treasurer
April 2016

 

 

 

Planned Giving (St Mary’s) 2016

 

The results for the year were:

 

 

 

2016

 

2015

 

2014

2013

Planned giving

£95,685

£87,204

£80,366

 £  82,853

Gift Aid envelopes

£4,553

£4,459

£6,504

 £    8,132

Tax reclaimed

£24,034

£22,083

£20,799

 £  23,469

Loose cash

£4,562

£5,967

£5,358

 £    5,129

Total

£128,834

£119,713

£113,027

 £119,583

No. of PG donors

175

182

207

209

 

The reduction in the amount of people donating through coloured envelopes continues.

 

I will be looking at re allocating the envelope numbers for 2018, as so many were returned this year.  The envelope numbers are quite spread out at the moment and printing it makes it hard for Church Supplies who have to reset the machine every time, the cost of which is passed on to us.  Therefore reallocation of the numbers is probably the best way forward.

 

The amount of donors has continued to drop again this year and the only reason that the donations themselves have increased is due to a legacy donation.

 

With many more donations through standing order we may need to consider how those who pay by standing order may need to be encouraged to increase their donations in future years.  Once standing orders are set up people tend not to alter them.

 

Caroline Hughes

14 February 2017

 

 

St Mary’s Church

Churchwardens’ Annual Report for 2016

 

Works in the Church

Following completion of the replacement of the sheeting on the Chancel roof at the end of 2015, minor repair work has been carried out satisfactorily to the Nave roof sheeting to cure a small amount of water leakage in the area of the South Porch. Minor repairs have also been carried out to the stone balustrades and flashings surrounding the roof. Debris has been cleared from the rainwater hopper and downpipe from the roof of the Tower, and all other downpipes and drains cleared where necessary.

 

Diocesan approval has now been obtained for the restoration of the brasses positioned in the floor of St Andrew’s Chapel, and these are to be wall mounted in the Drake Chapel. Grant funding is being sought, and an appeal has been made to the congregation.

 

The stone cross on the East end of the Chancel roof has been found to be unsafe and has been removed, and Diocesan approval is being sought for its like-for-like replacement.

 

One of the two heating boiler pumps has failed and quotations have been sought for the necessary repairs, and the alternative of the complete boiler replacement which would reduce gas consumption. The PCC is giving consideration as to how best to proceed in order that work may be carried out before next winter.

 

In order to further progress the proposed integrated project of the lighting, stonework restoration and redecoration, the previous lighting quotations have been updated by potential contractors and tenders received for the other work involved. This has provided a realistic, albeit high, price if all the work is undertaken and carried out at the same time. The PCC is giving further consideration as to how this major work can be funded. Although to the casual observer the Church interior appears to be in good condition, the lighting and associated wiring are rapidly becoming life expired and the stonework is badly damaged in a number of places. Much of the paint work on the walls is damaged and seriously discoloured, particularly in the Nave, and will further deteriorate if not redecorated.

 

All legal inspections of Church facilities have been carried out satisfactorily. The required quinquennial inspection of the interior and exterior of the Church was completed towards the end of last year. No category 1 items requiring urgent attention were identified, and a small number of minor works will be attended to during the current year. Other minor repairs identified in the inspection report will need to be carried out during this quinquennial cycle.

 

By undertaking these works as they are identified the maintenance of our Grade 1 Listed building has been maintained in good repair.

 

It has been possible to obtain VAT refund for all aspects of significant maintenance work carried out on the Church.

 

Works in the Church Rooms

Painting of the interior and various minor works have been carried out to maintain the Church Rooms in a safe and usable condition.

 

A quinquennial inspection is required to be carried out in the current year.

 

Works in the Churchyard

The Churchyard continues to be well maintained by Amersham Town Council

 

Glebe Land

The sale by the Diocese of two parcels of Glebe land to the North of St Mary’s School was completed during the year, part to the school and part to a local farmer. The Glebe land adjacent to Rectory Hill has been leased to the Scouts Association. All sales and the lease incorporate strict covenants prohibiting redevelopment on these lands as requested by the PCC in the consultation.

 

31 Piggotts End

The 3 bedroom property owned by the PCC has been tenanted from May 2016 until the current time.

 

We thank the Clergy and members of the congregation for their support during the year.

 

Ian Arthurton and Peter Whipday

 


 

ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH

WARDENS’ REPORT 2017

 

WORSHIP:

The pattern of services has remained generally as in previous years.

 

Sunday School has continued to develop positively.  This is currently lead by young mothers from the villages, and is being held once a month.  We are very pleased to welcome members of “Little Stars” when they join us before communion to share in what they have learnt that morning.

 

Our house group continues to flourish, and we usually average 12 – very ably led by Audrey Tridgell and Louise Baneka.

 

Proper coffee (and a chat) immediately after Sunday morning service has become a firm institution.

 

SPECIAL SERVICES:

We hold special services to encourage particular groups of people from the village and Winchmore Hill to join us, and especially welcome the children.

 

The children from the village Church of England school and their families join us formally three times a year – for Mothering Sunday, Harvest Festival, and Christingle services.  In addition they visit the church at the end of each term and attend a crib service for small children on Christmas Eve.  Bibles were presented again to school leavers at the end of the Summer term.

 

Baptism follow-up service continued for those children baptized during the previous year, and has become a regular event in the calendar – this year on June 11th.

 

During Passiontide and Easter we hold a special service on Palm Sunday, evening meditation for the Parish on the Tuesday of Holy Week, we join the Christian Passover Meal at St Mary’s before the Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, we hold an Ash Wednesday service, and we have a special service of hymns, prayers, and meditation, with the lighting of candles on Good Friday.  On Easter Day, in addition to our usual Communion Service at 9.00, members of the choir join St Mary’s for the choral evening service.

 

Our pet service turned out to be a great success again.  The weather was less kind as we assembled at the back of the church.  David Robinson took the service and was able to bless all creatures great and small – the animals behaved impeccably !!

 

At the village day we held a very well attended marquee service, and David Robinson gave a wonderful short talk on the topic of twenty years as a royal protection officer.

 

We again had our walk with Communion at the Swerling’s farm, greatly enjoyed by those who attended.

 

MISSION ACTION PLAN:

We have started by holding regular monthly prayer meetings in church.  From a small start, the growing number of attendees is encouraging.

 

We have also initiated several mid-week Communion service at 12.00, aimed at those for whom our normal 09.00 service is a little too early.  The service has been followed by both a simple meal, and coffee and a chat on different occasions.

 

Children from the Magpie Club have been invited to visit the church for a short service once a term – and attendance has been encouraging – with numbers growing steadily.

 

In Pancreatic Cancer week we had a talk in the Church which raised £450 for the Charity.  We plan two further talks this year, and a concert.

 

Themed services have been arranged for the coming year as follows :  Narch 26th – Mothering Sunday : May 14th - Bees : June 11th – Baptism : July 9th – Cricket : August 13th – Run the Race : Sept 10th – Pets : October 2nd – Harvest.

 

PASTORAL CARE AND OUTREACH:

Events and activities are organized to support people within the villages of Coleshill and Winchmore Hill.

 

The Magpie Club continues to go from strength to strength thanks to Tara (nee Hall) who has taken responsibility for the organization.  The Club meets on a Friday morning in the village hall, specifically for carers and toddlers, but an increasing number of villagers have been encouraged to join us for coffee or tea, managed by Jean Dover, and a chat.

 

The Patch system is designed to support those who are ill or need company, and to welcome newcomers to the village.  Regular meetings which are totally confidential try to ensure that all are included.  A newcomers’ party will be  held in the cricket club on May 12th  2017 at 19.00.

 

At Amersham Hospital the Chaplaincy team provides a rota of helpers to visit the hospital each week to establish those patients who would like to receive Communion, and to provide company to any who so require.

 

ACTIVITIES:

 Major General Peter Williams, organized by David Robinson, gave a talk in Church on Russia and the Russians on Feb 17th  2014which  was a total sell-out, and enabled us to send £ 830 to Street Kids Direct.

 

 Kathryn Rideout, our new youth worker, attends school assembly on Wednesdays – and has lunch with the children later that day.

 

Christian Aid week was changed to focus on soup lunches in Church and a sponsored walk – which raised £350.

 

The Harvest Supper was an enjoyable occasion for the entire village.  Though primarily a community activity, with generous support from the village it was able to donate £500 to the Mercy Ships charity.

 

 

FABRIC:

Running repairs were made to the Church.  The Quinquennial survey in December 2016 thankfully raised no major problems.  We now seek to explore possibilities of organizing a working party in Spring to remedy minor requirements arising from the survey.

 

We have applied for a permanent faculty to remove five pews from the west end of the church, to open up the area for social and community activity.

 

PARISHIONERS:

All Saints’ is a beautiful 1861 Victorian rural church, designed by GE Street, which plays an important part in the community life of the village and surrounding parish.

 

The Church Committee met on four occasions during the year.  There are many people with specific roles and talents who keep our church in an attractive and welcoming state by giving generously of their time.

 

We are fortunate that our worship is enhanced by having a fine organ,  a consummate professional organist and choirmaster, Ruth Murphy, and a loyal band of faithful singers.

 

One of the glories of All Saints’ is the colourful and artistic floral decoration organized by Rosemary Valentine, but with the flair and hard work of the team of talented workers.

 

Chris Wege, as well as being the secretary to the Church Committee, devotes a great deal of time and care to the maintenance of the churchyard, including a redesigned flower bed, which is admired by local people and visitors alike.

 

A beehive is planned to be introduced to the Churchyard in the Spring of 2017.

 

Jane Stefanovic has continued her duties as cleaner, and works very hard to keep the building spotless and shining which is appreciated by worshippers and visitors.  Paul Evans ensures that the church is unlocked and locked – and therefore remains open to all during the day.

 

The list is not exhaustive, and we are fortunate to have such a faithful team of sidesmen, readers, chalice bearers, as well as those who prepare the church for, and those who provide coffee after, services.

 

We must also thank those few who provide regular financial support to the church.

 

Finally we must register our huge thanks to our rector, Tim Harper, who despite the small size of our Parish, spends time with us, and in support of the school.  He is wonderfully supported by his team of Tim Barnard, Sue Gill, David Robinson, and Charles Howlett, to give positive guidance and support to the congregation and the church.

 

 

Dumpy Swerling                                                                         Howard Pool

 

  

 

Report for Annual Meeting 2017 – House Groups, Lent and Advent Groups

House Groups

 

St Mary’s. There are 7 in the group which meets every Wednesday fortnight during term time at Tim and Elizabeth Barnard’s.  Over the past year the group has ended its study of Malachi, and has looked at the stories of Elijah and also done the same study as the Advent daytime group. For Lent the group has been using the Church Urban Fund course, "Food for Thought". 

 

In Advent, a separate daytime group looked at an Advent series "When God Comes Down", and a daytime Lent group is using "At the Cross", looking at the Crucifixion through the eyes of different bystanders.  

 

 All Saints

There are eleven in the group meeting every Wednesday morning in term time.

Over the past year we have studied Ephesians "Claiming your Inheritance" followed by one week looking at superstitions with some Christian origins, and a week when our Youth Leader, Kathryn Ridout, shared her testimony.

Then we looked at the Advent study "Making room for Jesus", and Stephen Cottrell's book "The Things He Carried" running up to and during Lent.

A prayerful, supportive group.

 

 

 

St Mary’s CE Primary School Report from the Governors

 

1.0 Introduction

We would like to introduce ourselves, we are the new Co- Chairs Claire Hayes and Jacqui Rouse. We were elected at the June 2016 Full Governing Body meeting. As we are both working mothers we felt the only way we could fulfil the role of Chair successfully would be to share it. James Skinner (LA Governor) is our Vice Chair.

 

1.1 Governing Body Structure

The Parish has strong links with St Mary’s School, with eight of the governing body’s 12 members being appointed by the PCC or the Diocese of Oxford.  The Governors currently are:

 

Ex- officio                                                                               Appointed by the Diocese

Rev Tim Harper                                                                     Magie James

                                                                                                Emma Rourke

                                                            Edward Brown

 

Appointed by the PCC                                                        Staff

Jo Davies                                                                                            Julie Hills

Jacqui Rouse  

Claire Hayes

Edward Staite        

 

Parent Governors                                                                Local Authority Governor

Julie Thomas                                                                          James Skinner

Chris Monnington

 

          

 

1.2 Committees

Our two main Committees that meet a minimum of once a term are-

 

Teaching, Learning, Pupil and Community

Finance, Personnel and Premise

 

In these committees we ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. We hold the Head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and oversee the financial performance of the school making sure its money is well spent.

 

We also use working groups to focus on particular issues and report back to the Governing body; examples of these groups in the past have been Acadamies, Parental Voluntary fund and Data. We currently have a Communications working group, Surveys working group and have been  successful in starting a Governor newsletter and conducting successful surveys and feedback.

 

2.0 Overview of 2016-17

We have had a busy year since the last report. In July 2016 OFSTED inspected the school, we were deemed as good with outstanding features. The Inspector believed we had outstanding status in our grasp for the future. In September 2016 SIAMS awarded the school Outstanding. We were proud of what the school has achieved in both of these inspections and thankful to everybody’s hard work.

 

The key areas recognised in the reports for improvement feature in the 2016-2017 School plan. The Governing body will now monitor these points-

 

  1. To further   develop the school’s approach to Writing in order for children to achieve outstanding progress.
  2. To ensure that the distinctive Christian character of the school is maintained
  3. To continue to monitor the planning and teaching of RE themes
  4. To make the Christian values more visible throughout the school
  5. To ensure that AT2 (learning from religion) is a key focus for RE lessons
  6. To ensure that an effective assessment system is in place, reflecting new expectations.
  7. To ensure that the  pupil premium children make good or better progress
  8. To embed the teaching of British Values across the school and curriculum
  9. To develop a five-year vision for school

 

In addition we have tasked our Head Teacher to continue challenge the staffing structure of the school to ensure it is enables teaching staff to get the best out of the children.  As part of this she is now looking at the senior Leadership structure to ensure that it is resourced correctly and that the school is taking advantage of succession planning and development of its staff to the ultimate benefit of the Children.

 

As well as academic progress and attainment the school offers a wide range of sports, utilising our Sports Premium. The school continues to partake in interschool competitions in various sports, with much success. Daily extra- curricular activities are part of school life and include football, Karate, cross-country, gymnastics, dance, environment club, drawing classes, IT club and Choir.

 

This year the school have started a Nurture group for our SEN children which has been received well by both the children and parents. In addition to this a breakfast club has been set up  for our Premium pupil children. The breakfast club has been well attended and helps to alleviate the issue of lateness among some of our pupilsNew for 2017 the Governors decided to issue a Statement of Intent to Parents/ guardians. We feel this will help parents to identify with the role of the Governors and keep these key issues front of mind. As a Governing body we agreed on the following key areas that we wish to focus on-

 

  1. Academisation                                                          2. Parent Voluntary Fund
  2. Glebe Land                                                                 4. Communications
  3. Community

 

We will then report regularly on our findings and conclusions. The Statement of intent will be issued on a yearly basis.

 

Conclusion

The School and Governors are focused on enabling the children to achieve their very best in a happy and safe environment.

 

 

Claire Hayes & Jacqui Rouse

Co-Chairs of Governors

March 2017

 

 

 

Youth Report January 2016

It is always a time of mixed emotions when saying goodbye to a long-standing team member and taking over from Steve has been no exception. It is good to know that he will continue to be well supported in his mission in Honduras and I pray for him in his new role.

 

The autumn term has largely been a period to get to know the workings of the youth activities and build relationships with all involved. As such, we did not change the structure of any of the clubs or services during that period.


Sunday Morning Youth continued to meet at the Pounce’s for hot chocolate and games but expanded the thought for the day into a deeper teaching. There is a regular group of young people that attend and it is great to see how they engage in this. As this has developed, it has become apparent that they need more space for larger activities related to the teaching (dressing up, more active games) so we have moved into the committee room of the church rooms. This also gives us a little more time together.


SMYLE is the Sunday evening group for those aged 11 and up. I am pleased that a previous leader has returned to help us and the numbers have remained stable. Fun and fellowship is combined with Christian teaching in all sorts of ways. We recently held an unseasonal Hawaiian Beach Party complete with coconut bowling and limbo to illustrate the idea of seasons in people’s lives.


It is great to be able to maintain the relationships with St Leonard’s and King’s churches. The Joint youth worship we hosted was a little different this time as we set up prayer stations for the young people instead of having a speaker and the musicians came from a church in Prestwood. There was a real sense of God’s hand bringing us together as it drew people of various ages and from other churches too. As youth leaders from the three churches, we now meet regularly to pray for the young people in our community. Please let us know of anyone you would like us to pray for.


Another joint activity is a residential trip to the Frontier Centre with the youth from St Leonard’s. During the weekend, we spent time in worship, prayer, talks, fellowship and fun, with a focus on John 14 to 16.


I inherited the informal evening service, RISE, with a mixed group of worshipers of all ages. This, I think, is part of its appeal. During the Autumn term, we have had some lively and inspiring talks and discussions along with modern sung worship. Starting at 8 pm it did make for a late evening so we are now trying an early 4.30 pm slot. This has brought back some who found it too late, especially in the winter. This is also with a view to introducing a monthly all age service using “Explore Together” from Scripture Union.

At All Saints’, we are also planning themed services for families so that everyone can participate. They will be held monthly alongside the established ‘special’ services such as the Pet Service.


Radio Christmas was a great way to meet together with local young people from within our church and beyond. The SMYLE group and RISE both had their own shows.

Boys group is mainly made up of year 9’s who are not Christians or from church families but who are calling out for people to come alongside them and show them love. Trying to contain them within a ‘house group’ was not working well so we moved to the youth centre, a space they are familiar with and which gives them room to let off steam. We sit together for a meal which gives time to reflect and introduce some simple Christian themes.


The pastoral work with individual young people and their families is an area where our support can have a great impact, just by listening, being present and signposting to relevant agencies. I currently work with the children of three families that face extremely difficult circumstances as well as meeting with other individual young people.

The work in schools continues with collective worship at both St Mary’s and Coleshill. I also visit one lunch time per week to get to know the children. At Coleshill, this is instead of running a club as it means I get to spend time with more of the children. At St Mary’s, I have also taken over the running of SPARKS lunchtime club which prepares a time of collective worship based on a selected Christian value. The club was oversubscribed for this term. Another very popular innovation at St Mary’s is “Open the Book”. This involves the children in telling Bible stories led by a team of volunteers from local churches. It is incredibly satisfying to see how the children engage and new volunteers are always welcome!

This January, we have also introduced a half termly newsletter to St Mary’s parents to help them keep up to date with church activities for children and young people. This has brought a new family to JAM and into church.


I am very grateful to all the volunteers who give their time so generously to both me and the young people. I would also like to thank the PCC and congregation for making me so welcome and offering such strong support.

 

 

 

Annual Parish Report 2017:  JAM (Sunday School) 

JAM (Jesus and Me) continues to be the Sunday morning group for children in school years Reception to 4, with an age range from four to nine.  We meet in the Church Rooms during the 10.15 Sunday service during term time, walking over to church in time to attend communion and we show the congregation our craft and learning during the notices.  On certain days such as Harvest Festival and Mothering Sunday we stay in church for an all-age service.

 Our Sunday mornings contain a variety of Bible stories, games, craft and other activities.  We aim for the children to have fun, to feel fully welcomed and involved in church, to learn about Bible stories and the Christian faith and to discover more about their own relationship with Jesus.   This year we have continued to use the Lion Storyteller Bible as the basis of our Bible teaching, as we try to tell the stories in a lively and interactive way.  For example we “walked the story” of the Prodigal Son, spending “all” our money on some sweets and then going over to imagine having to work at (and smell) the nearby farm!

 JAM likes to celebrate special dates and seasons in the church calendar.   For Harvest Festival, JAM children used their craft skills to create a superb display for one of the church windows.  We also had a very well-attended Christmas party.  Those who attended during the run-up to Christmas were presented with Real Advent Calendars and we have just given out some Real Easter Eggs.

Last summer several children from JAM attended Amersham Churches Holiday Club, hosted by Kings Church and some of our adults and teenagers also helped with the running of the week. Holiday Club will run again this August. 

 In terms of numbers, we are seeing fewer children attending than last year, with around 30 children registered but typically only four or five attending any given session.  During the last year we welcomed six new children to JAM and a similar number left, some going on to Sunday Morning Youth.  We continue to have a great team of leaders and helpers (we need a good group in order to be able to run on a rota basis). 

 Finally, huge thanks to the JAM team for the fantastic job that they do! We are currently in need of some new recruits, so if you think that this essential and enjoyable church ministry could be for you, please speak to Helen or one of the clergy.

 

 

 

Bellringing Report 2017

In the last year we have hosted one of the three eliminators for the National 12 Bell Striking Competition.  Eight bands competed for their places in the final; these are from Amersham (combined with St Albans ringers), Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, Oxford, Southwark Cathedral, Towcester, and University of London.  As in 2005, when we last hosted such an event, the Birmingham band were the winning team here and subsequently went on to lift the National Trophy in the June final.  Throughout the day, refreshments were served in the church rooms which resulted in a welcome contribution to the tower and church funds.

The band has grown this year with the addition of three new youngsters who learnt to ring over the summer.  Hopefully they will make rapid progress and start to challenge the more mature members of the band.  Additionally, we are pleased to welcome an existing ringer who has recently moved into the town.

We continue to mark local and National events with longer periods of ringing; these include the Church fete, Remembrance Sunday, the Bishop's visit, and this year there will be some ringing to mark the Archdeacon's visit in June.  This is in addition to the main Church services and weddings.

This year we took part in two striking competitions.  In the branch competition, we were narrowly beaten by the more experienced High Wycombe band, but we triumphed in the Lorna Newton competition, which took place at Lane End in October.  The splendid trophy sits proudly on the bookcase in the ringing room.

I would like to thank all members of the band over the last year for their support and the church for giving us the freedom to ring our bells so regularly.

Iain Anderson   March 2017

Music in the Parish

 

St. Mary’s Choir

 

‘Music in St Mary’s’ is a phrase covering so many aspects – voices, instruments, services, occasions, concerts, events – all meaning different things to different people. It has been a good year. The various services are well supported by choir and organ and the big festivals have often been inspired by special music. We welcome those who come to augment the choir and visiting soloists, but that nucleus choir of regular members who come, week by week, to rehearse and sing are the main stay and I recognise and appreciate greatly their loyalty and unselfish service. Thank you so much. We get our rewards by satisfaction and enjoyment – and our bonus is that we all usually feel better and less tired at the end of a choir practice that at the beginning! Proving that singing is good for you! so if you think of perhaps joining us, do contact me! My thanks as ever to Rector Tim – his voice, support and flexible encouragement; my gratitude to Philip Woodhead for so very much that he does with and for us all, to Ruth Murphy, our co-organist and conductor and Adrian for his organ playing. However, all our many contacts, diary arrangements and much more are in Dorothy’s capable hands – many, many thanks.

 

                                                                                    Olwen Morris, Director of Music

 

All Saints’ Choir

 

I am pleased to report that our morning services are very well supported by the choir and I know this is much appreciated by the congregation.

 

It continues to be the case that it is sometimes a challenge to produce a full Choral Evensong but we usually still manage to do so, with the commitment of our small number of choir members and the support of Tim Harper and Charles Howlett; many thanks to all.

 

Although we usually have a few at All Saints’, most Parish weddings during the year take place at St Mary’s and this is always a good opportunity for members of both choirs to get together to support these special occasions.

 

As always, my thanks to my fellow organists for their help:  Gerard Anderson for playing the organ for morning services once a month; Jeannette Cash, Adrian Simmonds and Philip Woodhead for organ playing during my absence.

Many thanks to Olwen Morris for her ready co-operation on choir matters and thank you too to Dorothy Potter for her always willing and cheerful help.

Special thanks to Tim Harper for his encouragement and practical support in everything to do with our church music.

 

Not least, thank you to all choir members for their continuing support, enthusiasm and optimism. 

 

Ruth Murphy

 

BRASS CLEANING – Despite the drop in numbers of our cleaning rota (at the time of printing – only two!) the brasses still manage to be cleaned, though fortnightly rather than weekly. We are always pleased to welcome new rubbadubbers and if you feel this is something that you could offer then please be in touch with me – Val Royal – on 433198 and I will be happy to talk through what is involved. 

 

 

Sunday Morning Get Together after the 10.15 service

 

We have had an enjoyable and very busy 2016 serving tea, coffee and biscuits to our congregation every Sunday morning. This is an important service that we are rightly proud of, in that so many of the congregation stay behind and partake of our social half-hour.

It is an ideal opportunity to welcome new members to our church family, and for others to make new friends amongst existing church members. As well as being a friendly cuppa and chat, it is also a lively discussion group, from snippets of conversations I have picked up on as I have been serving refreshments. We certainly put the world to rights on Sunday Get Togethers !

Our loyal team of ladies continue, as ever, to serve us well, some of whom have been on the team for many years. We are so grateful to them for their commitment, always with a cheerful smile. We have lost a couple of members this year, but willing replacements have been found, and we are pleased to welcome Elizabeth Barnard, Harriet Lemon, Tricia Phillips and Jan Galloway to our team. However, we can always do with extra help with the washing up every week, if you feel so inclined !  That includes men as well!

A warm welcome is promised to anyone who has not yet joined us on a Sunday morning. Give us a try – you will not be disappointed. We look forward to meeting you soon.

 

Janet Clayfield

March 2017

 

 

First Steps

 

First Steps continues to meet on the first Monday of the month but we start at 10.00a.m. in order to accommodate mums and carers from St Mary's toddler group. The latter also meets on a Monday, which means we can help each other out giving team support and introducing fresh ideas.  We have noted that mums go to both groups which has increased our numbers.

 

 

Firstly, we thank all our volunteers. It is a busy time but we all enjoy our Rector's talk and drama time, which is followed by prayer and songs: so 'Church for little ones.'

 

Our healthy snacks and treats, craft table and array of good toys all help to make the church an oasis at the start of the week. The families become familiar with the Church building and people so that the next step, to baptism or chats about faith, are easy to make. Prayer for our families is paramount, so do join us in prayer for the Monday events.

 

New helpers are needed as with 5  volunteers last month we noticed the whole morning went really well with folk having time to have chats with mums and do extra craft time.

Harriet Lemon is our latest recruit so do speak to her to find out more.

 

Karen Longman a First Steps mum is undertaking early years training and so is using St Mary's toddler group as a part of work experience. This is a great help for Leanne who runs toddlers.

 

We thank God for the blessings he brings to this work and hope as a church you feel part of it and the enrichment we bring to parish families.

 

 

 

Sacristan’s Report

 

The care and devotion of each member of the Sacristy team does much to enhance our worship and we are fortunate that so many are involved: those who wash and iron the Communion linen, prepare candles, change altar frontals and order Sacristy equipment and supplies. David Kirkup is welcomed to the team who has looked after candles and helped in changing altar frontals.

We have purchased new purificators this year.

The votive candle stand continues to be well used and appreciated by visitors and members of the congregation. It is also used again at the Remembrance Sunday Memorial Services.

Candles were again presented to families at Baptisms services, along with bunches of flowers. Flowers were distributed on Mothering Sunday, palm crosses on Palm Sunday and chocolate eggs to the children on Easter Day. All of these are greatly appreciated by the recipients.

I am immensely grateful to all the people who help with the Sacristy duties and special thanks are due to Loraine Hollett and Dorothy Potter for all their help at the 10.15am Family Communion.                                                         Brenda Woodhead , Sacristan

 

 

Bible Reading Fellowship

 

The Bible Reading Fellowship publishes a quarterly

booklet titled ‘New Daylight’. The annual subscription

is £12 for the coming year May 2017-April 2018. The Booklet

contains daily bible readings coupled with a short commentary

of the passage, followed by a reflection or prayer.

There are now only 7 subscribers and anyone interested in

hearing more about the publication or who would wish to

subscribe should contact me.  Gwenda McInnes tel. 433013


St Mary’s Church Flowers

 

The flowers have been arranged by all the ladies in the Flower Group throughout the year for the Sunday services and for funerals, concerts, anniversaries and several weddings.

 

On Mothering Sunday bunches of flowers were again prepared for the children to give to their mothers and other ladies in the church. We have also continued to give a bunch of flowers to the mothers of a child being baptised.

 

The giving of lilies at Easter in remembrance of loved ones is much appreciated and numbers of lilies ordered continues to increase. Many thanks to David Royal for his beautiful artwork decorating the mount for the lily list. Thanks to Philip Woodhead for his hard work creating the list of names. Thanks again to Brenda Woodhead for arranging the Easter garden.

 

Various groups in the church were again invited to decorate a window sill to symbolise Harvest Thanksgiving.

 

Nicki Chalmers and Jane Partridge designed and arranged a very beautiful arrangement to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday. The theme was the flowers from the Commonwealth.

 

The annual lunch party was a great success again this year. It was held at

Shan Pearce's house. It seems to be a popular event and gives everyone a chance to get to know each other and have a good time.

 

Wendy Trickett has joined the flower group and has already been a great help with wedding flowers. It is lovely to have some new members and we hope she will enjoy being part of the team.

 

We had successful workshops in October and another one in January. We were thrilled to have some of the Coleshill flower arrangers join us. The flower arrangers seemed to enjoy working together and also taking on new