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

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Annual report 2010


Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2010


Priest in Charge:
Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr WG Pearson ACA FCCA

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

Church Architect:
Linda Lockett

Website: www.stoswaldsowerby.org.uk

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 2010 the APCM was held on 18 April.

During the year the following served as members of the PCC:

Priest in Charge
The Revd Nicola Carnall Chair

Churchwardens
Heather Limbach Vice Chair
David Tucker

Deanery Synod Reps
Jill Drew
Gayle Hartley
Ruth Sladden

Reader
Diana Wild

Elected Members
Helen Ashworth (to APCM)
Emma Benoit
David Brooke (from APCM)
Sue Busuttil Secretary
Margaret Creighton (from APCM)
Helen Irving
Neil Irving (from 20 May 2010)
John Kennedy
Graham Merriam (to APCM) Treasurer
Chris Penfold
Martin Ridsdale
Jean West
Hannah Wright (to APCM)
Janette Yates (to APCM)

Co-opted Graham Merriam (from APCM) Treasurer

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 has now registered 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 try to live out Jesus' call to love God and love our neighbour.

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 Management Group, Communications Group, CandY (Children & Youth) Worker Group, Children & Youth Team.

Church attendance

Average Sunday attendance in 2010 was 77 adults and 11 children. This is a slight decrease in adults compared with 2009. The electoral roll at the annual meeting in 2010 was 150 - a decrease of 4 on the previous year.

Children & young people

In January the Archbishop gave the church permission to try out some experimental Eucharistic prayers for use when children are present. These were used on Mothering Sunday and Easter Day. Feedback was obtained from the congregation and passed back to those working on new liturgy for the Church of England. We have continued with all our regular groups for children and young people, and also the special events like Holiday Club, Laser Light Party, Christmas and Easter Workshops and Youth Cafe. Our youth leaders have continued to work with the Deanery Youth Council, organising extra events for young people from the area. Members of our youth group attended the diocesan youth work conference and led a presentation about the Youth Cafe. Following a large amount of work by the Candy Worker Group and a rigorous selection process, the PCC has appointed Pauline Alderson to the half-time post of Children & Young People's Development Worker. We look forward to her taking up the role in 2011.

Community involvement

During the year there were 9 weddings, 25 baptisms and 23 funerals at St Oswald's. The Parochial Hall is 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 is appreciated by the whole community and we hope to have a much-needed extension in 2011. The Luncheon Club continues to provide a cooked meal for older residents of Sowerby on a monthly basis and the Get Together Club brings older people together for social activities every week. St Oswald's has continued its support of Thirsk Clock in its work with local young people, and we continue to have a strong link with Sowerby Community Primary School. This year we developed our links with local children's uniformed organisations. The St George's Day Parade Service was held at St Oswald's for the first time and Thinking Day was again celebrated in the church. We were also very pleased to host the community's annual Remembrance Sunday service and the Churches Together 'Hustings' prior to the delayed Parliamentary election in Thirsk in May.

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 used for urgent prayer requests on many occasions. 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. Many visits were also made to people in the Lambert community hospital as well as the Friarage and James Cook.

Worship

Our worship pattern has continued largely unchanged during the year, except that Refresh Cafe Church has been put on hold for the time being. One new development was to start serving breakfast before the First Sunday Worship for All services. We continue to be very grateful to our Readers, retired clergy, musicians, singers and all who lead our worship, as well as those who help to prepare for services week by week.

Communications

The quarterly newspaper 'Sowerby Now' continues 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. A review of internal church notice boards was carried out during the year, though it is recognised that final decisions cannot be taken until we know the effect of any reordering. A new community notice board is now in operation outside the Crown & Anchor. A church family contacts list has been 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

Carol Cox and Dan Sladden have continued their training for Reader and Ordained Pioneer ministry respectively. We are delighted that Becca Stevens, who spent some time at St Oswald's before starting her placement with Careforce, is also to explore a calling to ordained ministry. Several members of St Oswald's attended the diocesan course, "Learning to lead in public worship", and are being encouraged to use their gifts in church services. Nicky has been taking part in the first York Clergy Leadership Programme.

Mission

We have offered financial support to many national and international mission organisations through the year, including our regular support for CMS mission partners Tim and Kate Lee. We were pleased to hear about Neil Irving's visit to Bangladesh with Habitat for Humanity, and to receive feedback from Becca Stevens about her placement with Careforce. We continued our support for Christian Aid through the door to door collections in May and were also able to support Holy Rood House in their efforts to update their accommodation.

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 at the Parish Lunch in February, at the Agape Supper on Maundy Thursday, at the Casserole & Curry evening in September, and at the Harvest Supper, which this year was organised by Sowerby Methodist Church.

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 continue to work closely with Sowerby Methodist Church, holding many joint events and services during the year.

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 building

During the year the Buildings Group has worked with the Church Architect on proposals for reordering. The Architect came to discuss this with the congregation at a service in June. A questionnaire was circulated to the electoral roll, all who worship regularly and others with an interest in the building. The Buildings Group and PCC will continue to work on this during 2011. In addition to this, conservation work was carried out to the Norman stone arch around the south door and remedial work was undertaken to the roof above the vestry. Two benches and a new hand rail were placed in the churchyard in memory of loved ones. All routine maintenance and checks have been undertaken during the year and recorded in the church log. Following a request from the diocesan office, investigations took place to discover if St Oswald's has a lay rector who could be liable for chancel repairs. None was found. A new church cleaner has been appointed, and many people continue to help look after the building, including brass cleaners and flower arrangers. We continue to be grateful to the churchwardens who take a lead on all Fabric matters.

Parochial Hall

The title for the hall and the land on which it stands was transferred to the Diocesan Board of Finance during the year. This avoids us having to pay legal fees every time there is a change of churchwarden or vicar. The Parochial Hall Management Group has continued to meet regularly to attend to all matters regarding the Hall.

Thirkleby, Kilburn & Bagby

A joint meeting of the PCCs of Sowerby, Sessay, Thirkleby, Kilburn and Bagby and the Archdeaconry Pastoral Sub-Committee was held in July to discuss the possible formation of a plurality including all 5 parishes.

Thanks

Grateful thanks are expressed 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 neighbours near and far as we seek to serve Christ in this place.

Approved by the PCC on 14 March 2011 and signed on their behalf.
The Revd Nicola Carnall
Priest in Charge and Chair of PCC


Annual accounts 2010 (PDF file)


A Year in the Life of St Oswald's, Sowerby 2010

St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Some of the many things going on in St Oswald's Church

Churchwardens' report

At the end of my first report as Churchwarden, having listed the various activities that Heather and I have got up to, I wrote: What more could a second year bring? The answer includes climbing to the top of the bell tower for the first (hopefully last) time in my life, photographing the interior of the strange black cistern high on the wall of the vestry to find out why water was rushing into it (answer: a leak in the radiator in the south transept) and climbing into a tree in the churchyard to install a birdbox courtesy of the Diocese.

Our responsibilities, of which we are reminded at an annual service when churchwardens are "sworn in" for their year of service, are to work with the priest-in-charge to enable her to fulfil her duties in the parish. There are all sorts of tasks which we would have to perform if we did not have a wonderful team of people who regularly and faithfully do some of the work, and this is our chance to say how grateful we are to all of them! Keep it up - Please!!

What more could a third year bring? How about: getting the plans and ideas that we have shaped during 2010 turned into real changes to improve our building and the activities we do in it.

I also want to express my gratitude to Heather for showing me how the job is done, and for reminding me discretely when I have forgotten something.

David Tucker


Building Report

It has been a busy year! We were able to complete all the outside work that was required after the thorough inspection of the church buildings by the architect which is required every 5 years. This included renovation to our very special and historic south doorway, and work on the roofing, tower and lightning conductor. We had a trying time with no less than 3 occasions of water getting into the vestry or the toilet during that time - once it was very icy water after the sizable drainage channels in the roof were blocked during heavy snowfall. The result was that the north aisle looked like a car boot sale for some time!

We began the planning for reordering in the church. We worked closely with our church architect, Linda Lockett, followed by a questionnaire to 150 or more of our congregation and electoral roll members about how to make the best use of our building for the many different activities that take place there - not just large congregations for worship!

A 1904 postcard shows the interior of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, shortly after the north aisle was built
A 1904 postcard shows the interior shortly after the north aisle was built.

Once we had sorted through the large number of responses, we had a series of meetings with Linda who produced progressive versions of plans for reordering. This work continues in ever increasing detail so that by the end we shall have a building that best serves our needs today in a building with an immense history.

Significant changes to the church or in the churchyard require not planning permission but a permission from the Diocese, and we have made a number of these applications, ranging from the installation of a gateway in the gap in the churchyard wall near the north door to putting in a phone line in the vestry. There is also a way of getting permission to make temporary changes in the church to see if an idea will work - and we have done a bit of that too.

Heather Limbach
David Tucker


Sowerby Luncheon Club

The Luncheon Club has flourished throughout 2010 bringing excellent food and good companionship to nearly 50 more elderly folks virtually every month of the year. The luncheon is held at noon in the Hall on the fourth Wednesday of each month other than August - when there is a 'holiday' for the helpers, and December when an informal Carol Service is held instead.

With 59 'active' names on the luncheon's list, the average attendance at the ten lunches has been 46.3 and the food, different at every lunch, has ranged from Roast Pork in Cider, Baked Gammon and Salmon En Croute all with fresh vegetables as main courses to Fruit Pies, Treacle Puddings, Eton Mess and Apple & Mincemeat Strudle as sweets. Plus tea or coffee and all for just £2.50.

People enjoying lunch at Sowerby Luncheon Club

A small financial surplus from the lunches has been swelled by donations and currently stands at nearly £600. Hopefully this will help to purchase a new cooker for the Hall at some future date.

None of the lunches could take place without the dozen or more helpers who work hard before and on each day. Whilst most of them are St Oswald's Church members, several are not and these are particularly welcome members of 'the team'.

Eleanor Hooper


Children and Young People

St Oswald's continues to be blessed with all the work that goes on with children and young people. Kids' Club, our Sunday morning group, has met during term time through the year with varying numbers of families attending. We use the resource Roots for children and young people, which follow the lectionary for that particular week. We had a memorable service in December, with the Nativity performance, a pass the parcel activity and singing of a variation on The Twelve Days of Christmas -

First Friday is a joint venture with the Sowerby Methodist Church and is held in their School Room. Attendance is steady at around 40 children each month. The evening is based on the telling of a Godly Play story, desert stories are a favourite with the children who love to see and feel the sand. There is always a time for prayer, singing and craft all connected to the theme of the session. The First Friday team organised the Laserlight Party on October 31st, the church was decorated with disco and fairy lights for the party, where the children sang, made craft and heard a story told by Nigel Chapman. The atmosphere was lovely, the children dressed in fancy dress and took home a goodie bag.

children at a craft workshop

There were workshops at Easter and Christmas, with forty plus children attending each. At the Christmas workshop the children took the part of the characters in the Godly Play story of the Holy Family. The Holiday Club at the end of July was called 'Out of this World'. The Youth Group had worked tirelessly to put the whole programme together including drama scripts, planning games, making scenery and working out an energetic dance routine. The children had great fun learning about Jonah, Daniel, The Good Shepherd, Jesus calming the storm and the Lame Man, with moon buggies, aliens and rockets involved too. Over 70 children came along. The team of helpers were from Sowerby Methodist Church, St Mary's and St Oswald's.

Youth group have met regularly, twice a month, their evenings include 'fun, fellowship and food'. They had their annual Youth Cafe, sleepover, barbeque and Christmas party. The group attended XLS events organised by the York Diocese, at Lightwater Valley in May and in York Minster in February this year. The group also went to a fun day, in June, organised by Mowbray Deanery Youth Council. This was held at Paradise Farm, Kirby Knowle, the day was packed with activities and the water slide was a highlight. Some members of Youth group went to an N-gage training day for leaders at Wydale Hall in November where their presentation on planning a youth cafe was warmly received.

Thanks go to everyone involved in any way with all of these activities.

Gayle Hartley


CandY Group

The CandY (Children and Young Persons) group is pleased to report on a busy, exciting and successful year in the search for a Children's and Young People's Development Worker for St Oswald's. With the funding in place from the A D Thompson Trust our work took on a quickened pace to put in place all the necessary documents and policies for the post.

With enthusiasm we presented our vision to the PCC in March and then the Annual General Meeting in April, after widely advertising the post and then short-listing the applicants, the interviews took place in June. Pauline Alderson was appointed as our CandY Development Worker, Pauline was an outstanding applicant. With her commissioning service on 3rd April as she begins her work, it is an exciting prospect for everyone at St Oswald's.

The CandY group will continue to meet to support both Pauline and Neil Irving, Pauline's line manager, and strive to ensure St Oswald's is an excellent employer.

Gayle Hartley


Pram Service

Pram Service takes place on the first Friday of each month (except during the school holidays) at 12.30pm. We spend half an hour in church singing, praying, having a story (with visual aids), playing instruments, making things and sharing in the love of God. Babies and pre-school children come with their parents, grandparents and carers. At about 1 o'clock we go over to the Parochial Hall to find lunch prepared and on the table and a drink of juice or a cup of tea ready for us.Over lunch the adults have time to chat and the children eat and then enjoy a good run around in the hall.

This year I asked the Mums if they would like to contribute to the Pram Service report so here are some of the things they wrote about why they like bringing their children to Pram Service:

"Children learn about God in a relaxed and friendly environment and there is lots of interactive fun."

"Harry likes coming to Pram Service to sing songs and have a story."

"All my children have loved attending over the past eight years. It's so nice that when my youngest sings the songs at home the older two know them and join in."

"We love coming to Pram Service. I have been coming for 10 years. It is good fun and educational for the children. The children love singing and listening to Helen play the guitar and tell them stories."

"It is good to go to the Parochial Hall for lunch and a good place for the mums to have a chat with each other."

"Eulalie likes colouring pictures, singing (especially jumping), stories and instruments."

"Pram Service is great for letting the little ones enjoy church and Bible stories without having to worry about a bit of noise or wandering around"

"Pram Service is fantastic. My children love it. It is aimed at the right level to keep the children's attention and has a clear, simple message which I find uplifting and encouraging."

Once again I would like to say a big thank you to our dedicated, loving, caring and smiling team of people who prepare, serve and clear up the lunch each month, to Gayle Hartley for buying and preparing the food and to Jill Drew for sorting out the rota of helpers. New volunteers would be very gratefully welcomed onto this team if you could spare a couple of hours on a first Friday, two or three times a year.

Helen Irving


Home Communions

How quickly the years go by!

It has again been my great joy and privilege to be able to take Holy Communion to our two nursing homes each month, Cherry Garth and Sowerby House. It has been great to share with Elizabeth our Methodist Minister. Each month we take it turn, and turn about . Elizabeth goes one month, and I take it the following month. So we are able to make good friends with the people. I try to go every month, so we are able to get to know them all, and it keeps a sense of continuity!

John Greenwood continues to be a very faithful Communicant, a lovely gentleman who always has such a very welcoming smile! He is always so pleased when we go, and knows that he is still part of our Church family!

I also visit Kay, with Communion, a great joy to be with her! She always has such a wealth of stories to tell me about her past!

I also visit Dorothy Brown with Communion. She has not been in the best of health lately, but is always interested in what is happening to the rest of our Church Family!

It is with sadness that we shall be losing Elizabeth, who will be going to pastures new in late summer! It has been such a joy over these past years to get to know her and her husband Norman, we have joined together in so many of our services. We shall miss her!

But I am also looking forward to welcoming Rev. Cathy Heathcoat who is coming as Elizabeth leaves us!

Trish Bennett


Communication Group

The communication group has had intermittent meetings during the year.

We held a meeting in the Church to try and decide the best places for notice boards. It was very practical in that several notice boards were reorganised and notices culled. We also had a philosophical discussion about the longer term positioning and content of notice boards within the Church. No detailed decisions can be taken until the Church reordering has been settled.

The Church Address & Telephone list has been compiled by David Brooke and has proved most useful, it is about to be updated and if anyone wants to be added please contact David.

The Come & Join Us leaflet seems to be being picked up by people as I keep having to replenish the display at the back of Church.

We are conscious of the need to keep notice boards up to date and need help from people who want to advertise an event.

Jill Drew


SOWERBY NOW!

Launched late in 2008 to fill the void left by the demise of 'Outlook', this quarterly full colour magazine has, in the opinion of its readers, improved steadily with each edition. 'From for the Churches for the Community' is its statement of intent and the Church input is intended to be 'prominent but not dominant'.

The organising Committee, each person with a specific role in production and distribution, is made up of Norman Clark and Brian Marshman from the Methodist Church and Euan Mitchell, David Tucker and Martin Hooper from St Oswald's Church.

Fully funded by advertising, much of the surplus income has already found its way to many local causes including the Sowerby Luncheon Club, Thirsk Clock and, most recently, the Skateboard Park.

As a quarterly magazine, it is not to be confused with a newspaper and topicality is an issue. Consequently it works best with interesting articles about people (ie Ted Spiller, Mark Robson and the Dowager Lady St Oswald) and local groups / activities (ie Belles Cantos, the Mowbray Singers, Thirsk Cinema and Sowerby Music).

There are many local people in our community with interesting stories to tell - things they have done or places they have been. We would like to hear about these people, either to meet them and write them up ourselves or to have their stories written for us. Please bring such stories to the notice of the Committee.

And, most importantly, thank you to the 20 or so delivery teams who four times a year deliver out to 2,000 houses in Sowerby. If you feel you might contribute by helping in this way please get in touch.

Mark Etherington
Picture: Mark Etherington, born in Sowerby, educated at schools in Sowerby and now a big noise in London's West End musical theatre scene. Read all about him in Sowerby Now!

Martin Hooper


Christian Aid

Christian Aid has been very well supported by St Oswald's Church again this year in raising money despite the economic conditions. The overall house to house collection was down slightly on the previous year but we still raised a magnificent £1,269. Less was Gift Aided due in part to an unhelpful envelope which will be changed for next year. We had five new collectors which was a great help.

At the end of Christian Aid week St Oswald's held a Friendship Lunch in the Parochial Hall which raised a further £164. This will be repeated in April/May in support of the poor of Sierra Leone. The date to be announced.

Christian Aid logo

St Oswald's was well represented at the Christian Aid 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 as you did last year. The more collectors we have, the easier it is for everyone.

Eleanor Hooper


Mothers' Union

Each month we have a speaker and these can be either religious or a little more light hearted. We started 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 which was held at the Golden Fleece Hotel.We visited Coxwold Church for our July meeting and this was followed by a meal at the Forresters Arms at Kilburn. The Mary Sumner Day Service which is held each year to celebrate the start of the Mothers' Union was held at the home of Barbara Thornton and was followed by a delicious afternoon tea .Members also attend various Deanery and Archdeaconry events during the year. We also admitted one new member and unfortunately lost one due to other commitments.

Mothers' Union logo

Our monthly meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Parochial Hall at 2pm, please note our new time. We are always looking for new members so 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 so don't be shy gents.

Elizabeth Worsnop


Tower Captain's Report

This was a year of goodbyes and hellos. We said farewell to Tom and wished him well at University and to Ben who moved to a new job in Scarborough. We also lost Neil to a back problem. This left us very challenged to ring at all and sadly we were unable to ring for many services.

Happily we have also been blessed with some new recruits. We have welcomed Gillian, Ben and Matthew and then Alex and Ella. Unlike many activities learning to ring takes a little while, before a learner can handle a bell unaided and in safety, and then ring their bell in time with the rest of the team. Good progress has been made and Ben, Matt and Gillian were able to ring rounds for the first time for the crib service. All were well-supported by family and friends. We are hopeful we will be able to resume at least some service ringing around Easter 2011.

We need to thank John, in particular, for doing the lion's share of the teaching and we have been indebted, once again, to the ringers of Thirsk and Easingwold for supporting our practice nights, service ringing where it has been possible, and wedding ringing. We have also been blessed by having the support of Anne, Cathy, Jill and occasionally Margaret, as well as Tony in the summer, all of whom live out of the parish. Thank you to everyone who has supported ringing in 2010.

Heather and John Limbach


Mowbray Deanery Synod

The Deanery Synod meets three 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 all who wish to attend, not just the Synod Representatives. During 2010 we have received presentations on the subjects of 'Traidcraft' by Dr John Goode, 'ACTS 435 online charity' by Mrs Margaret Sentamu, 'Vocations' by Revd David Mann and a talk by Professor David Raffaelli who is the Diocesan Environmental Adviser.

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 General Synod and 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 young people in the parishes through prayer and funding via the Mowbray Deanery Youth Council. Transport was provided to the XLS event at Lightwater Valley in May and a Fun Day was held at Paradise Farm, Kirby Knowle in September.

At our Annual Meeting in April Deanery Synod representatives will be elected to serve for the next three years.

Gayle Hartley


The Choir

The past year in the choir has been stimulating, rewarding, challenging and always enjoyable. With about ten members we cover all four voices thanks to Margaret Ridsdale and Euan Mitchell providing the alto and tenor 'meats in the sandwich'.

It was a joy to welcome Pat Ludiman, Maureen and Paul Carr to the choir but joy too soon turned to sadness when Paul suffered a severe stroke which has rendered him house bound and has caused Maureen to become his full-time carer. We miss them both and pray that life will become easier for them over the coming months.

The choir at St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Our hour long weekly rehearsal sometimes splits down into 50 minutes of chaotic laughter and 10 minutes of singing but this seems enough to enable us to make a positive contribution to the worship at St Oswald's.

We are always grateful to the 'associate choir members' who swell our ranks for special services and for important weddings and funerals.

"Big Sing" has proved very popular and an excellent way of getting new music quickly into the congregation's repertoire.

Graham Merriam inspires all that is good in the St Oswald's music scene and the choir along with all Church members are grateful for his enthusiasm, dedication, skill and unending patience.

Martin Hooper


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.

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 at least once a week .Please tell me if information about your group or activity needs adding or changing.ther 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 is a very valuable asset not only for our church but for Sowerby and Thirsk. With a main hall, a kitchen, committee room and stage, it has continued to be used by many St Oswald's groups and community organisations during the year. The Management Group, as well as keeping the building and facilities in good order, are committed to making it better. This has included improving the insulation - it's a "green" building!

David Tucker


Sowerby Music

Whilst not a St Oswald's church organisation, Sowerby Music has been part of the life of the Church for the past 24 years and its principle officers have been Church members. In brief, the Church has hosted nearly 250 concerts, welcomed a total audience of more than 30,000 and received an income from Sowerby Music in excess of £20,000. The Society has a membership of over 500 people from as far away as Durham to the north and Derbyshire to the south.

Whilst concerts are its main feature, the Society is notable in that it takes professional musicians to 36 schools and 3,500 children every year and latterly has organised Calling all Kids!a series of free concerts for children which take place in the Parochial Hall.

recording the BBC3 programme 'Discovering Music' at St Oswald's Church, Sowerby
Recently the Society was the venue for BBC3's 'Discovering Music' programme recorded with the Wihan Quartet and due to be broadcast early summer 2011.

The President of the Society is world famous trumpeter and now Principle of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, John Wallace. Vice Presidents are the international opera singer Lynne Dawson, the conductor Simon Wright and a founder member of Sowerby Music who encouraged the Society to use St Oswald's as its home, the Revd Paul Wordsworth.

Sowerby Music is most grateful to St Oswald's Church for its continuing welcome and support. Long may the happy relationship continue.

Martin Hooper


Annual reports since 2004


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