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

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Annual report 2009


Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2009


Priest in Charge: Revd Nicola Carnall

Website: www.stoswaldsowerby.org.uk

Independent Examiner: Mr WG Pearson ACA, FCCA

Bankers: Yorkshire Bank (Main Account), HSBC, Standard Life, Cooperative Bank

Church Architect: Linda Lockett

Administrative information

St Oswald's Church is situated in Sowerby in North Yorkshire. It is part of the Diocese of York within the Church of England. The correspondence address is: The Vicarage, The Close, Sowerby, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1JA.

Members of the Parochial Church Council

Members of the PCC are either ex officio or elected by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) in accordance with the Church Representation Rules. In 2009 the APCM was held on 15 March.
During the year the following served as members of the PCC:

Priest in Charge: The Revd Nicola Carnall (Chair)

Churchwardens: Heather Limbach (Vice Chair), Frances Elliott (to 23 January), David Tucker (from APCM)

Deanery Synod Reps: Jill Drew, Gayle Hartley, Ruth Sladden

Reader: Diana Wild

Elected Members:
Pauline Alderson (from APCM to 12 Nov)
Helen Ashworth
Emma Benoit (from 28 April)
Sue Busuttil (from APCM) (Secretary from APCM)
Helen Irving
John Kennedy
Graham Merriam (Treasurer)
Chris Penfold (from APCM)
Kath Reynard (to APCM)
Martin Ridsdale
David Thorne (to APCM)
David Tucker (to APCM) (Secretary until APCM)
Margaret Turner (to APCM)
Jean West
Hannah Wright
Janette Yates

Structure, governance and management

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is a corporate body established by the Church of England. It operates under the Parochial Church Council Powers Measure. The PCC is in the process of registering as a separate charity with the Charity Commission. The method of appointment of PCC members is set out in the Church Representation Rules. All Church attendees are encouraged to register on the Electoral Roll and stand for election to the PCC.

Objective of the PCC

St Oswald’s PCC works with the Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Nicola Carnall, in promoting in the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.

Review of the year

Mission Theme

At St Oswald’s we are trying to live out Jesus’ call to love God and love our neighbour. Two banners were made by church members during the year to remind us of this.

Organisation

Our main decision-making body is the Parochial Church Council which meets six times a year. This is supported by the Standing Committee, consisting of Priest-in-Charge, Churchwardens, Treasurer and Secretary. In addition there are a number of working groups which report to PCC. These are: Mission Group, Worship Group, Pastoral Care Group, Events Group, Buildings Group, Parochial Hall Group, Communications Group, CandY (Children & Youth) Worker Group, Refresh Review Group, Children & Youth Team.

Church attendance

Average Sunday attendance in 2009 was 82 adults and 11 children. This is a slight increase in adults and decrease in children compared with 2008, but it should be noted that much of our work with children happens on other days in the week. The electoral roll at the annual meeting in 2009 was 154 - an increase of 6 on the previous year.

Children & young people

In January a diocesan service was held to celebrate the ministry of youth and children’s leaders. At St Oswald’s we have continued with the many different regular groups for children and young people, and also the special events like Holiday Club, Laser Light Party, Christmas and Easter Workshops, Youth Cafe and Deanery Youth Camp. A small group has met during the year to consider employing someone to help develop our youth and children’s work. Their recommendations will be presented to PCC in 2010.

Community involvement

During the year there were 9 weddings, 30 funerals and 34 baptisms (12 more baptisms than the previous year!) In February a well-attended wedding preparation afternoon was held in church for the first time. As well as the evening services at Cherry Garth, in which members of St Oswald’s are regularly involved, eucharistic ministers continue to take communion to Cherry Garth, Sowerby House, The Limes and to people in their own homes who are unable to get to church. In addition, a monthly Communion service has begun in the Lambert Hospital.

The Get Together Club provides an opportunity for older people to come together on a weekly basis. A new and exciting development this year has been Sowerby Luncheon Club which began in April, with members of St Oswald’s providing a cooked meal for older residents of Sowerby on a monthly basis. The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community, and the church building too is used by a variety of groups for visits, services, concerts, etc. The Churchyard continues to be much visited and much appreciated by the whole community. St Oswald’s has enthusiastically continued its support of The Clock in its work with young people in Thirsk, and there are strong links with local schools, especially Sowerby Community Primary School. St Oswald’s also supported a community event at The Paddocks in Sowerby.

Pastoral Care

Much informal caring takes place between members of St Oswald’s and the Pastoral Care Team tries to supplement this where necessary. The Prayer Circle has been re-launched with email and telephone lists. Cards and gifts are given to church members on special occasions.

Worship

Our worship pattern has continued largely unchanged during the year, although we have included a few non-eucharistic services into the 9.30am slot to bring a greater variety into our worship. We continue to be very grateful to our Readers, retired clergy and others who help to lead our worship. We are fortunate to have an excellent and versatile choir and organist who enable us to experience a wide range of music. Big Sing also provides a good opportunity for members of the congregation to learn new songs. We have benefited from the gifts of other musicians at our First Sunday Worship for All services. Refresh Cafe Church continues to meet one Sunday a month at 11am in the Parochial Hall.

Communications

The quarterly newspaper ‘Sowerby Now’ has continued to be appreciated within the local community, and the monthly ‘Saints Alive’ is a useful source of information for church members in Sowerby and Sessay. Notice boards in the church and Parochial Hall are kept more up-to-date and information is attractively presented. A new community notice board is being prepared for display outside the Crown & Anchor. A church family contacts list is being developed, along with information for newcomers to church. The website continues to be an excellent up-to-date source of information about the church.

Developing ministry

Dan Sladden was recommended to train for ordained Pioneer Ministry during the year, and Carol Cox is now in her second year of training for Reader ministry. People are encouraged to use their gifts and develop their ministries in many different ways within the church and community. Training events were held for sides people and those leading intercessions.

Mission

We have supported many national and international mission organisations through the year. We were pleased to host a visit from Tim and Kate Lee, our CMS mission partners who work with Jigsaw Kids’ Ministries in the Philippines. We also had a guest preacher from the South American Mission Society at Harvest, and our Harvest Supper followed a South American theme. Many members of St Oswald’s were involved in door-to-door collections in Christian Aid Week. We held a special service on ‘Back to Church Sunday’ which was well-attended.

Special Events

A Daffodil Festival was held again at Easter this year and a Coffee, Cakes & Crafts event was held in November. Enjoyable meals were provided as part of the Agape Supper on Maundy Thursday and the Harvest Supper.

Ecumenical

We have continued our involvement with Churches Together: Thirsk & District, hosting events during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and having three representatives on the Churches Together Committee. We have worked together even more closely with Sowerby Methodist Church, adding new joint events at Pentecost, Harvest and Christmas to others begun in previous years. We were particularly delighted that Rev Elizabeth Clark, Methodist minister, was given permission by the Archbishop to preside at the joint ‘Midnight’ Communion service at St Oswald’s on Christmas Eve.

Groups

Several groups met for fellowship, Bible study and learning together during the year. In addition the Mothers’ Union had a full programme of activities.

Church buildings

During the year a Buildings Group was set up to take forward the recommendations from the parish away day. These included making the church available for all and being able to use the space more flexibly for worship, private prayer and social activities. Hence an Archdeacon’s Licence for Temporary Reordering was obtained and the pews from the north aisle were moved to the south transept immediately after Christmas and the choir moved to a number of locations around the sanctuary area in the autumn. The Quinqennial inspection was held in the autumn. There are a number of actions needed to maintain the building, all of which were known about and will be actioned. The south nave doorway stone surround was also assessed for conservation works in December. All routine maintenance and checks have been undertaken during the year and recorded in the church log.

The future

Discussions are underway about a group of three local parishes becoming joined with Sowerby and Sessay under the same incumbent. This will obviously bring many changes if it takes place, not least to the pattern of services. It is hoped that all members of St Oswald’s will embrace this change positively, seeing it as an opportunity to grow in our relationships and to develop the ministry of every member of the body of Christ.

Thanks

I am very grateful to all at St Oswald’s who work so hard and with so much dedication for the benefit of the church and wider community. May we continue to love God and our neighbour as we seek to serve Christ in this place.

Approved by the PCC on 16 March 2010 and signed on their behalf.

The Revd Nicola Carnall
Priest in Charge and Chair of PCC


Annual accounts 2009 (PDF file)


A Year in the Life of St Oswald's, Sowerby 2009
Some of the many things going on in St Oswald's Church


inside St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Churchwardens' report


I thought I knew quite a bit about the day to day running of St Oswald's until I began my service as a churchwarden. Services don't just happen - someone has to open up, get the candles lit and unlock the emergency exits, not to mention checking the supply of kitchen paper in the toilet and that the sidespeople and readers and leader of intercessions on the rota have turned up. We don't do all those things personally but we have to make sure they happen.

My first year as a churchwarden happened to coincide with the quinquennial inspection, the 5-yearly top-to-toe examination of the church by the church architect. I had never been right up to the top of the church tower. This involves climbing through the bells and tackling a ladder by climbing on its underside, then swinging round to the top of it!

Under the wing of my fellow churchwarden Heather, who has been a pillar of support throughout, and has tolerated my mistakes and omissions with immense calm, I have worked on my first petition for a faculty, which is an application to the Diocese for permission to carry out any form of permanent work on the church. It's quite a form.

We have also applied for a licence to carry out temporary works of moving the north aisle pews and the choir and the priest's seat, which is a different format and requires a different strategy.

St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, in the snow

It is a great responsibility with which the congregation has entrusted us. It is also a great privilege to serve God and the congregation in this way.
Oh, and then there is the little matter of the most significant change in the running of St Oswald's for many years: the plan to incorporate the parishes of Thirkleby, Kilburn and Bagby with Sowerby and Sessay, which will change greatly how Nicky does her work and the support she will need from her churchwardens, PCCs and congregations.

What more could a second year bring?

David Tucker


Building Report

During the year a buildings group was set up to take forward the recommendations from the parish away day. These included making the church available for all and being able to use the space more flexibly for worship, private prayer and social activities. Hence an Archdeacons Licence was obtained and the pews from the north aisle were moved to the south transept immediately after Christmas and the choir moved to a number of locations around the sanctuary area in the autumn.

North aisle of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

The Quinquennial inspection was held in the autumn. There are a number of actions needed to maintain the building, all of which were known about and will be actioned. The south nave doorway stone surround was also assessed for conservation works in December. All routine maintenance and checks have been undertaken during the year and recorded in the church log.

Heather Limbach
David Tucker


Secretary's Report

When Graham Merriam asked me over the garden hedge if I would consider taking on the role of PCC secretary I can honestly say that I had no idea what the role would entail or indeed if I had the knowledge or qualities required to perform it. Walter, my husband, had always chuckled at my lack of prowess in the word processing department and I had absolutely no knowledge about the intricacies of the Church of England organisation. For instance - 'What is the difference between an Archdeacon and a Rural Dean' or 'How many deaneries make a diocese?'

So, twelve months on and how do I feel? Well, I'm still not sure that I can answer the last two questions but I have learnt a lot about the work of the PCC, Quinquennial reports and the need to apply for a faculty before we can make any changes to our beautiful church. I also think my word processing skills have improved (a little).

So what does go on behind those committee room doors? I obviously can't go through every item that has been discussed or decided on over the last twelve months but I shall try to give a quick resume of those things that have stood out most for me.

Many of the decisions made by the committee over the last year have been about the general maintenance of the church and the churchyard, which I suppose isn't that surprising considering the age and size of St Oswald's.

The five yearly Quinquennial report had highlighted a number of areas we needed to work on. Early in 2009 we agreed that a faculty should be applied for to allow repairs to the churchyard boundary walls and pollarding of lime trees. The siting of a gate-like structure for the existing space in our Northern boundary wall between ourselves and Mr Alderson's was also approved at this time (subject to a suitable design)
.
working on trees in the church yard of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

More recently faculties have been applied for to enable essential roof and flashing work to be carried out as well as preservation work on the arch around the South Doorway and the siting of two memorial benches in the churchyard.

Another area which the PCC has discussed in considerable detail over the last year and which will have been obvious to everyone is the experimental re-ordering within the church. The pews have been moved from the north aisle to the south transept and the coffee area has moved in the opposite direction. The choir have also been on a tour of the church as has Nicky's chair. We had to apply for permission to allow this to happen so that we could try to ascertain what did, and did not work, before any permanent changes can be considered. I'm sure that there will be much more discussion on this subject!

Finance is a subject which appears on the PCC agenda on a fairly frequent basis and Graham Merriam has done a wonderful job preparing the accounts and making recommendations on a reserves policy and draft investment policy. He showed immense patience talking the committee through all these before they could be approved.

This year St Oswald's was in the very fortunate position of having a small excess of resources, even allowing for our reserves policy, and the PCC agreed that £15,000 should be paid over to York Diocesan Board of Finance to help with the shortfall in the deanery share. We were also able to approve away giving of a further £3,500 which was split between the Careforce charity which Becca Stevens is working for in Wales, Habitat for Humanity, the charity that Neil Irving did work for in Bangladesh, The Church Army and The Jigsaw Project.

In November I actually met an Archdeacon! The Venerable Paul Ferguson (Archdeacon of Cleveland) came to talk to the PCC about the Bagby, Thirkleby and Kilburn parishes. Rev Robin Davill had now left his post at these parishes where he had been serving on a nominal half time basis. Taking into account the small population of these villages and the fact that the number of clergy in the deanery had to come down they were considering the possibility of extending Nicky's role to include these three villages as well. He explained to the committee the likely chain of events if this was agreed to be the way forward and then went on to answer questions from the PCC members.

church yard of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Although the questions raised by the committee showed obvious concern for Nicky's welfare and workload the committee generally felt very positive about the possible change and saw it as a wonderful opportunity for moving forward. They felt that the parishes had a lot they could share with each other.

At the PCC's most recent meeting in March, Gayle Hartley and Neil Irving gave a presentation to the committee on the work of the CANDY group. This group have been working hard all year investigating the possibility of creating a post for a Children and Young People Development worker. The group recognised the fact that St Oswald's already has an excellent team of volunteers working with children and young people but that they are now at full stretch .A paid worker would be able to develop the already existing work in the parish and co-ordinate the continuing work of volunteers. The PCC agreed that this post should be created and as much work has already been done regarding job descriptions and terms of contract a worker could be in place as early as September 2010.

Well - I think that that's the end of my whistlestop tour of my first year as PCC secretary. I hope that if, like me, you wondered what on earth went on behind those committee room doors that you now feel a little more enlightened. I'm sure that with the likely changes that as a church we have a very exciting year ahead of us, full of wonderful opportunities.

Sue Bussutil


Pastoral Care Group

There have been three meetings during the year. Members of the group have been Sandra Barnett, Trisha Bennett, Nicky and Chris Carnall, Carol Cox, Kath Reynard and Honor Tucker.

Our primary focus is to try and ensure that members of our congregation receive visits and support when they are going through difficult times because of illness or for any other reason.

praying hands

Trisha, Carol and Nicky report back on the extended communions they have provided in people's homes and also at Sowerby House and Cherrygarth Nursing Homes and in The Limes. There is also feedback from the Cherrygarth evening service, which we are responsible for leading every six weeks.

During the year a monthly communion service was started at the Lambert Hospital. This is usually led by Nicky with support from other local clergy as necessary.

We have held some discussions on the action points given to this group following the PCC Awayday. Prayer in the Lady Chapel after services has potentially become easier now coffee is being served in the north aisle. From time to time a reminder about this is placed in the notice sheet. Trisha has placed some prayers in the Lady Chapel to help with this, or for individuals to use on their own. The Prayer Circle has been relaunched, with both a telephone and email facility.

Whilst not organised by the Pastoral Care Group, the Sowerby Luncheon Club has been an excellent initiative, and a source of much informal caring for older people within the community.

The churchwardens have drafted a Vulnerable Adults policy.

There have been some discussions about lifts being offered to church. This happens informally, but we would like to be able to offer this on a more formal basis. Anyone interested in organising this should have a word with a member of the group.

Nicky Carnall


Sowerby Luncheon Club

This new initiative to bring together some of the elderly folk of Sowerby, many of whom are living on their own, had its first meal together on April 22 2009 and has been ongoing once a month since then. August is taken as a month off and December took the form of a Carol Service with light refreshments which was a popular and well supported event.

The emergence of Sowerby Now! as an effective way to communicate with the whole community was the stimulus in setting up the Luncheon Club. 34 people came to the first meal and this has steadily risen to 50 by February 2010.

A hot main course and sweet is followed by tea or coffee and this for an all in price of £2.50. The menu varies every time - at least so far!

Apart from enjoying the food, everyone appreciates the opportunity of a friendly get together and Nicky has the chance to get to know people who she is otherwise unable to see.

The helpers are invaluable with much of the cooking shared with Margaret Turner, Diana Ridsdale, Trish Bennett and Joan Oldfield. Helpers on the day include Pat Bennett, Chris Penfold, Barbara Thornton, Rita, Honor Tucker, Ann Simmonite ,Margaret Rush, Martin Ridsdale, John Kennedy and Martin Hooper. Thank you to everyone and more volunteers always welcome.

The inadequate oven at the Hall makes catering difficult and it is hoped that this will be upgraded sometime. By running at a small profit each month and from donations from the members, the Luncheon Club hopes that one day it can make a modest contribution to improvements in this area.

Eleanor Hooper


Worship Group

There have been three meetings during the year. Members of the group have been Pauline Alderson, Chris and Nicky Carnall, Helen Irving, Graham Merriam, Chris Penfold and Diana Wild.

At each meeting we review services recently held - what went well, what we could do better, etc. We also discuss future services, especially getting teams together for First Sundays.

stained glass window at St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Discussions have been held about how best to welcome children and families into church, whilst at the same time respecting the needs and views of older members of the congregation. The 'Refreshing Worship' pack from York Diocese was welcomed. One home group have already used it, and another is considering its use in the near future.

We reviewed Worship for All services on a first Sunday. The opportunity for less formal worship, with more contemporary songs and all ages meeting together is still appreciated. There was a desire to encourage more families to come to this - particularly those involved with First Friday and other children's activities. A breakfast was held prior to the Worship for All service in February. This was well attended by church members and visitors and was very much enjoyed. Breakfasts are to be held regularly before Worship for All services from May onwards.

If and when Thirkleby, Bagby and Kilburn are added to the Sowerby/Sessay group there will need to be significant changes to the pattern of services. The group has looked at a possible new pattern, which will involve new times and more lay-led worship for both morning services.

Nicky Carnall


Events Group

Our group was only formed after the AGM, since when we've had a list of setbacks, including the death of David Thorne, a very enthusiastic member with lots of ideas which, sadly, he wasn't able to carry out.

Our greatest success has been the Luncheon Club, instigated by Eleanor Hooper. This hosts and cooks lunch every month for about 50 Sowerby people, most of whom are elderly, single and live alone. We have also organised the Harvest Supper, the Coffee, Cakes and Crafts event and in 2010 a Parish Lunch, a lunch for the new Archbishop and deanery clergy and the Daffodil Festival. New ideas and new members are always welcome.

Margaret Turner


Communication Group

This group was formed 2 years ago to try to improve the way we communicate within and without our church. We are a small team, Sue Binns is mainly responsible for the notices and boards, she has an artistic flair when displaying notices.

We can only advertise events if we are given all the information in plenty of time.

communications group training session

David Tucker and Martin Hooper are in the group, so we get feedback on Sowerby Now, run as a completely separate entity.

"Saints Alive" has taken over from the old Outlook, it is free and only available in church, it is basically only church orientated. Nicky is in charge as editor(!) but not the printing and folding of the magazine. She may well need help this year.

A Sowerby Community Notice Board was spearheaded by Jill and Layla(from The Crown & Anchor) and now adorns the wall outside the pub.
With the trial move round of the church interior, we are again short of advertising space, but when we finalise the interior I am sure we will come up with some new ideas.

Jill Drew


SOWERBY NOW! from the Churches for the Community

With the demise of 'Outlook' the opportunity was taken to produce an entirely new communication which addressed everyone in Sowerby and brought them the news from the two Churches as part of the news of the whole community.

Produced quarterly, Edition 6 came out for Easter 2010 and over the past eighteen months the production team have learnt a lot about copy writing, layout, design and the best use of typefaces, fonts and photographs.

Recent editions are felt to be a whole lot better than the first attempts and feedback is, on the whole, encouragingly positive.

The aim is to return profits to the local community and to date donations have been made to ManDET, The Neil Project, Sowerby Luncheon Club and, most recently, a portable PA System has been purchased, to be borrowed by anyone running an event in the village.

Don't be backward in coming forward, articles, photographs and applications for grants can all be sent to or made to the Editor of Sowerby Now! c/o Sowerby Parish Council, 3 Sowerby Road, Thirsk, YO7 1HR or to editor@sowerbynow.org.uk

Thanks to the skilled 5 who make it all happen and the intrepid distribution teams!

Martin Hooper


Refresh

The monthly Cafe Church has continued to provide a worship space using contemporary worship songs, informal slots for Biblical teaching and reflection using film, testimony, spoken presentation, discussion and prayer. Occasional speakers from elsewhere have brought new insights, such as Isaac Lawrence, a Pakistani curate from Ripon. A feature of Refresh has been Helen's "green" slot to challenge our environmental awareness.

A small band - Sam on drums, Chris on guitar, Dan on keyboard or bass and Ruth vocals has led the singing; the welcoming coffee, tea and cakes continue to be a satisfying way to start! In the main, the younger children have started in the main hall and then gone off to their own activities with Emma and others, whilst older children stay in.

In February Refresh shared with the Youth Group in their Youth cafe.

Diana Wild


Children's work

Throughout the last year we have been developing Godly Play in kids club, we now have a good number of resources which we will continue to add to during the next year. Godly Play is extremely popular with the young children who enjoy 'wondering' about the stories which are told using visual aides.

First Friday has continued to grow over the past year, we have welcomed new children who joined us after attending the holiday club in the summer, some of our older children have now moved into our young youth group. There is a strong team who meet regularly to plan the activities for each month and arrive equipped with materials, stories, crafts and lots of enthusiasm at each session to lead the children in worship, games & creative prayer. This year the team were asked to organise the Laserlight party in October, 87 children attended and had a brilliant time!

children at craft day

We held our 10th Holiday Club during the summer holidays which was attended by 75 children, 23 of which had not been to a holiday club before. It was a particularly special year as many of those who took a lead role had themselves been youngsters in 1999 when we started this work. Also, most of our youth group had an active role during the week and they were inspired to actually write this year's holiday club. Our Christmas & Easter workshops were also very well attended with 54 and 56 children. Holiday Clubs & workshops continue to be our main outreach to children in the local community.

Youth group has expanded this year, we now have a young youth with 10 new members aged 11 & 12, they meet an hour before the older group & share games time together. All the youth were involved in the youth cafe in February which has continued to be very popular. One of the highlights over the past year was a trip to the beach last May when lots of fun was had by all!

Gayle & I have welcomed Sam & Pippa Chapman on the youth team who have brought fresh ideas and energy to the group.

Mowbray Deanery youth camp was back at Paradise Farm last year, 24 young people spent a great weekend being creative in art, craft, worship & drama. We welcomed visitors to our service on the Sunday morning.

We have a tremendous team who give their time & energy and are committed to praying and sharing the word and the love of God to children & young people in our community, I would like to thank each an every one who has been involved and made this work possible over the last year.

Pauline Alderson


Christian Aid

Christian Aid has been very well supported by St Oswald's Church this year and done very well in raising money despite the economic conditions.

For the house to house collection we struggled, as usual, to find enough volunteers and this coming year we will sorely miss Sue Kennedy who was one of our most ardent collectors. For years she had collected from over hundred houses in King's Gardens latterly supported by Sue Binns. Despite everything we raised a magnificent £1,558.

At the end of Christian Aid week we held a Friendship Lunch in the Parochial Hall which raised a further £100.

St Oswald's was well represented at the Carol Singing in Thirsk Market Place which attracted lots of singers, raised several hundred pounds and consumed large quantities of mince pies. Thanks to everyone who gives practical support to Christian Aid and to those who give so generously. More help is needed this coming year for the door to door collection. So please step forward.

Eleanor Hooper


Mothers' Union

Each month we have a speaker, these can be either religious or a little more light-hearted. We start the year with the Wave of Prayer Day which was held in Church. In February we hold our AGM and this is followed in March by our Annual Dinner, this year it was held at the Crown and Anchor. We visited Kilburn Church for our July meeting and this was followed by a meal at the Forrester Arms. Kilburn Church was where one of our members, Anne Coates, was married. The Mary Sumner Day Service which is held each year to celebrate the start of the Mothers' Union was held in Church. Members also attend various Deanery and Archdeaconry events during the year along with some Diocesan events. This year we hosted the Archdeaconry Quiet Day in July. One of the main highlights this year was the admission of two new members.

Our monthly meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Parochial Hall at 7.30pm and we are still looking for new members. Why don't you come along to one of our meetings and see what goes on? Male members are now accepted into the Mothers' Union.


Tuesday Group (or J10)

This group meets fortnightly on Tuesday mornings.

Most of the group are mums of school age children plus a couple of grandmothers, from Sowerby, Topcliffe, Sandhutton, Helperby, Alne and other churches, who met through Alpha.

J10, the alternative name for the group, comes from the J John DVD on the 10 commandments that the group have used, and been greatly helped by, twice. This year we've studied the Life of Esther from the Old Testament (and found lots of links with today's world and living a life of faith in it) and also the Diocesan Lent Course "Its All About Love".

The hallmark of the group is a sharing of life, its ups and downs, a lot of love as we learn to follow Jesus in everyday circumstances and prayer for the needs of others and our own. We laugh a lot - and sometimes cry. We welcome warmly anyone who comes. Contact Helen Ashworth for dates and times.

Diana Wild


Tower Captain's Report

During 2009, despite being challenged in terms of numbers, we were able to ring for many services, including most at the main festivals, with the help of our friends from Boltby, Thirkleby and Bagby, and from Thirsk, who have become key members of our band. We have usually been able to practice and have held a number of joint practices with our friends from Easingwold. We were able to ring for all the weddings for which bells were requested, with good support from Easingwold and occasionally from other towers. We are grateful to all who helped out.

During the summer we teamed up with friends from Easingwold to hold an evening outing to Kirby Hill and Boroughbridge. This was very successful and was followed by a most enjoyable bar meal.

We were delighted to welcome Ben as a new recruit in the autumn; we shall be sorry to see him go shortly and wish him well in his new job. During the summer we were pleased once again to receive regular visits from Tony Grey, who has a caravan here, and often boosts our numbers on a Sunday.

Sue Binns continues to work hard as our secretary, liaising with visiting ringers and keeping us in touch with the Yorkshire Association. We are grateful to all those who live nearby but outside the parish and support the ringing here. We would be pleased to welcome potential recruits and explain the delights of bell-ringing.

Heather and John Limbach


Mowbray Deanery Synod

The Deanery Synod meets three or four times each year to keep all parishes informed of decisions and discussions at Diocesan and National level. St Oswald's is represented by Nicky, Jill Drew, Gayle Hartley and Ruth Sladden.

Each meeting begins with a presentation by a speaker. This part of the evening is open to everyone who wishes to attend. During 2009 we have received presentations on the subjects of "Northallerton College and the churches in the community", the York Diocesan "Social Care Fund", "The Work of Christian Aid", "The Racial Justice Policy of the Diocese of York" and "A Way Ahead".

Presentations are followed by refreshments and a chance to chat to members from other parishes, to share worries or achievements from our own church's experience and to get to know each other.

We hear news of discussions from the York Diocesan Synod, we are updated on financial matters concerning the 'Parish Share' and there is an opportunity to advertise forthcoming events in our area. As part of the Synod's outreach, support is given to the Mowbray Deanery Youth Council and the running of its annual camp.

On 13 June 2010 at 6pm a Deanery Confirmation Service will take place.

Gayle Hartley


Church website

The church website www.stoswaldsowerby.org.uk provides information about St Oswald's, 24 hours every day, 365 days a year, to anyone with access to the internet. It is aimed at people who don't attend St Oswald's and want to find out more, but also contains information that is useful for people who do attend St Oswald's.

The website includes information about the church, the calendar of events, services, groups for children and adults, weddings and baptisms, the hall - as well as the history of St Oswald's, the latest annual report, and how to contact us and find us.

Whilst it isn't possible to say exactly how many local people visit the website, there is good evidence that local people do use the website to find information about the church, our activities and special services.

I normally update the website once a week. Please tell me if information about your group or activity needs adding or changing. Other suggestions and contributions are always welcomed; there is almost unlimited space for text, photos, audio and video files.

Neil Irving
webmaster@stoswaldsowerby.org.uk


Parochial Hall

The Parochial Hall provides a very useful and well-patronised community and church facility, with a remarkably wide range of activities taking place in the main hall and the committee room, from keep-fit and dance to flying model aeroplanes! It also provides an alternative venue for worship. The Management Group have continued to monitor use and to improve the facilities during the year, and I am grateful to them for the work they do - when things go well, it is often because of unseen work in the background!

David Tucker


Annual reports since 2004


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