APCM 2023 Minutes
St. Lawrence with St. Paul Longridge
Minutes of the Annual Meeting of Parishioners held on 24th April, 2023.
Present: Revd. Mike Barton, Revd. Simon King, Dot Little, Graham Kelsall,
Dorothy Laver, Muriel Anderson, Philip Jones, Val Wardley, Terry Lewis,
Eileen Lewis, Merilyn Kinrade, Vernon Kinrade, Barbara Burton, Chris Martin,
Karen Boardman, Andrew Burdett, Karen Burdett, Rie Rogers-Waterman, Fred Little, Barbara McCormick, Michael Dawson, Dorothy Mairs, Adrian Mairs, Mae Heys, Lawrence Ingham, Paul Warren, Chris Page, Theresa Page, Katharine Gardner, Rob Bretherton, Andrew Filder, Claire Belshaw, Andrew Belshaw, Lucy Sutton, Russell Sutton.
The vicar welcomed everyone to the meeting which commenced in prayer.
Apologies were received from: Helen Clements, Ellen Dawson, Beryl Fenech, David Hartley, Janet Heap, Rosemary Lyons, Ali Ng, Wendy Smyth, Keith Thompson
Following a proposal by Graham Kelsall, seconded by Revd Simon King the minutes of the Annual Meeting of Parishioners held on 9th May, 2022 were approved as a true record.
Election of Churchwardens.
The vicar reported that this year, Ali Ng was stepping down from her role as Churchwarden due to increased responsibilities in her work role with Carlisle Diocese and after 3 very productive years including helping to navigate us through Covid on behalf of all of us at St Lawrence with St Paul, Revd Mike expressed his sincere thanks. In Ali’s absence tonight as she is part of the team helping to form the interview process for the new Bishop of Carlisle, we will be sure to present her with a fitting token for all her service.
The good news though is we have some very strong continuity Revd Mike was delighted to say that Dot Little has agreed to stand for election for another term and our Deputy Churchwarden Dorothy Laver has also offered to stand as Churchwarden.
The vicar was therefore able to announce that two people had put their names forward for election as Churchwarden for the term ahead.
Dorothy Ann Little, proposed by Val Wardley, seconded by David Hartley
Dorothy Joyce Laver, proposed by Vernon Kinrade, seconded by Merilyn Kinrade
The vicar asked if there were any further nominations and there were none.
With two Churchwarden positions and two people standing, Dot and Dorothy were duly elected as the new Churchwardens for St. Lawrence with St. Paul.
Thanks were then expressed for the considerable amount of work undertaken by the Churchwardens on behalf of the parish and was followed by prayer.
There being no further business, the meeting was closed.
St. Lawrence with St. Paul, Longridge.
Minutes of the annual Parochial Meeting, held on 24th April, 2023
Present: See attendance list for Annual meeting of Parishioners (Vestry meeting) above.
Apologies were received from: Helen Clements, Ellen Dawson, Beryl Fenech, David Hartley, Janet Heap, Rosemary Lyons, Ali Ng, Wendy Smyth, Keith Thompson
Rie Rogers-Waterman proposed and Val Wardley seconded that the minutes of the meeting held on the 9thMay, 2022 were an accurate record. The motion was unanimously supported.
Matters Arising from the Minutes: none
Electoral Roll. Presently there are 218 people on our electoral roll.
At May 2022 the figure was 216. During the course of this period 6 people were added to the roll, sadly 4 dear people on the electoral roll passed away, these being;
Roy Heys, Marjorie Procter, Norah Margaret Leece, Margaret Paynter
All losses are significant, and this year is no exception with 4 extremely wonderful servants of God entering into his nearer presence.
Let us now remember in prayer all those we love but no longer see.
Annual report on the proceedings of the PCC and the activities of the parish generally presented by Revd. Mike Barton.
‘“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
At the APCM last year I talked about the ‘SOME’ process that would guide us out of Covid-19 and into the next season of ministry for St Lawrence with St Paul.
This included the steps Stabilise, Organise, Mobilise and Evangelise and accordingly in this last period between 10th May 2022 and today, 24th April 2023, we have moved from our 2022 vision emphasis of being with Jesus in Loving Community to our 2023 vision emphasis of being with Jesus on Mission.
So this evening as I reflect and give thanks for the year that has passed and look forward to the season ahead I want to encourage you because I believe the societal tide is turning and it’s just possible we could be heading into a time of personal, local, and maybe even national Christian renewal.
In fact, if there is one word I’d like you to take away from tonight it is renewal:
Renewal in Christian confidence, Renewal in Christian fellowship, and renewal in Christian witness.
Tonight, let’s notice the green shoots of renewal, hold them in prayer, tend to them wisely, and excitedly trust in what God will do.
That being said, I am also aware that the likes of Brexit, Covid, the war in Ukraine, the death of our Queen and cost-of-living problems, has meant our nation and the Church of England is going through a lot of transition and none of us are immune from the individual implications of this. And for some, and if I’m honest I include myself in this, a sense of exhaustion which makes it hard to always ‘feel the zeal’ of enthusiasm.
That’s why I want to start my address by reminding us that the renewal I hope we all long for can only come through an encounter with God.
In this I want to reflect for a moment on the story of Gideon.
In Judges chapter 6 the Israelites are doing evil in the eyes of the Lord and their disobedience has caused them to be oppressed by the Midianites.
Finally, the Israelites call out to the Lord in desperation. Shortly after an Angel of the Lord appears to Gideon who describes himself as belonging to the weakest clan and he is the least in his family.
Yet how does the Angel of the Lord greet Gideon?
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
The angel of the Lord calls out within Gideon something which Gideon can’t presently see.
And even though Gideon remains unsure whether the presence of God is with him, the Lord says to Gideon,
Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
The renewal we seek is often a matter of being obedient to God’s voice, offering to God the little we feel we have, and knowing that we are being sent by an all loving and powerful God.
So in this continued time of transition, whether you feel the zeal, or whether you don’t, let’s trust in God who renews the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30).
…The period since the last APCM has again been busy. I don’t want to steal the thunder or duplicate the details of the Treasurer’s or Churchwardens’ reports still to come, but I do want to say thank you to Graham Kelsall for his work to present our accounts for PCC scrutiny in a much more usable format and for continuing to help our church get on a more stable financial footing. And I’d also like to thank Dot Little and Ali Ng for their tireless work, together with Rosemary Lyons in getting the fabric of St Lawrence and St Paul’s churches in a good place both structurally and visually; with the notable projects this year being the beautiful improvements to the Remembrance Chapel at St Lawrence and the considerable tower roof repairs at St Pauls.
In addition to Terry Lewis who continues to keep our church grounds looking splendid, there are many more individuals I’d like to thank for keeping our churches clean and the flower displays but I must leave this privilege to Dot and Ali’s shared report.
This year we’ve seen a few changes among those who help to lead our music and worship ministry. When a role came up establishing new young choir churches within the Blackburn Diocese it was inevitable Rebekah Okpoti had to apply and I wasn’t surprised to find out her interview was successful. Over her 5 years as our Director of Music her abilities on the organ grew significantly and Rebekah was also foundational in getting our new worship group off the ground. On behalf of everyone at St Lawrence with St Paul and especially the Choir, Junior Choir and Worship Group, I’d like to say thank you to Rebekah for all her service.
I’d also like to thank Helen Clements and Emma Turver for stepping into the breach to lead Junior Choir and my wife Carolyn Barton for helping to coordinate the music for the Worship Group and Altogether services.
This is also a fitting time to offer a very sincere and warm welcome to our new Organist and Choir Director Paul Warren, who when not found practicing on one of our two organs can often be seen walking around Longridge with his two dogs!
Next, I’d like to make a special mention of Gerald Mack who has continued to bless us both musically and spiritually on the organ and in the delivery of sermons. Gerald will continue such roles in the future both here and in other local churches but is gradually reducing the volume of his Reader ministry.
I’d also like to say a special thank you to Muriel Anderson who has asked to focus her future Reader ministry priorities on preaching/Leading, Open the Book and Grace Notes.
Since the last APCM two people have embarked on different types of ministry training with Blackburn Diocese. Chris Martin is coming the end of his Authorised Lay Ministry course with a focus on ‘Later Life Ministry’ and ‘Preaching’ and I’m delighted to say he is now hoping to further his training to become a Licensed Lay Minister (which is similar to being a Reader in old money!).
Ella Jansen too began the MPower course at the start of 2023 which specialises in training people for evangelism and ministry in urban contexts. Again, it’s been wonderful to see Ella explore how her gifts might be used to serve God.
I’m sure you’ll all agree our brilliant Curate Simon King has really got into his groove since his priesting this last summer and I’m very grateful for the way he’s taken over the responsibility for leading the Youth work among the many other activities he finds himself involved with. Like the patriarch Jacob he must have been up all-night wrestling with God at some point (!), but I’m pleased to say his hip replacement operation seems to have gone well and we anticipate his gradual return very soon.
Special mention must also be given to the amazing people who lead our children and young people’s work at the 11.15 service. Their efforts mean we’re easily seeing as many children in church as we were pre-covid. With all the schools around this is certainly a potential area of low hanging fruit for future ministry expansion but all in good time.
Then, alongside Revd Gill who continues to be a huge blessing to us, I’d also like to thank Revd Adrian Mairs who together with his wife Dorothy arrived in Longridge at the start of the year. Adrian has been called into action on several occasions in the Lent and Easter period and it’s great to have him come on board the service leading and preaching team.
Next, there are those who act like oil in the machine to keep things running smoothly as well as making our church life together more fun – people like Wendy Smyth and many others alongside her who take a lead in organising social events. People like Fred Little who if not seen with some form of cable or microphone in his hand will be stationed behind the sound desk so we can all hear clearly. And then I must also say thank you to Michael Dawson who is a steadying presence within the parish office. His administrative support behind the scenes makes a massive difference to the flourishing of our community.
With regard to safeguarding Andrew Burdett very kindly took up the role of Safeguarding Officer at the last APCM and together with Barbara McCormick our Safeguarding Administrator they have been diligent in making sure our church is a safe place for all who attend. During the period there were no safeguarding incidents and the PCC has complied with our duty to have due regard to House of Bishops' guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
I now turn some of the other aspects of our worship and ministry.
In the last period our pilot Growing Leaders Course concluded; for some participants it was good reminder of God’s call on their lives and for others the process has been extremely significant in understanding their Christian identity and shaping their future direction. One of the fruits of this has been the new Parish prayer meeting which Marina Walker has set up on Monday nights and when capacity allows, I hope we can run this again in the future.
Then in addition to the regular Alpha and Bible Courses which ran in the evenings of Autumn 2022 and post-Christmas this year we introduced the Wellbeing Course in the summer of 2022. This brought in a different set of people who were able to explore the holistic blessings of following Jesus, mind, body and soul. I was really pleased with the different types of conversations the content aroused and again I look forward to this being part of the suite of courses we are able to offer to both awaken and deepen the Christian faith in our church and wider community.
One of my ambitions for these courses is that participants might then go on to form Homegroups and I’m delighted to say we now have three groups up and running led by Lawrence and Hilary Ingham, Rob Bretherton and Karen Boardman, and Ali Ng and Joy Rushton. I’m also hopeful a fourth will start up very soon. For anyone wanting to explore and deepen their Christian faith with others, Homegroups are by far the most consistent way to do so.
Since the last APCM, we along with many other churches in the UK have tried our best to hold in prayer and accompany the Royal Family in both the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in June and then also the bereavement of her death on 8th September 2022.
I felt we held some very fitting events and services to mark the significance of both occasions and we saw a great many people come into St Pauls to show their respects and sign the book of condolence. We will of course be holding special services in both churches on Sunday 7th May to mark King Charles III Coronation the day before.
One of the consistent lessons I’ve continued to learn this last year is that when you take a little risk to put something on that meets a need then people will gradually come and often in increasing numbers. The relaunch of Brew Time and Walkie Talkies have seen this.
The Autism group has seen this, and now through Steph Willan’s initiative our ‘Welcome Café’, which launched in Autumn 2022 as a ‘warm space’ on Wednesday evenings after school for all ages has seen this too.
Our marvellous Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade also seems to be in a healthy place with new younger members also joining over the period as well.
I must also give thanks for the tremendous work of Catherine Parkin and all the teachers and assistants at Longridge Church of England Primary School. I and they know that last years ‘Good’ Ofsted rating could very easily have been superseded by the word, ‘very’ and like all the schools in Longridge they do a brilliant job and we must give thanks and credit to all those who do their best to educate our children in sometimes very trying circumstances.
Now I must begin to draw my thoughts to conclusion by briefly looking ahead and guiding us back to the theme of renewal.
… we have good reason to trust in a renewal of Christian Confidence, Fellowship and Witness.
There seems to be a growing recognition among many that the air we breathe is the result of centuries of Christian faith but once these values are taken for granted and separated from the worship of Jesus as King, then the kinder, gentler morality the Kingdom of God promotes is replaced by a crueller, less forgiving, more individualistic and tribalistic definition of right and wrong.
This secular fantasy that the goods of the Christian faith can be had without the solid foundation of true worship is beginning to be seen for what it is: An empty promise that you can keep skimming the cream of the top of the milk without ever needing to replenish what holds it up underneath.
I’m trusting that this lie is now being found out and that the ever-true hope of the gospel will renew a right spirit with the church and our nation.
We’re beginning to see this in the renewal of our Men’s Ministry and I’m grateful to John Keating for assisting me in this, and in the increasing attendance of all three Sunday services as well as our 10am Communion on Thursday.
To demonstrate our confidence in the future, the PCC have approved a project to improve the audio-visual equipment in St Paul’s Church and the launch of the fundraising for this will start very soon. It’s anticipated we’ll need to raise approximately £15,000 and then subject to a likely successful application, the Diocese of Blackburn would match-fund this as part of their ‘Healthy Churches, Transforming Communities’ 2026 vision.
One of my own passions is forming links with other organisations and people involved with Christian mission and this last year we continued to build relationships with people from charities including The Trussell Trust who run the foodbank, Home for Good who help people explore whether fostering vulnerable children could be right for them, Safe Families who come alongside struggling families, International Aid Trust who helped us ship essentials to those struggling as a result of the war in Ukraine, and also the lovely couple T & A who recently joined us to share about their work in Asia. Through such partnerships the breadth of our Christian fellowship and witness is dramatically increased and so we can expect guest preachers from these organisations in the year ahead.
Coming soon in our Sunday services we will be holding another ‘Time, Talents and Treasures’ mini-series to help us embrace and contribute towards the local mission of St Lawrence with St Paul here in Longridge and then over summer we’ll be thinking in a more in-depth way about the topic of Renewal and our own transformation in Christ.
As I close, I want to acknowledge there will inevitably be people and things I’ve missed and for that I can only apologise. God will bless the humble heart within each of us and I hope you will grant me that favour too.
So let me close with a prayer for our mutual renewing and flourishing in the season ahead
Father, we long for You more than gold or silver knowing nothing else could ever satisfy our souls. Reorient our affections toward You and what You choose to provide. May nearness to Jesus be our chief desire and grant to us a greater empowerment of your Holy Spirit that blows where it wills, so that you might reveal to us the beauty of Your holiness and we might find wholeness and satisfaction in You.
Empower us to enjoy You and silence all the clamouring of false idols of the soul who would turn away our attention and grant us the privilege of worshipping you with all that we are.
The financial statements of the PCC for the year ending 31st December, 2022. Presented by Graham Kelsall.
Full copies of the Accounts are available in both St Pauls and St Lawrences.
The key figures from the 2022 Annual Accounts are, income £177,492, expenditure £264,116 deficit £86,624, total cash at year end £33,846 and value of our investments at the year-end £309,675. We then proceeded to look at each of the figures in turn.
Income: Income overall for 2022 was £7,035 lower than in 2021. One of the key things to note is that our total income from planned giving and collections at services increased by £14,289.
Another thing to note was that the Gift Aid we had been able to reclaim in 2022 was higher than in 2021, this is mainly because when donations are made through the Parish Giving Scheme, we receive the Gift Aid in the same month, without the need for us to manually submit a claim. That being said we have a number of Gift Aid claims to make to bring us up to date, and they will be done in Quarter 1 2023. My thanks as always to Jackie for looking after the Gift Aid side of things.
Fundraising showed an increase over 2021 levels at £12,400. Printing – the income here is slightly down on 2021. Haighton Dividend and Newsham Legacy income were both down, as was income from the Log. Income from facilities rental increased.
We received no legacies in 2022, and income from fees for weddings and funerals, whilst shows in the accounts as being down, this is mainly due to revised instructions regarding accounting for fees that are due to the Diocese (2021 included them, 2022 does not).
Moving on to our expenditure at £264,116, this was £64,483 higher than in 2021.
Our expenditure on Parish Share was slightly higher the previous year. I confirm that in 2022 we paid our Parish Share request in full.
Clergy and staffing costs were higher. In respect of the Director of Music & Organists, this is reflective of having a second service on a Sunday morning and worship group practice too. Retired clergy fees are down too. The other main change is the increase in our Council Tax expenditure.
The main increase was in Repairs and Maintenance where we spent £91,974 in total, an increase of £41,781 over the 2021 level – the reasons for this will be covered off in the Fabric report.
We used the Morgan legacy to contribute to the tree works done at St Lawrences, hence why Churchyard expenditure show as being up by £2,807.
Maybe a reflection of the times that we are in, the expenditure on the Uniform fund was £1,105 higher than in 2021, and by the end of 2022, the fund had a nil balance.
Again, as expected, our costs of energy where £2,160 higher – a 26% increase
One final point to note regarding expenditure is regarding printing costs of £6,774 (£11,191 in 2021 – when we did a Christmas booklet), this should be seen in the context of income from printing (£5,064) and income from The Log (£3,787). So, on balance, printing is income generating.
Having looked at income and expenditure we confirmed that the net position for the year is a deficit of £86,624.
Looking briefly at the transfers between funds that are recorded in the accounts, where we had transferred £888 out of Unrestricted designated funds into general funds. With respect to our Restricted funds, two of these, the St Pauls Repair fund and the St Lawrence repair fund had a negative balance at the end of the year.
We transferred £4,633 from the Haighton Legacy into the St Lawrence repaid fund, and £26,385 from the Oldreive, Donation and Greenall legacies into the St Pauls repair fund – as mentioned both these funds have a negative balance.
In view of the size, cost and urgency of these projects, the PCC decided that we could not ‘wait’ whilst we fund raised, and agreed to sell some of the shares we hold to do these major projects and to clear these negative balances, but currently the share price is at the lower end, so are ‘biding our time’. The issue of course is that we can only sell these once.
We then looked at the cash (£33,846) and looked at the four bank accounts we hold in addition to the cash held with the Diocese, and how some of the cash at the diocese was restricted (being the Haighton legacy cash).
Finally, looking at our investments where the value had decreased from £311,154 to £274,688, and the value of our ‘other shares’ that have decreased from £38,431to £34,987. We confirmed that the ‘other shares’ are the United Utilities shares we hold as part of the Haighton legacy – these cannot be sold, however the dividend income goes into the Haighton legacy ‘cash’ account, which can then be spent on the purpose of the legacy (the upkeep of St Lawrence church and the church yard). Our other investments are held with the Central Investment Fund, and the value of these can go up or down, in 2022 we saw a decrease.
We wrote in The Log earlier this year to thank Parishoners for their donations, and I’d like to reiterate that thanks now. Thanks again to Jacqui Taylor who does such a great job as Gift Aid Secretary, and to Dorothy Laver for her assistance.
Finally - The budget for 2023 set by the PCC, looks to try and balance the books, but we will need to work hard on trying to increase our income to achieve this – as Mike mentioned we will be revisiting the Time, Talents and Treasures project. We have joined the Parish Giving Scheme and the PCC will be looking at ways to encourage people to prayerfully consider their regular giving to try and balance the books.
The Annual Fabric Report presented by Churchwarden’s Dot Little and Ali Ng.
In our report last year, there were several things mentioned that have come to fruition over the course of the year.
At St Lawrence:
The stencilling in the Remembrance Chapel was painstakingly reinstated in memory of Paul Lomax and we are sure you agree – looks stunning. In October 2022 a service of dedication was held and that area is now a very special feature in our Parish Church. That work was the final phase of the larger package of roof repairs, stonework re-pointing and renewal of decayed plasterwork in the South Transept and Remembrance Chapel in that church started in 2021.
Malcolm Welch has led a project to install swift boxes in the tower at St Lawrence, this work being completed in time for the nesting season. We also appreciate the time Malcolm spends in the churchyard and the interest he takes in the flora and fauna in an area very special to so many of us. This is also an opportunity to thank Terry Lewis for his on-going work in the churchyard – Terry is convinced the grass grows increasingly quicker these days!
We finally managed to obtain a faculty to install the Victorian lamp on the pathway up to St Lawrence and to replace the lighting in the Lychgate. We have been waiting for some dry weather so that the trench can be dug for the cabling.
Last year, we reported that faculties had been granted for both churches to replace the existing wording on the notice boards. That work is now complete – using the existing frames. This hopefully means that there is a greater chance of people being in the right place at the right time for our services!
Music remains an important part of those services and our worship and as Revd. Mike will expand on it was with sadness that we said goodbye to Rebekah Okpoti just prior to Christmas to take up an important role within the Diocese. Between Christmas and Easter we have welcomed a variety of visiting organists – all of whom incidentally have spoken very highly about the Father Willis organ which we heard played so expertly in the series of Organ recitals Rebekah arranged during 2022. It is both a relief and a joy that we have now welcomed Paul Warren as Organist and Choir Director and I know the clergy team and the choir are looking forward to working with him.
To enhance the worship group who lead our 11.15am Service four new microphones were purchased in the last twelve months.
Now to St. Paul’s:
In early 2022 preparatory work started on a major building project to repair the tower roof and pinnacles, which had been leaking for some time. Following the production of a schedule of work, obtaining permission from the Diocese, and subsequent tender process, the work to dismantle, re-fix and repoint the tower pinnacles and parapet was able to start in August 2022. A new roof access hatch was installed together with repairs to leadwork and making good the roof surface.
Nothing is straight forward because following the discovery of rot in the timber post which had supported the flagpole, work had to be delayed whilst advice was sought from a structural engineer to design a new steel beam support structure for the flagpole. The new steel beams were fabricated and finally delivered to site in December 2022, allowing the scaffold tower to be dismantled just before Christmas.
Works continued throughout January and February 2023 to prepare the roof surface for a sub-contractor to lay the new membrane roof covering, with final completion achieved by the 1st March. Whilst the tower repair project was underway our surveyors Cassidy & Ashton also undertook the full Quinquennial Inspection of St Paul’s in November 2022 and their report, which has highlighted among other things the much needed repairs to the carpark and paths will be discussed at PCC meetings going forward.
Thankfully both our church buildings are now watertight but the work required to maintain them is relentless and the money needed to do those repairs and improvements a constant challenge.
Once again, Ali and I would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Rosemary Lyons for the considerable work, and advice she has given throughout the course of the year on all matters fabric and in particular the work to the roof at St Paul’s. Its been wonderful that the PCC and churchwardens have been able to call on Rosemary’s considerable expertise. Our sincere thanks.
Turning now to other matters which have occurred since our last report.
When work began on the roof at St Paul’s, it necessitated the food bank relocating their provisions from the foot of the tower and a significant number of pews were out of action for several weeks to accommodate the stock of food. We have throughout been working with the Foodbank to achieve a more sustainable solution. The porch area – which some years back had been converted into a vestry – has now been converted again into a storage area for the foodbank and the Vicars vestry returned to its original location in the area behind the organ, which also doubles as the print room. We are grateful for the financial support of the Trussell Trust and particularly to Ruth Thompson from Ribble Valley Foodbank for her considerable help with this project. For our part we are delighted that we are able to continue to support the foodbank in its important work.
Moving the Foodbank also meant a significant clear out but there is much more work to be done to tidy up at St Paul’s and we are hopeful that we will be able to organise a spring clean in the near future. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Chris & Teresa Page and Val Wardley for the voluntary cleaning work they do at St. Paul’s and to the small team who go into St. Lawrence on a regular basis.
One rarely thinks of St. Lawrence and certainly St. Lawrence flowers without thinking of Marjorie Procter who sadly died in November 2022 and we remain grateful for the lifetime of service Marjorie gave to the parish. Altar flowers and displays that enhance our churches and help us to celebrate the great festivals of Christmas, Easter and Harvest of course remain important and its been a joy that Donna Rowe Green has taken on the role of Flower Secretary at St. Paul’s and that Judith Kaye continues to produce the lovely flower arrangements at St. Lawrence.
As Churchwardens we are immensely grateful for the support we have received since being elected in October 2020. Ali is sorry that she cannot be with us tonight but as she stands down, I would like to place on record my enormous gratitude to Ali for the work she has done, especially linked to faculty applications, rota’s etc. My strengths are not in form filling or spreadsheets so its been invaluable to have Ali’s expertise on all things official and thankfully that expertise will not be lost as Ali will remain on the PCC.
Being churchwarden gives the opportunity to see just how many people are involved in the various aspects of parish life and Ali and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the other members of the Standing Committee, Duty Wardens, Stewards, Intercessors, Readers, Children’s Church leaders and helpers in fact all who give their time and talents in any way in this busy and challenging parish. The role of churchwarden is not thankfully just involved with buildings and their repair, although in this annual report that officially has to be our main focus but is to support Revd. Mike and the clergy team and to be a listening and encouraging ear for the church family and parish.
With Ali standing down due to additional work commitments I consider it a privilege to again be appointed to continue as Churchwarden working alongside Dorothy Laver over the coming 12 months, although it must be said that 73 year olds like me are not the future for the forward looking and vibrant parish we seek to continue to be.
As a parish we have however so much to be grateful for and praise God for His faithfulness in the life of our churches.
A report of the proceedings of the Preston Deanery Synod presented by Muriel Anderson.
DEANERY REPORT FOR APCM 24th APRIL 2023
We have met three times during the past twelve months. At our first meeting our area Dean, Rev Dave Hanson, opened the meeting and informed us that a new deanery secretary was needed. Twelve months later we still do not have a deanery secretary. If anyone would like to take the minutes for our meetings and email them to the deanery members this would be very much appreciated. The person to contact is Rev Dave Hanson at St. Stephen’s church Broadgate.
I have been a deanery member for several years now and feel the time is right to step down from this. Deanery meets together just three times per year. It is an effective way of meeting other Christians in our area and finding out more about diocesan and deanery matters. The topics discussed are usually quite interesting.
On 3rd November we met at St. George’s Church, often called Preston’s Hidden Gem because of its location. However, a “hidden gem” is the last thing they want to be. Rev Dave talked about the importance, meaning and purpose of names, stressing that every person is special to God. It is incumbent upon us to tell others how special they are and show them kindness.
The governor vacancy at Archbishop Temple School has now been filled.
Rev Dave mentioned Caz Barton’s presentation at our last synod on Vision 2026’s Missional and Financial Flourishing, particularly our Initial Strategic Capacity funding. The aim is to:
Release area deans.
Provide focussed support for parishes in most need,
Appoint a pastoral secretary,
Engage statistical support so we can evidence our strategy for future funding proposals, and
Leverage re-think of buildings support.
Without this committee there is no process for approving changes.
A resolution for this proposal was made and approved.
The vacancy at Ribbleton has been filled by Revs Linda and Peter Tomkinson from Blackpool. They are also leaders of the MPower Course. They arrived in January. Peter is a part time Church Army Captain for the Ribbleton area. Ribbleton is a challenging parish with five housing estates. There is also a vacancy at St Michael’s, Ashton.
The main item of the evening consisted of two presentations on “Reaching Out to People from Other Faith Groups”:
Three ladies from St Stephen’s spoke. St Stephens is a multi-faith parish, the largest such parish outside Birmingham. They have started a monthly meeting with Muslim ladies in the Parish. They call it The Holy Book Club. They found it difficult to know how to share their faith, but now they share Scriptures from both the Bible and the Quran by looking at the lives of the prophets. They discuss the similarities and differences in each Holy Book. One month they meet in church and the next month in the mosque. The ethos is to listen to each other with respect. Friendships have blossomed as they get to understand each other’s beliefs.
Shanthi and Shahina from St Cuthbert’s spoke about their work with Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees. There is a weekly “Talk English” class with referrals to the class from The Red Cross. They are building relationships with the refugees and welcoming them into their own home for meals. They reminded us of Jesus’ important command to go and make disciples. Covid interrupted their work, but they now hold a Bible Study with the refugees after the Sunday church service.
All speakers agreed that getting to know parents takes time. It begins by teaching English and showing hospitality. As a result, St. Cuthbert’s have now changed their pre-Christmas Carol Service into an outreach service.
Our final deanery synod for the Church year was held at St. Cuthbert’s, Fulwood. We were informed about the diocesan lent books, available to every church in the diocese, and the diocesan Roots Course starting shortly.
Steve Smith, an LLM from the Church of the Risen Lord in Ribbleton, told us about a Christian-run Recovery Group in St. James’ Church in Preston, ministering to those with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. They meet every Thursday at 6 pm.
There will be a weekend Prayer Festival in September in Miller Park, also a Live Nativity Play in the town centre.
Bishop Philip will speak at the October deanery synod.
St. Michael’s in Ashton made a request, for retired clergy with permission to officiate to be paid. The subject was debated, and the motion was not carried.
Because of rising fuel prices Emmanuel, St. Christopher’s in Lea, and St. Margaret’s in Ingol opened their churches to offer warm spaces during the chilly weather, offering free win fi, hot drinks, snacks, Nibble ‘n Natter and even board games. This was done for three weeks but there seemed to be a distinct lack of interest in their communities.
Our next two meetings are 22nd May and 12th October 2023.
To elect one parochial lay representative to Deanery Synod.
There are 15 different Parishes in the Preston Deanery and All Deanery Synod representatives need to be re-elected this year. The size of our electoral roll means we’re allowed up to 4 representatives.
Chris Martin and Dorothy Laver have put themselves forward for election.
Karen Boardman is entitled to be on Deanery Synod by virtue of her Vision Champion role.
Chris Martin proposed by Lawrence Ingham and seconded by Rob Bretherton
Dorothy Laver proposed by Barbara McCormick and seconded by Barbara Burton
There being no further nominations, Revd Mike was delighted to announce that Chris, Dorothy and Karen were duly elected as our new Deanery Synod Representatives.
To elect the Parochial Church Council
Revd. Mike Barton confirmed that at the start of the Annual Meeting of the Parishioners we had five vacant positions. Five spaces were as a result of PCC terms expiring.
Keith Thompson and Karen Burdett have decided to not stand for re-election. Revd Mike thanked Keith and Karen for everything they have done and continue to do and presented Karen with a token of appreciation.
Val Wardley, David Hartley and Barbara Burton have graciously put themselves forward for another 3-year term and Andrew Filder and Ali Ng (who was previously and ex-officio PCC member) have also kindly offered to stand for election.
Val Wardley proposed by Rie Rogers-Waterman, seconded by Barbara McCormick
David Hartley proposed by Barbara McCormick, seconded by Barbara Burton
Andrew Filder proposed by Ali Ng, seconded by Joy Rushton
Ali Ng proposed by Barbara McCormick, seconded by Dorothy Laver
Barbara Burton proposed by Barbara McCormick, seconded by Dot Little
There being no further nominations and with five vacant spaces all five were duly elected as new PCC members.
To confirm any readers as members of the Parochial Church Council.
It is for the APCM to decide if readers who so desire it are members of the PCC.
Muriel is stepping down from the PCC therefore we have no Readers to confirm this year.
To appoint an Independent examiner to the Parochial Church Council.
McDade Roberts Accountants are currently our independent examiners and it was proposed by Graham Kelsall, seconded by Revd Simon King and Karen Boardman and agreed by the meeting that McDade Roberts Accountants Ltd be asked to check the 2023 accounts.
Any Other Business.
The Vicar confirmed that Sidespeople and Duty Wardens are confirmed in the short PCC meeting which follows the APCM. Revd. Mike did however take the opportunity to thank all those who undertake this important ministry. Revd Mike presented Barbara McCormick with a small token of appreciation for her role as PCC Secretary.
Lawrence Ingham informed the PCC about leaking rainwater goods at St Pauls church. Revd Mike explained that we have an annual maintenance contract in place now with Heritage Property Repairs, who will inspect both churches, clearing out gutters etc, and report any findings to the PCC.
Questions from the floor.
The meeting ended with the following prayer: