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Annual General Church Meeting Reports ~ 2018

Minutes of 2017 General Church Meeting Wesley Guild
Minister’s Report Pastoral
Worship Planning Group Wesley Centre Lettings
Churches Together in Sandbach Justice & Peace Group
Church Council Food Bank
Music Banner Making
Door Stewards Treasurer’s Report
Church Cleaning Focus House-group
Lifeline Debt Advice Stewards
Charities Cell Group
Lunches and Sales in 2017 Communion Stewards
Gift Aid Flowers
Website & Weekly News Sheetv Christian Aid
Bowls Group Craft & Chat
Our Giving



Minutes of 2017 General Church Meeting

Minutes of the meeting held on Sunday 21 May 2017 at 12:05pm

Present: Revd Jeremy Tresise (presiding) and 32 members.

Apologies: Ann Horsfield, Marian & John Brain, Kath & Tim Walmsley and Norma Stolworthy,

The meeting opened with a reading from Isaiah chapter 58, a reflection for Christian Aid Week and a time of prayer.

Jeremy read the minutes of last year’s meeting. These were agreed and signed.

Matters Arising: nothing to report.

Appointments of Church Stewards:

None of the current Church Stewards had asked to stand down. George Wood, Andrew & Norma Stolworthy, David & Kathleen Wharton and Cynthia Kelly were therefore all reappointed. If anyone would like to join the team, please have a word with Jeremy. Jeremy thanked all the stewards for their hard work and support. We are fortunate to be supported by them all.

Jeremy reported that Stephen Parker-Aiken will continue beyond his initial three-year term and he will still be employed by and funded by the Cheshire South Circuit. The Circuit has a policy to employ workers across local Mission Areas. A review had taken place, and Stephen will in future work increasingly across the Mission Area. It was very encouraging that Stepping Stones is well attended on Friday mornings. Work in primary schools continues though the hours will decrease to allow him to work at Wheelock and Elworth.

Appointment of representatives from General Church Meeting to Church Council:

There are currently seven representatives Tom Cooke, Roger & Valetta Cranmer, Ann Horsfield, Peter Mason, David Till and Tim Walmsley. They are all happy to continue and were re-elected. Karen Foster has agreed to come back onto Church Council and this was agreed.

General Church Meeting Reports:

These had been collated by Andrew Stolworthy, with thanks to him and all those who had contributed. Jeremy had since prepared a Minister’s Report and read this out at the meeting. This will also be made available on the website. An additional report had been received from the Family Worker, Stephen Parker-Aiken. Jeremy read the report and this will also be made available. Stephen is employed for 18 hours per week. It was noted that the figure for the Shrove Tuesday event differed in the Christian Aid report to the Justice and Peace report. Rosemary Priaulx wishes to stand down from her role as Gift Aid Secretary. Jeremy thanked everyone for the work involved behind the reports with many and varied activities represented. The reports were approved.

Any Future Dates:

Community Lunch on 1 June.

Any Other Business:

Kath Walmsley wishes to stand down as Flower Secretary from the end of 2017. Anyone interested in taking on this role is asked to come forward.

There being no further business, the meeting closed with prayer and the sharing of the grace.


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Minister’s ReportRev’d Jeremy Tresise

I am very proud to commend this year’s annual church report to you and to thank all those whose efforts, time, energies and gifts have been given so freely to continue God’s work here at Wesley Avenue.

On a personal note the year has been a challenging one. I was away from work completely for 5 months until October and have gradually eased back into work with a phased return which was completed by March 2018.

I would like to thank all those who, in their various ways stepped in to fill the gaps that were left. We were well served by Rev. Ian Duffy and Rev. Helen Stubbs who had pastoral charge in my absence and who along with Norma Stolworthy conducted a number of baptisms and funerals as well as leading us in worship. Thank you also to the stewards, who have worked tirelessly on our behalf and who had to take on extra duties in my absence. I know the church was left in good hands.

In October we had an excellent concert for Christian Aid in the Wesley Centre with Rob, Karen and Lynne providing the entertainment and which raised a good amount of money. We also hosted a Mission Area Cafe service highlighting Fairtrade, led by a team from across the Circuit under the auspices of Heather Staniland.

We held a very informative evening led by Rev. Derek Oldham from Congleton on how best to equip our church buildings and assist in our Pastoral Care for those who live with Dementia.

In December we were pleased to welcome children from Sandbach Primary Academy to hear and learn about the Christmas stories. These were incredibly valuable experiences for the children who took part and the school has expressed its gratitude to us for hosting this event and a big thank you also to all who took part.

The Saturday before Christmas saw a “heavenly choir” of Angels descend upon Sandbach bringing their message of hope and joy at Christmas! Thank you to all who helped knit, assemble and distribute nearly 1000 angels across Sandbach and Elworth.

On Easter Saturday CTS put on a dramatic presentation of the Easter story, entitled One Friday, again on The Cobbles. We also had a very special Mission Area Good Friday service, this year held at Wheelock with (hot) hot cross buns served afterwards.

We had a film evening to introduce our Lent Study Course as we settled down to watch the film, The Theory of Everthing. This was then followed by a 5 week Lent Study course in which 3 groups and approximately 30 people participated.

My thanks must also go to you for your continued support and help, which has enabled me to continue in my ministry here among you. The past twelve months have been challenging but I finish them feeling strengthened and ready to face the next twelve! This is in no small part due to the love and support I have received from the people here.

God bless

Jeremy


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Worship Planning GroupBryan Glassonbury

This group comprises the preachers, worship leaders and organists serving our church, and meets each quarter to review arrangements for services and make plans for forthcoming ones. Two years ago I wrote “Sunday morning and Thursday morning worship continue with little change, although the shrinking number of preachers looks like leading to an increase in the number of locally arranged services”. In fact, we now have one such service each quarter and they are usually very well received – a blessing in disguise! A piece in a recent Methodist Recorder stated that in the author’s view, preaching by many leading worship – lay and ordained – lacked passion, was not based on New Testament values, and was not challenging. I’m glad to say that that is certainly not our experience at Sandbach, where in general, we have been blessed with worship of a high standard, and which, for me, ticks the right boxes most of the time! So perhaps it’s right to thank all who lead us week by week – preachers, musicians, readers, stewards, AV operators and flower providers – for all the time and thought which they spend on our behalf. As always, if you have any suggestions relating to our worship, the group would be glad to receive them.


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Churches Together in SandbachAndrew Stolworthy

Churches Together in Sandbach held our usual Carol Singing for Action for Children, this year in front of the Town Hall and also our usual sunrise Easter Morning service at the Sandbach Crosses.

On the Saturday before Christmas, we showered the centre of the town with well over 900 knitted Christmas Angels, which received good publicity in the press and was well received by those who found or received an angel judging by the comments on the social media. We will be repeating this again this year, so I trust you will all get knitting! On Christmas Day, the Wesley Centre again hosted a Christmas Day Lunch for those who would otherwise have been on their own, and 30 to 35 people came and enjoyed the lunch.

At Easter, we also presented the Easter story in a series of tableaux vibrants. It told the Easter story very clearly, although it was disappointing that not more people came to view it despite the publicity (possibly due to the inclement weather).

During the year, we also had a joint service, an Advent service and a pulpit swap.


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Church CouncilRob Glassonbury

The Church Council is the managing body of the church and its members act as trustees for legal purposes. Meetings are held four times a year to hear reports from sub committees, and discuss various aspects of the Church’s life, including worship, pastoral matters, mission, property, finance and so on. Minutes are pinned to the notice board in the Wesley Centre and if you’d like to receive a copy of the minutes via email, please let me know. Please make any views known, via the Church Stewards, Jeremy or myself. Finally, the General Church Meeting appoints representatives to the Church Council, so please speak to me if you are interested in serving on Church Council.


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MusicRob Glassonbury

Music continues to play an important part in worship each Sunday. Karen Foster and I continue to play the organ on a rota basis. The Music Group continues to play each Sunday during worship. In the chapel, it usually leads one or more of the hymns. When the service is held in the Wesley Centre, we play for all the hymns. As ever, I am grateful to Tim Cooke (clarinet) and Karen Foster (guitar / harp) along with Karen’s occasional vocal contributions. We are indebted to Valetta Cranmer for rehearsing and conducting the choir for special occasions. We also held an enjoyable concert in the chapel to celebrate Harvest; as well as performances by the people named above, our thanks go to Viv Evans for playing the piano. The installation of the screens in the chapel in December 2015 continues to enhance our worship, not least that people ‘look up’ whilst singing.


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Door StewardsJean Eaton

I would like to thank all the Door Stewards for their part in welcoming ua all to Weekly Worship, and especially for making any Newcomer or Visitor to our congregation Welcome. First impressions are very important, so thank you all again for your valued contribution to Sunday Worship. I would also like to thank the people who kindly help when someone is unable to attend. Please let me know if you would like to be a Door Steward – it would be lovely to have some more helpers.


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Church CleaningGlenys Fitzpatrick

Firstly, many thanks to all of the teams for the brilliant job they do in the giving of their time and energy. As we all get older I know it is not always easy to continue to commit to the cleaning rota but your services are greatly valued.

We currently have 5 teams on the Church Cleaning Rota but if there are any further members who feel able to volunteer we could easily accommodate them into one of the current teams.

Each team cleans 3 times per year and this enables the church to be cleaned approximately every 3/4 weeks.

The hoovers, mop and bucket and brush are kept either in the kitchen or in the Reade Room. The extension lead is kept in the cupboard under the sink in the kitchen.

We now have a new hoover which runs on battery so if you are not sure how to empty it or replace the battery please ask for help.

If anyone has any suggestions for further equipment which would help, please let me know.

As the congregation generally leave the pews tidy after each Church service this certainly helps when the teams come in to clean.

Once again many thanks to everybody for all you do.


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Lifeline Debt AdviceRosemary Priaulx, Debt Advisor

Our aim: ‘Freedom from Debt: Hope for the Future’.

In August we will be celebrating 10 years of giving debt advice from the Wesley Centre. During that time we have faced many challenges:

Lifeline was set up by Sandbach Methodist Church and has volunteers from supporting churches in Sandbach. It is a member of Community Money Advice from which we receive invaluable advice and support. We are licensed to provide Debt Counselling, Debt Adjusting and Credit Information services. We have a team of 4 qualified debt advisers, 2 administrative assistants, and 5 appointment supporters and are overseen by a Management Committee. Over the past year we have taken on 33 new cases and currently have 41 active cases with a total debt of £528,103.88.

Most people have debt; anyone with a mortgage, balance on a credit card, an overdraft – these are all debts. Credit can be used to advantage, however, when repayments cannot be made on the due date, debts can soon become unmanageable. This is where we are able to offer ‘free’ debt advice, by appointment, which is confidential and non-judgmental. We can assist clients with benefit checks, grant applications, and negotiating with creditors, and help them to achieve a sustainable solution to their financial difficulties.

We give thanks for all those who support Lifeline, and ask for your prayers for the volunteers. We pray that God continues to bless the work, and that all those in debt find help and support. There are many different roles which are filled by our volunteers. Support is given for training and the work is very rewarding. If you think you could help in this service in our community, please speak to Peter Mason, David Priaulx or Rosemary Priaulx.


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CharitiesRosemary Priaulx

Charities supported with Donations from Sandbach Methodist Church General Church Fund

The Methodist Church Fund (the general fund of The Methodist Church)

In responding to its Calling; The Methodist Church in Great Britain organizes its work in 5 key areas:

Fund for the Support of Presbyters and Deacons (a fund of The Methodist Church)

All We Can (a Partner Agency of The Methodist Church)

Leaders of Worship and Preachers’ Trust (LWPT)(a Partner Agency of The Methodist Church)

Charities supported by donations from Sandbach Methodist Church General Charity Fund

Special Collections are made throughout the year for Partner Agencies who share our Vision and Values

Methodist Homes (MHA)

MHA is a charity providing care, accommodation and support services to improve the quality of life of older people, inspired by Christian concern through:

Action for Children

Methodist Women in Britain Easter Offering envelope collection for The World Mission Fund of the Methodist Church which supports the following programmes:


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Lunches and Sales in 2017Barbara Glassonbury

As in previous years, we have had five Sunday lunches raising a total of £3,026 and four Saturday sales raising £1,549. For the first time since 2014 there were three Mid-week lunches, raising £1,050, so the total for the year was £5,625. Support for all these events remain high and we are grateful for the work undertaken by our team members for all the help in a variety of ways (vegetable preparers, cooks, table setters, washers up and launderers etc) also Margaret Cooke for her expertise in table decorations. Suggestions for ways to improve or vary what we offer would be valued and so please have a word with me. Saturday morning coffee events need a few more helpers so please consider this and if you feel you would like to join in (even better to form a team of three) let me know. Many hands make light work!


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Gift AidRosemary Priaulx

What is Gift Aid? It is a scheme enabling charities registered with HMRC to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, effectively increasing the amount of the donation.

For Gift Aid to be claimed, the donor must make a declaration that they pay enough income tax to cover the claim, the charity must record the personal details of the donor and keep a record of the donations.

Donations can be given in various ways:

In 2016/17, £27,551 was Gift Aided which enabled the church to claim £6,887 in tax refund.

Is it worth signing a Gift Aid declaration? YES. The tax refund we claim is approximately 8% of our income. For more information speak to Rosemary Priaulx (Gift Aid Secretary).


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Website & Weekly News SheetAndrew Stolworthy

The website at www.sandbachmethodist.org.uk continues to be updated regularly – weekly with the current church notices and less frequently with other information, such as the Link magazine and the Wesley Centre bookings. An audio recording of the Sunday morning worship is also available – please contact me if you would like to know how to access it. Some smaller changes (hopefully improvements) have also been made.

The weekly news sheet continues to be available every week, and for those with poor eyesight, large print copies are also produced weekly. Copies of the monthly Cheshire South circuit newsletter are also available on a Wesley Centre notice board as well as on the tables at Sunday coffee.


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Bowls GroupBryan Glassonbury

The crown green games last summer provided further pleasure for players and spectators alike –- Sandbach Park in full sunshine is a very pleasant place to while away a Monday morning! There has also been much enjoyment indoors on Tuesday afternoons, where we have been pleased to welcome Nancy from Latham Court. Our indoor membership list is fairly full, but any readers who’d like to try a very relaxed, social afternoon with us would find a warm welcome. £1 per session, including tea and a biscuit – how about it?


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Our GivingKaren Foster


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Wesley GuildBryan Glassonbury

We have had another interesting and varied fortnightly programme, following the national pattern for Guilds – Devotional, Literary, Christian Service and Social evenings. The devotional evenings were led by Rev Helen Stubbs, (communion), Rev David Page, and Ivor Glover; the Literary evenings were a play reading, with the usual hilarious moments, and a wonderfully entertaining (and humorous) evening on ‘Some books I have read’ by Rev Jeremy Tresise. Christian Service included talks by Mrs Marjorie Newton on the work of The British Legion, and Andrew Stone, on his work with Citizens’ Advice, and Witness Support – the latter including a mock training session, a really interesting experience! We also enjoyed a members’ evening, when several offered readings, music, and objects of interest – ’My favourite things’. Our very own Poet Laureate, Mr David Till, offered a poem/ode on his favourite food (pretty much everything) on that occasion, and another on Barbara at the AGM. He’s composed a third (on the Easter Church Lunch) which will no doubt see the light of day soon! All this, and the opening Supper evening in October, and the Christmas Party – you can see why I called it a varied programme. Attendance remains around two dozen each time, so we could squeeze one or two more in. Why not treat yourself?


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PastoralLinda Jones

The Pastoral Committee met in May and November 2017 to review and update the Pastoral lists. The correspondence list has been re-organised into those receiving the Link via Royal Mail, email or by hand. Our thanks go to May Lewis who has retired as a Pastoral Visitor after many years of service and to Kath Walmsley our flower secretary for over 20 years and who has handed her duties over to Vivien Evans. Thank you to Vivien for taking on this role.

Joy Wade has taken on the position of Dementia Link for our Church contacting families with a Dementia patient. This involves her phoning, visiting and liaising with the Pastoral Visitors. It is an official Church role and has been approved by the Church Council.

The Dementia evening when Revd Derek Oldham gave us an informative overall view of his findings about Dementia was a valuable event and Jane Parker from the Alzheimer’s Society was also present.

Eleven Pastoral Visitors attended the Safeguarding Refresher Course in September and heard that some Churches were keeping a “Next of Kin” list for people who regularly attended Church. The Pastoral Visitors have agreed to collect this information for our Church and it will be held securely and only used in an emergency.

This year we have had the deaths of some of our members and friends, special people connected by their faith, commitment and service to others. One of these was Ken Wade who here at Wesley Avenue was a Sunday School teacher and Superintendent. He was an active member of the Property committee doing lots of DIY at Church and at the Manse. He led Church walks on many occasions and one of his activities outside our Church was being a Crusader leader for more than thirty years.

On a happier note we have had many milestone Birthdays, Golden and Diamond Wedding Anniversaries, a Wedding, Baptisms and the births of great-grandchildren. Vivien Evans and Ron Cheshire have transferred their membership to our Church and we have welcomed many new people to our congregation.

The commissioning of Pastoral Visitors took place in February and the next Pastoral meeting will be in May.

Thanks go to Jeremy and the Pastoral Visitors for the time they spend visiting and supporting our members and friends.

Our membership at this time is 133.


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Wesley Centre LettingsAndrew Stolworthy

Our Wesley Centre continues to be heavily used, especially the hall. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to fit new users into the schedule of bookings for the hall. I frequently get comments about how pleasantly surprised users are at the premises, and often one birthday party leads on to other parties from other parents.

The re-decoration of Room 1 has brought several positive comments, and the bookings for this room and the Henshall Room are increasing.

As well as all our regular bookings, we also have 'one-off' bookings from other users.

We would welcome more people to help with the caretaking to ease the burden on the regular caretakers, to whom I give my thanks and who seem to spend all their time travelling between their homes and the Wesley Centre when it’s their turn to do the caretaking.


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Justice & Peace GroupKaren Foster

The Justice and Peace group continues to meet about every 3 months. We are a small band of volunteers and our objective is to move the church forward in terms of responding to needs locally and globally with the aim of justice and peace. With this in mind, over the last 12 months we have done the following:

We also continue to refresh our noticeboard regularly, so please take a look from time to time.

Our next meeting is on 9th May at 7:30pm at 16 Parkhouse Drive, and we would love to see you there. If you would like to know more about what we do, have any questions, or any comments or suggestions about our work please speak to Jeremy, Ann Horsfield or myself.


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Food BankKaren Foster

We have just passed the 5th anniversary of the food bank in Sandbach, and so I thought I would share some statistics with you. From our early beginnings through to the end of March this year we have delivered a total of 513 food parcels, 206 of which were for single people, 334 were for families of at least 2 people, and 228 of these were for families of at least 3 people. Our average number of food parcels in a week remains around 2, but last December we delivered a total of 22 food parcels, 14 of which were in a single week, and 6 of which were on a single day. Our biggest ever food parcel was delivered last September to a family of 10 – 2 adults and 8 children ranging from age 1 to 13.

We have 11 regular volunteers, who make up the food parcels and deliver them to the people concerned. A food parcel is requested by a referral from a known organisation, like Plus Dane, Social Services or the Benefits Office. Our policy is to provide a maximum of 3 food parcels in a 6-month period to prevent people becoming reliant on our help and to ensure that they are getting help from other organisations to get out of the situation that sees them in need of our help. Recipients are always very grateful for the help we provide.

As well as the collecting box in the Wesley Centre there are boxes in other churches in Sandbach, and in Barclays Bank. The collections in Waitrose and Nationwide go to the Middlewich food bank, however, we have a good relationship with Middlewich food bank and are hoping to get a regular feed from them out of the Waitrose donations. Sadly, the Sandbach Barclays branch is closing so we will be looking for another place to have a collecting box. As happens every year the harvest donations were very generous from the local churches and schools, and we really appreciate this influx of food as it restocks the cupboard. Stocks are getting low in some areas again now, and if you are considering donating food please would you consider getting items from the following list:

CoffeeSugarLong life juice
Sandwich meatTinned meals (like stewed steak, pies, etc)Jam (shop bought only please)
Toilet rollsCerealsTinned Potatoes

All items must be in date and with a best before date well in to the future if possible please.

We have been invited to speak about the food bank to the Rainbows in April and at St. John’s at their cafe service on May 6th (I’m sure you would be very welcome if you wanted to go along, it’s at 7pm).

Thank you for your continued support for the food bank. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to speak to Ann Horsfield or myself.


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Banner MakingAnn Horsfield & Norma Stolworthy

We haven’t met together as often as we would like this year so progress on the banners has been slow. However, having bought a pattern of black bordered poppies we did manage to complete a Pulpit Fall for Remembrance Sunday and the Noah’s Ark banner was finally completed and hung in the church.

In January we went to the usual “Banner Making” week at Willersley Castle in Derbyshire. It was a good time of fellowship as we met up again with friends we have made over the years. During this time Ann started to work on another “I AM” banner which will hopefully be completed this year and Norma started to design another “I AM” banner.

We are hoping to go to Colwyn Bay in July and September for three day workshops where we will be able to continue working on the banners as well as doing some patchwork.

We have been asked to make a banner for Lifeline but haven’t a design as yet and we still need to make a banner suitable for weddings and another Easter banner. If anyone has a design or an idea we could use on a banner please let us know.

We would welcome anyone who would like to join us in banner making. No skills are necessary, just ideas and enthusiasm but if you do have skills they would be most welcome.

Thank you all for your support and appreciation of the banners we make.


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Treasurer’s ReportKathleen Wharton

2016/17 Financial year (September to August)

A summary of the accounts for the financial year ended 31st August 2017 is given below with the previous year’s figures for comparison.

RECEIPTS2015/162016/17
££
Offerings and tax recovered43,40642,367
Interest340284
Lettings income20,50225,417
Fundraising events – net proceeds8,3009,568
Donations received7,4243,160
Events and communion collections for Charity Fund1,7082,192
Legacies13,566500
Grant (for AV system)8,2000
Other receipts1,4931,461
TOTAL RECEIPTS£104,939£84,949
PAYMENTS2015/162016/17
££
Circuit Assessment43,39442,000
Donations made from SMC Funds6,8676,740
Property Repairs and Maintenance13,16318,735
Property Project – AV system8,5460
Buildings and Contents Insurance3,6683,585
Utilities (gas, electricity and water)6,7775,116
Youth and Family work1,964376
Licences782784
Other payments2,5402,408
TOTAL RECEIPTS£87,701£79,744

Sandbach Methodist Church is fortunate in having members who are generous in their regular giving and who also give their time and talents freely to care for the buildings, see to the needs of the Wesley Centre hirers each week and work hard to raise funds through social events.

The amount received in offerings and tax recovered in 2016/17 just covered the amount payable for Circuit Assessment. All other costs were met mainly from the proceeds of Fundraising Events and the Lettings Income, which reached a record high of £5,000 more than the previous year. Consequently, we were able to cover all our costs in 2016/17 and ended the financial year with £5,000 surplus.

We were able to give donations totalling £6,740 from our General Fund and details of the beneficiaries are given elsewhere in this report.

The major costs under Property Repairs and Maintenance were for electrical work for emergency lighting and smoke detection in the Church and Wesley Centre (£4,288), the re-pointing of part of the rear wall of the church building (£5,059) and the cost of employing a caretaker for 12 hours per week.

2017/18 Financial Year

The figures so far for the current financial year indicate that the downward trend in offerings is continuing but expenditure on property repairs and maintenance is likely to exceed the budget as repairs to the Wesley Centre roof and the exterior of the eastern wall and upper window are likely to cost much more than anticipated.

2018/19 Financial Year

Work is also required to the front of the Church building, but this will now have to be deferred to 2019. We might also need to contribute towards the cost of replacing the boundary wall or fencing with the neighbouring Hollies development. Also, in the next financial year we could see a significant rise in our Circuit Assessment as the method of calculating this is being changed and rising inflation will also mean an increase in other costs such as gas and electricity.

Conclusion

The church’s finances are still sound, but we must not be complacent. We have a responsibility to maintain our buildings and it looks likely that in future our expenditure will exceed our income unless we can raise more funds. We rely heavily on volunteer caretakers so that we can hire the Wesley Centre to outside groups and organisations. If we increase the hours of a paid caretaker, we are reducing the amount of income raised from lettings. We therefore need to review our giving. If you wish to pay your offerings by monthly standing order or change the amount you already pay in this way, a simple form can be supplied. The amount you give regularly through the envelope scheme or by standing order can be changed at any time of the year. Thank you very much for your support.


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Focus House-groupTim Cooke

Our Thursday evening FOCUS house-group continues to meet on a fortnightly basis. The group has grown in spiritual connection, once again over the past year, although our regular attendance has remained solid at 6 we do have space for more! This year we have been undertaking more in-depth study than in previous years. We are pleased that our Minister Jeremy continues to be a regular attendee, and in fact there have been times this year when we would have really struggled to get through the material without his guidance and support! We have keenly studied “The Mystery of Everything” which was the church Lent course.

The key strength of the group is the informal nature of our meetings, and the fact that everyone is encouraged to contribute as they feel fit. This encourages the growth of the group spiritually, as there is no such thing as a silly question! Although I recognise that there are other attractions (namely, home-made cakes!!) I would encourage anyone who is interested in finding out more about the group to come along and give us a go.


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StewardsNorma Stolworthy

As I come to the end of my 4th year as a steward, and 2nd year as “senior” steward, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support for me during this time.

I have decided to step down at the Annual Church Meeting as being a Local Preacher and Steward is not always an easy combination. (I remember being told during my training that Local Preachers should not hold any other church offices!)

I am very grateful to the other stewards for putting up with my forgetfulness when I was struggling with side effects of medication.

The stewards have been busy over the last 12 months with our regular activities including: opening up the church on the Saturday of harvest weekend; planning the Christmas carol service; organising the flowers for Mothering Sunday; ensuring there were palm crosses available on Palm Sunday; the October count; stewarding for weddings and funerals; and of course, our usual Sunday stewarding duties.

I would like to thank all those who have sat at the AV desk during the year and a special “thank you” goes to Nicolas. I also want to thank Rob who regularly types up the words we see on the monitors each week.

Please continue to pray for the stewards and for the work they do in this church.


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Cell GroupNorma Stolworthy

The cell group continues to meet fortnightly (when possible) and enjoys exploring and discussing different books of the Bible in short courses with the use of videos or booklets.

This year we have been looking at the parables of Jesus – as well as watching the film ‘A Brief History of Time’ which we will discuss at our next meeting – as well as deciding which course we will study next.

We are very grateful to Doreen Parsons for hosting our meetings – and we wish her a full recovery from her recent fall.

The cell group is open to all and we would be delighted to welcome new members. Please check the weekly notices for details of when and where we will be meeting.


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Communion StewardsMargaret Cooke on behalf of the communion stewards

During the last 12 months we have held communion services on a once-a-month basis. This is usually a well attended service, averaging an attendance of between 60 and 90 people. Also we hold our once-a-quarter Thursday morning communion service in the Henshall Room. We hold a “midnight” communion service on Christmas Eve, which was again held at a 8.00 pm this year! We were delighted to once again welcome our friends from St. Mary’s church to share in our Covenant service and it’s nice to see this becoming a regular occasion. I would like to thank Glenys Fitzpatrick in particular for her help this year, but also Kath Walmsley, Linda Jones, and all who help to run this service so smoothly.


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FlowersKath Walmsley

I am pleased to let you know that Viv Evans (Tel: 01782 775980) has now taken over as Church Flower Secretary.

I should like to thank all those who have helped me with the flowers in the past. I have always been grateful many times for their assistance particularly at Easter; Harvest and Christmas.

These duties have meant so much to me as a Pastoral carer. Flowers say so much as they decorate our church each Sunday and then as I have distributed them locally to people who I feel have appreciated them.

I am still around and prepared to help Viv and others whenever necessary.


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Christian AidAnn Horsfield

This church has supported Christian Aid in various ways during the past year. In Christian Aid week 2017 the amount this church collected was an increase from the collection in 2016. Many thanks are owed to all who delivered and collected the envelopes during that week.

Events were held at Wesley Avenue and in St Mary's in aid of Christian Aid which were supported by members of our church and thanks are owed for all this support. On “Pancake Day” pancakes were prepared at Wesley Avenue and the donations were sent to Christian Aid. There have been coffee mornings at St Mary’s and at Wesley Avenue which were well attended by members of our church. It is hoped that this support will continue for the events planned for 2018.

The display boards in the foyer of the Wesley Centre are regularly used to give information about the aims and work of Christian Aid.

Christian Aid week this year is as usual in May and Deborah and I would be grateful for offers to deliver and/or collect the envelopes.


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Craft & ChatAnn Horsfield

The group has grown and we have had as many as thirteen members though numbers vary from meeting to meeting.

The group consists of people who knit, crochet, embroider, hand or machine sew and we enjoy sharing patterns, tips, hints and ideas. Although we are not a “teaching” group we do help each other when problems occur.

Several members have already knit some “Christmas Angels” ready for Christmas 2018 and some poppies for a hospital in Blackpool that asked for some. In fact, much, but not all, of the activity in the Craft & Chat sessions is making items for charitable craft stalls, for Sanctus, for Christmas shoe boxes, for Linus quilts, for the homeless, for premature babies or for other charities.

New members are always very welcome and the craft does not have to be knitting or sewing: one member comes just for the “chat” and the company. We all very much enjoy talking to each other as we work and the talk can cover spiritual matters as well as the mundane.


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