St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

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Annual report 2005


The Annual Report of the Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's, Sowerby, for the year ended 31 December 2005

Churchwardens
The fabric of the church is in reasonable repair. The roof has remained watertight following last year’s extensive renovation.

The organ has had ongoing repairs to keep it up to standard.

The Quinquennial Report has been examined by the PCC, and a letter written to the Architect with instruction on how to proceed. The Church Wardens are currently awaiting a report from the Architect along with estimates for outstanding work. There is nothing major to be done, but with such an old building there is always maintenance work which needs to be kept up to date. The redecoration of the south transept has had to wait until the wall had dried out sufficiently for replastering and repainting to take place. This is on the list with the Architect as an item to be done.

An electrician has been requested to make a survey of the church’s electrical system and wiring. The report is still awaited.

There is work needed on the churchyard boundary walls and pathways. This is part of the quinquennial work.

The Church Wardens would like to say a special thank you to Martin Hooper and the Parochial Hall Team for the completion of the renovation. It all looks splendid.

September 2005 was a special month for all the Church Wardens when St Oswald’s and St Cuthbert’s welcomed a new priest in charge - Nicky Carnall, and her family. We give thanks that the long wait has ended, and we look forward to the future with her ministry.

Sandra and Elizabeth

Sowerby Parochial Church Hall
All the planned improvements to the Hall have been completed and are being much appreciated by the users, whose numbers have risen again over the past twelve months.

Bookings throughout 2005 averaged 79 per month with an all time record in November of 102. Finding time slots in the week to clean and maintain the Hall is becoming a real practical problem.

A celebratory event was held in January 2006 when everyone was thanked who had contributed to the Hall’s improvements and to its day to day running. Nicky led those present in a prayer of thanks and rededication

The Annexe is next to receive some tender loving care. It has already been rewired and planning permission is being sought to replace all the rotting and broken windows. Unless these essential improvements are carried out, this building will have no longer term viable future.

Despite rising costs – heating is a major expense with the four big gas heaters equivalent to a very big central heating boiler – the high level of usage of the Hall plus a modest rise in the hire charge is keeping the finances on a healthy footing.

To those of you who do all the work (and you know who you are!). Thank you.

Martin Hooper

Home Communions
It has again been my great joy during the last year to be able to take Communion to our two nursing homes, and De Mowbray sheltered accommodation cottages. This year sadly, I will be saying 'good bye' to Rev. Carole Homes, who has shared this joy with me these past years. Carole and Edward will be moving to Guernsey, where we wish her and Edward many Blessings, and assure her that she will be supported with all our prayers, as they start their new life in this gorgeous Island.

We shall be welcoming our New Methodist minister Rev. Elizabeth Clark, later this year and I look forward to being able to share this ministry with her.

On the first Wednesday of each month I go to Cherry Garth. There have been about 7 people who have come regularly to the services, although sadly two of the regular communicants have died this year. We have welcomed others, which has been lovely. Some join us when they are in for respite care, which is always a joy.

Dorothy Kettlewell has continued to 'muster the Troops' always making sure that the residents are aware when the service is to be.

On the third Wednesday, I go to Sowerby House, where we have about 6 people who faithfully attend each month. An ecumenical group, which is great!

I then go across the road to de Mowbray House, where about 8 people gather from their sheltered accommodation homes, to join me for their Communion in the lovely dining room. They are such a lively group, and always a joy to be with.

I also take Communion to Sue Kennedy's mum, Olga Miller, (who I know several of you know) She was a very loyal member of our congregation, until she found it too taxing to come to church, but she did manage to come to the Christingle service at Christmas!

I always feel so very privileged to be licensed to do this rewarding task, which I thoroughly enjoy.

Trisha

Mothers’ Union
We hold our meetings on the fourth Thursday of each month commencing at 7.30pm in the Parochial Hall. Our July meeting is usually held at another church, after which we have a meal. We do not have a meeting in August or December.

Our officers are: Elizabeth Worsnop – Branch Leader; Dorothy Watson – Secretary, and Barbara Thornton – Treasurer

We have had a variety of speakers during the last year, who have included Barry and Liz Thompson, Margaret Barber and Audrey Powell, our own Pauline Alderson, Rev Rot Burley - padre with 40 Regt RA, Joanne Pospieszalski, Rev Bob Lewis, and Mr Stan Josephs.

We are always looking for new and especially younger members to join. If you are interested please speak to Elizabeth.

Children’s work - Sunday School
Sunday School have now changed their name to ‘Kids Club’ which has two groups called Trackers & Trailblazers, these groups continue to meet on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sunday of each month. There are 17 children on the register with an average attendance of 10 each week. We continue to start each session with praise and worship and the children now have quite a repertoire of songs that are often used in Family worship.
In December we held our annual Nativity, this took place in a 9.30 am service which was much easier for the children, they once again surpassed themselves with an account of ‘A Christmas Story’ through the eyes of a baby donkey.

We are privileged to have a team of six leaders on the rota for Kids Club and value their time and commitment, however two people will be stepping down at the end of summer which will leave a space for new leaders.

Children’s work - Youth
Trax & Cogs have once again had a very busy year, with a sleepover, bowling, pizza nights, film & food nights, and BBQ (we do other things as well as eat!). We completed a study using a dvd called The Quest, this was very interesting, it raised many discussions and challenges for our journey with God.

Our outreach with youth work continued with our annual Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp at Paradise Farm in May which 43 young people attended. Amongst the games, dance, drama, worship, crafts and activities we focused on ‘The God of Community’. This weekend is an amazing time for us to meet and share with youth groups from the Deanery, giving us an opportunity to switch off from the outside world and focusing on sharing our faith through fun and fellowship with friends old and new.

We had our soup, sausages (more food) and songs round the bonfire as an alternative to Halloween at Paradise Farm at the end of October. This event is growing and is a great opportunity to invite younger children with their parents to join us. The older youth make a brilliant job of leading us in songs and wide games.

In February we once again took a group to XL & XS at York Minster, this is a wonderful opportunity for our small groups to join other young people (around 600 on each night) in sharing their faith and journey with God.

We are at this time planning a sleepover for April 1st and to lead the Worship for All Service on the 2nd, we are also preparing for The Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp in May when four of our members will take on roles of junior leaders.

Children’s work - Outreach to the Community
Last Easter and Christmas we held workshops which were attended by 63 & 66 children respectively. Over 60% of these children do not attend a church, although many of them have become regular attendees of our workshops and joining us for special services at Christmas. On average 20% of the children came along to a workshop for the first time.

In July we held Seaside Rock, a holiday Club for 5-11 year olds which ran for five days. We were delighted to have our friends form Sowerby Methodist join us for this event, the camaraderie of the team allowed this event to be the success it became, over 35 adults throughout the week gave time and commitment in one way or another. The event was attended by 54 children from our surrounding area, 16 of those had not been to a workshop before and 34 had no church background. The week ended with a service in St. Oswald’s when most of the children brought along their families to see and hear what they had been doing throughout the week. The success of Seaside Rock prompted us to continue the work with these children in the future and we formed a group called First Friday. This has been running since September, it is split into two age groups, 5-8 and 9-12, it meets on the First Friday of each month between 6.00-9.00pm at the Methodist Rooms with leaders from both churches sharing the planning and the running of the group.

I would like to add that it has been a great year for us all who work with children and young people in Sowerby, the joining together of the churches has enabled us to expand our outreach towards the children in our community. I would like to thank Rev Carole Holmes and her team for their enthusiasm and friendship as we have worked together over the past year.

Children’s work - What next?
An Easter workshop is planned for Tuesday 11th April 1.30-3.30pm. Plans are well on the way for the 4th Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp on 12th-14th May. Pyramid Rock is this year’s holiday club which again will be joint with Sowerby Methodist, the dates are 24-30th July.

We are in the very early stages of looking at the possibility of employing a children and youth worker in Sowerby which would enable the work we are doing now to continue and expand in the future.

Many thanks are due to many people, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your commitment, your skills and your loyalty, for donations of your time and finance, for your dedication to serve and pray for children and young people giving them an opportunity of knowing and growing in a relationship with an amazing awesome God that we serve.

Pauline Alderson

Pram Service
Q: What is Pram Service?
A: A half hour, informal service in church which includes Bible stories, singing and playing instruments, praying and creative activities.

Q: When does it happen?
A: On the first Friday of each month at 12 noon (except school holidays when we don’t meet).

Q: Who is Pram Service for?
A: Pre-school children and their parents, grandparents and carers……….and anyone else who would like to pop in and see what goes on!

Q: What happens after the service?
A: We all go to the Parochial Hall at about 12.30 to have some lunch together, to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat (the older ones) and have a run around (the younger ones).

Q: Who makes the lunch?
A: A very kind group of ladies who prepare the food, set it all out, make us welcome and tidy up afterwards. A big THANK YOU to them!

Q: Do we have fun?
A: Yes!

Q: How many people come?
A: Numbers vary from month to month but we have had an average of 8 adults and 10 children this year and several new families have recently joined us. Some have also started coming to the ‘First Sunday – Worship for all’ and to Kids Club on a Sunday, which is great.

Q: What can you do to help?
A: Please pray for this outreach to children and families, continue to welcome them when they manage to come to church ( a special thank you to David Tucker for always making time to talk to the children!), sign up to help on the lunch rota if you are able to and please come and join us if you are ever free on a first Friday lunch time. If anyone would like to help with leading Pram Service please let me know.

Helen Irving

Meeting of quiet reflection
The meeting of quiet reflection began in May 2005, and met every first Wednesday of the month at my home.

Using the Celtic tradition, we explored our journey of faith together, which involved stillness, silence, music poetry, prayers and meditation, offering creative ways to connect with God.

The meeting was open to Church members and non-Church members, and has been well attended. The aim was to provide a safe space and to offer love, support and encouragement. The whole experience has been very positive, and real friendships have been made.

Carol Cox

Alpha course
St Oswald's hosted an Alpha Course on Wednesday evenings for ten weeks from mid-September. The Alpha Course is a 15-session practical introduction to the Christian faith, aimed especially at people who don't go to church. Over 2 million people have attended Alpha Courses in the UK and St Oswald's Alpha Course is one of about 7,000 running in the UK or 31,000 worldwide.

One of the key principles of Alpha is to demonstrate Christian hospitality. Once again Val Blood gave up a substantial amount of her free time to put on a fabulous meal for the group every week. We are all extremely grateful to her. Thanks are also due to Wendy Bousfield and Helen Ashworth for helping to lead the group and also Nicky Carnall for her input. Last but certainly not least, we are all appreciative of your prayers.

The course in Autumn 2005 was the second course we had hosted as a church after a break from Alpha for several years. I had been warned at an Alpha conference that the second course is often the most difficult. The reason for this is that after an exciting first course, whose attendance includes many members of the church looking for a “refresher”, the second course can feel like a flop, with reduced numbers. Well, although the numbers were reduced, it certainly didn't feel anything like a flop! It is such a privilege to see God working in people's lives over the ten weeks of the course and thereafter.

An integral part of the course is the Away Day, for which we joined up with Jubilee Church in Middlesbrough. Those who attended the Invitation Supper for the previous course in September 2004 may remember the remarkable young man who spoke to us. He had attended Jubilee's Alpha Course whilst addicted to drugs and as a result of accepting Jesus managed to give them up completely and has now become an active member of the church. (As a post script, you may remember he spoke of his desire for his brother to become a Christian? Not only has he led his brother to Christ, but his dramatic turnaround was a powerful testimony to his parents who have also become Christians!) Anyway, we all thoroughly enjoyed the Away Day with Jubilee Church.

At the time of writing, we are half way through what is our third course, but our first daytime one. Again, it is such an honour to host people as they discover a relationship with Jesus and begin to see the Holy Spirit working in their lives.

Please pray for the course leaders as we plan the next course and a follow-up to the current course.

Ruth & Dan Sladden

PS On a wider note, I am still very involved with the Alpha organisation, being both an Alpha Adviser and also on the board of Alpha North which oversees about 2,000 courses across the north of the UK and has its office in York. Alpha North is currently looking for supporters to enable it to maintain its impact in the region. A donation of £5 a month would make a real difference. If you are able to help, I'd be delighted to tell you more about it. Dan.

Sunday readers
Part of our Ministry is the readings from the Bible at Sunday morning service. A team of readers share this work. During the interregnum, this was one of the fixed points. It is also another means for members of the congregation to make their contribution to worship and the life of St Oswald’s.

After Nicky arrived, the PCC agreed to a change from three to two readings during the Sunday morning service.

I would like to thank the whole team for their dedication to this vital input into our services.

David Tucker

Outlook Magazine
About 700 copies of Outlook are printed 10 times a year for the Anglican and Methodist Churches in the Sowerby, Sessay and Thirsk areas for 30p a month or £3 a year. Subscription is due in January and can be handed to your delivery person. We in Sowerby and Sessay handle nearly 400 of them. Each issue has about 28 pages, giving details of each Church's calendar along with reports of organisations in the parish or locality.

Comments or ideas are always welcome for inclusion from any of our member Church's congregation would be welcomed by Richard Etherington. Articles sent as attachments by email can be typed in 16 point font in any typeface, although New Times Roman and Arial are our normal ones. If they are just in an email, I can copy, paste and edit accordingly. The normal closing date is round the 15th of the month, after which the copy is taken, when ready, to Thirsk Printers.

Annual advertising is handled by Mrs Jill Brown who will be pleased to provide you with the details if you wish. Subscriptions, sales and distribution for Sowerby is handled by Mrs Sue Kennedy. Members of other churches in the circulation area should contact their Church Wardens or Minister for details.

Richard Etherington

Website
The church website www.stoswaldsowerby.org.uk provides information about St Oswald’s, 24 hours every day, to anyone with access to the internet. The first and most important audience is those people who do not attend St Oswald’s but are wanting to know more or are considering coming to the church - the site offers them an ideal way to find out about the church.

In January 2006 at least 278 visits were made to the website (a visit comprises any number of pages accessed by one computer in any period of three hours and excludes all access by search engine robots):
» on average each visit involved the viewing of 3.2 pages.
» the pages most viewed first were Home (42%); Annual Report (18%) History (13%); and News (6%).
» the pages most viewed overall were Home (26%); People (11%); History (10%); Annual Report (10%); Services (7%); Groups (6%); Hall (4%); and Contact (4%).

It is not possible to say how many visits were made by local people. However there is evidence that local people do use the website - during the recent interregnum nine local people emailed the church (using an email address available only on the site) seeking information about baptisms, weddings etc.

More could be made of the opportunities that a website offers, at no or little extra cost. There is lots of space for more words and photographs – suggestions are always welcomed. It is also possible to have a ‘church email address’ – please ask!

Neil Irving

Bellringers - Tower Captain’s report
The year has been one of consolidation. Over the last year we have continued to ring the bells at St Oswald’s for the main service most Sundays and for some special services, including Nicky’s licensing. Sadly, this year we were unable to ring in the New Year. The bells were also rung for about half a dozen weddings during the year. Although there are now a number of ringers in and around Sowerby, we are often few in number and I am especially grateful to all those who attend practices and, especially, service ringing week by week. We are grateful too for regular guest appearances by Pauline who has often helped out when we have been short on Sunday mornings.

Since September we have held joint teaching sessions with St. Mary’s, Thirsk. These sessions, on tied bells before the Thursday practice, are an opportunity to teach beginners to handle a bell and for others to hone their handling skills. We are grateful for the commitment shown by Mike. Victoria and Casey-Leigh, two local youngsters, are making good progress and are now ringing rounds unaided.

The St Oswald’s ringers span a wide age range from “not quite teens” to “Senior Citizen”. All, from Alice to Keith, play a valuable role and continue to develop their skills. Amongst, our younger ringers: Thomas is now learning to ring call changes, Charlotte is accomplished at basic method ringing and Alex and Alice are useful members of the band.

We are grateful for the support of regular visitors including Tony, on Sundays in summer, and Anne on Thursdays. We have continued to work with the ringers at St Mary’s, Thirsk and are pleased to have had their support, especially from Geoff and Mike.

During the year we have sought to extend our repertoire of methods and, amongst others, have attempted St Simon’s and Bastow Little Court Doubles as well as more standard fare. There were no quarter peals or ringing outings during the year.

We are grateful to Andrew for undertaking the routine maintenance required. Thanks also to Sue for arranging wedding ringing and secretarial duties and Neil for keeping the books. I am grateful also to Heather for assisting with teaching. Thanks too to Helena and all the Moss family for welcoming everyone to their home year by year for the Annual Meeting.

John Limbach

Social Committee
March 28 and 29th 2005 was the weekend of the Daffodil Festival. The daffodils were all out and visitors were able to stroll around the churchyard and Front Street to enjoy their beauty. In Church the Easter Flower Arrangements were lovely and visitors enjoyed looking round, there was also a display by local craftsmen and artists. Refreshments were served throughout the festival. Many thanks to Martin Hooper for organizing the display.

The 6th September was the Induction of our Priest In Charge, Nicky Carnall. We organized refreshments for parishioners and guests afterwards.

Our Parish Lunch was on Sunday 12th February. This was well attended and greatly enjoyed by all. We are looking forward to organizing a lunch for the Historic Churches Trust on June 10th and on June 23rd we have been asked to prepare a lunch for the Archbishop of York and Clergy.

There was a quiz on March 18th in the Parochial Hall, in the hands of the Sowerby Methodists who won the quiz last year (and again this year!)

We are busy organizing another Daffodil Festival which will last 3 days from Easter Saturday - Easter Monday. This will include an Art Exhibition and various crafts stalls with refreshments being served throughout the Festival. The weekend will conclude with a Brass Band Concert organized by Martin Hooper.

We would like to thank all members of our congregation for all the help we have received on so many occasions, we couldn't do it without your support.

Sowerby Music
Alongside a dozen concerts in St Oswald’s Church and nearly as many excursions to operas and music events in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, the past year has seen four notable achievements:
» Sowerby Music’s 200th Concert.
» The award to Martin Hooper of Making Music’s ‘Lady Hilary Groves Prize 2005’ for his outstanding contribution to music in the community.
» The tenth year of ‘Music For Life’ where Sowerby Music organizes professional music concerts and workshops to 32 local Primary Schools and to 3,500 children every year.
» The identification of and presentation to Sowerby Music’s 25,000th member of the audience since the society formed in 1987.

The Society has had an outstanding concert year enjoying performances from international quality artists including Raphael Wallfisch (cello), the singers Lynne Dawson (soprano) and James Bowman (counter tenor) along with renowned chamber music groups The Avison Ensemble, the Sacconi Quartet and most recently The Hermitage String Trio.

Our thanks to St Oswald’s for all the support given to Sowerby Music across the years.

Martin Hooper

Mowbray Deanery Synod
St Oswald’s has three representatives on the Mowbray Deanery Synod; Jill Drew, Joan Oldfield and myself, Gayle Hartley. Rev Nicky also attends the meetings.

The Synod new year began in July 2005, members were keen to make future meetings accessible and open and not always about finance! With this in mind we have listened to presentations on the work at Wydale Hall, the work of the Heworth Moorhouse Trust(a charity that support young mothers), Revd Canon Cathy Rowling spoke about Clergy Terms of Service and Ann Lees spoke about the purpose of Church of England schools.

At each meeting we hear news of discussions from the General Synod and the York Diocesan Synod. There is an opportunity to advertise forthcoming events in our area. There is also a refreshment time when we are able to chat to members from other parishes.

Gayle Hartley

Choir
Normally the Director of Music, Matt Dowdy, would write something about the choir, but this is our opportunity to write something about him!

During the year, the choir has sung a wide range of music. As well as providing support for the congregation at 9.30am Sunday service, we have sung at special services, St Mary’s and North Otterington. The visit to North Otterington was a very moving and different event for us.

We have sung traditional music and modern. We even latterly acquired a set of conga drums.

We are not music scholars. We enjoy being in the choir immensely. Friday evening choir practice is a wonderful way to end the week. Matt has introduced us to the range of music we have sung. He has shown imagination, teaching skill and patience as we have learnt not only the notes and the beat but how to put meaning and life into what we sing.

Traidcraft
As the UK’s leading fair trade organisation, Traidcraft works with more than 100 producer groups in over 30 countries around the world. What unites every area of our work is our mission to fight poverty through trade. Traidcraft plc buys food, craft and textile items from marginalised producers in Africa, Asia and Latin Central America to primarily sell in the UK.

Traidcraft is the most positive and direct way of helping those who need help in the third world.

Traidcraft goods are on sale after each Sunday 9.30am service in the south transept.

Sue Binns

Arc Light support
Arc Light is a charity based in York and dedicated to helping the homeless. As well as providing a shelter by day and night for those who are the most difficult to help, drug addicts and alcoholics, it offers rehabilitation.

This year saw the opening of its outreach facility “Baselines” where a small number can be helped to new skills away from the main unit in Leeman Road.

Members of St Oswald’s, the Methodist Church in Sowerby and local schools have made, this year as in previous years, a wonderful contribution to the work of Arc Light by finding bedding, clothes – socks are high premium goods! – and other things, including exceptionally a television and a lot of items to help start Baselines.

They also gave that most important help, spiritual support for the difficult work the staff of trained workers and volunteers carry out under their Director, Jeremy Jones.

I was privileged to attend Arc Light’s 5th anniversary party during the year.

A great thank you to everyone who has supported this most practical of Christian caring during the past year.

David Tucker


Annual reports since 2004


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