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We have suspended our services and other meetings, and the church building is closed, until further notice because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
But St Oswald's is still here as a church to serve our congregation and our community at large. For more information please click here.
The Annual Report of the Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's, Sowerby, for the year ended 31 December 2004.
The object of the PCC of St Oswald's, Sowerby is to fulfil the functions as laid down in law, namely to co-operate with the Incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical - (PCC [Powers] Measure 1956).
To aid this object, the PCC is mindful of the Mission statement of the Diocese of York:
We are called by Jesus Christ to announce the Kingdom and to make disciples.
In response we will endeavour to:
» inspire and to resource the Mission of the Church and the ministry of laity and clergy
» work in co-operation with Christians of other traditions
We commit ourselves to:
» attending to God in worship, prayer and the study of the Scriptures
» exploring the faith and its implications and challenges for life today through teaching learning and nurture
» growing as communities of faith, hope and love as a sign of God's Kingdom
» engaging with God's World and its people, in compassion, service and evangelism.
The PCC is a body corporate by name of the Parochial Church Council of the Parish for which it is appointed and shall have perpetual succession. This enables the Council to have a corporate existence recognised by law and independent of the personnel comprised in it.
The PCC's composition and procedure is regulated by the Church Representation Rules as contained in schedule 3 of the Synodical Government Measure 1969 (as amended). The functions and powers of the PCC are contained in the Parochial Councils (Powers) Measure 1956 as amended by the 1969 Measure. The PCC is a charity exempted from registration with the Charity Commission.
Elections to the PCC are held annually, all members of the Church electoral roll are entitled to vote and stand for election. There is also provision for the co-option of members to the PCC and the incumbent is an ex officio member and the Chairman.
Electors at the time of the 2003 AGM 135
Electors on the roll at 31 December 2004 135
Electors at the time of the 2005 AGM 136
Membership of the electoral roll is open to all lay people who are baptised, over sixteen years of age and who have signed a declaration that he or she is either a member of the Church of England or of a Church in communion therewith and:
» resident in the parish, or
» not being resident, has habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to the enrolment, or
» is a member in good standing of a Church which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (not being a Church in communion with the Church of England) and also prepared to declare himself or herself to be a member of the Church of England having habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to enrolment.
After more than a whole year of interregnum the Church Wardens wish to thank the members of the PCC who are standing down for their help and support, and to those who will be taking their place, we look forward to working with you.
A further thank you to the clergy, those in post and those retired, who have supported us by leading services, and offering much encouragement.
The pooling of time and effort by both lay people and clergy to keep St Oswald's a working Church has been much appreciated by the Church Wardens.
The roof project has been successfully completed. There is just some final repair to inside stonework and decoration to be done. The organ, with ongoing maintenance, is kept in good working order. The Church Wardens have recently received the Quinquennial Report from the Church Architect, and will be reporting back to the PCC in due course.
Anxious as Church members may have been, the proper democratic process for the appointment of a new priest has been carried through, and we must continue to be caring, thoughtful and prayerful for ourselves and others as we look to the future.
Sandra and Elizabeth
Thank you to everyone who helped with the Autumn Fair on 27th November - here are just some of them.
The accounts for 2004, which have been approved by the PCC, have been independently examined. In this report I will only make comment on certain points, copies of the full set of accounts are available separately.
The accounts have again been produced on an accruals basis - put simply accrual accounts match any amounts to the year in which they occur. Any expenditure (or income) is included within them whether or not it has been paid (or received). The Statement of Financial Activities is a record of where the money has come from and how it has been spent throughout the year. The Balance Sheet is St Oswald's worth (financially) at 31 December 2004. The notes to the accounts show further analysis and explanations.
» Our income through voluntary giving rose only slightly last year by approximately £300.
» We received a bequest from the estate of Catherine Marchal (Kitty), restricted to fabric and churchyard expenses.
» Over £2700 was received in donations for the repairs to the organ, some of which was gift aided. There is a residue of £346 in the organ fund for any further work.
» Total fundraising receipts were down, although both the Autumn Fair and raffle made more than previous years. Thanks to the magnificent efforts by all involved.
» Other income from the sale of books and receipts from Sowerby Music were up by £600.
» The 2004 Parish share of the Deanery's contribution to the Diocese (also known as The Quota) was the same amount in 2004 as 2003 at £29,155 and has been paid in full.
» The 2005 share is £33,500.
» The £8543 paid out for repairs was the architect's bill outstanding from the roof repairs.
» Ministry costs, church costs and administration were met by income from fundraising and fees.
» Donations to various charities (both local and national) were mainly the result of collections made at funerals.
The total value of our funds at the start of the year was £364,204 and the end of the year £407,217. Please be aware that these figures refer to funds, not bank account balances. They include the value of our fixed assets - the Hall, fixtures, fittings and equipment - as well as money owed to us, interest accrued but not received and bank account balances, less any liabilities. The bank balances are £126,312, but £15,500 is an endowment of which we can only use the income generated on church fabric and £74,198 is restricted. The remaining £36,614 is unrestricted, but £20,003 of this has been designated towards maintenance and improvements of the Parochial Hall. This leaves a bank account balance of £16,600, not a large amount when you consider we spent £52,290 of unrestricted funds in the year.
Although the accounts show a slight surplus of unrestricted income over expenditure of £71, if the surplus made by the hall is deducted this would result in an overspend of unrestricted funds of £962.
Our restricted income has enabled us to make the necessary repairs to the roof and the organ. We now have a reserve in the fabric fund of over £27,000 and nearly £16,000 in the churchyard fund. This is an old but beautiful building and repairs are always required.
We will have increased costs next year with the increase in the Quota, as well as any increases due to inflation. Although we appear to have a comfortable amount of money available we must not become too complacent.
Janice Gibson, Treasurer
John Duncan, Assistant Treasurer
The extensive renovation work is now nearing completion. It is on budget for cost but about a year behind schedule. Users are appreciating the smart new toilets, the smooth car park and the double glazed windows. They will soon marvel at the smart new entrance porch. All of this was part of the £100,000 National Lottery funded project.
Over and above this, the decoration of the kitchen, the entrance and the main hall is nearing completion and a work team of local ladies have made wonderful new curtains for the six big windows in the main hall. Thank you.
Plans are in hand to smarten up the kitchen with new worktops, wall cabinets, new flooring and a new cooker.
When this is finished we will organise a celebratory event.
The Hall's usage remains extremely high. In the past four years there has been an average of 66 bookings each month for some or all of the Hall's facilities. In the first three months of 2005 this has risen to 79 bookings a month and new users for the main hall are finding it difficult to get a booking slot. Thanks to Gerry Allen for managing the bookings and to Jean West for running the finances. Thanks also to Ann Coates for looking after the keys.
With some 25,000 people a year in and out of the Hall, cleaning and maintenance is a big job. We are so fortunate to have Eileen and Harry Parkinson looking after this with real commitment and enthusiasm. Harry also doubles as a decorator. Our thanks to both of them.
We now have a Hall to be proud of.
It has again been my great joy during the last year to take Communion to our two nursing homes, I take it one month, and Rev. Carol Homes our Methodist Minister takes it along on the alternate month, to which, if it is possible, I go too.
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 about three friends have either moved away or have died. Dorothy Kettlewell has been a great help to me again during the year, always making sure that the residents are aware when the service is to be, and being responsible for making sure they get there!
4 of our extended Church Family from de Mowbray Homes.
On the third Wednesday, I go to Sowerby House, where about 8 people attend. During the last year Mary has sadly died, and is very much missed, as she was a faithful communicant, latterly I took her Communion to her bedside, which I know was very much appreciated.
During the year Mary Potter came to live in Sowerby House, having come from the Home she went to in Ripon, so she is nearer her friends and family. Mary as many of you will remember was our Organist for many years.
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 always feel very privileged to be licensed to do this ding task, which is always very much appreciated.
We have had a busy and interesting year. We were still unable to find anyone to take over the Secretary and Treasurer jobs, so Jill Drew carried on in both roles.
This February 2005 at our AGM we have a new Branch Leader, Elizabeth Worsnop, Secretary Dorothy Watson, Treasurer Barbara Thornton, all offices to be held for one year only.
We still organise the rota for the Pram Service lunches, and thank all who have come forward to help. This is a very worthwhile and enjoyable project.
In July we had a successful Cheese and Wine Evening at Jill and Mike Drew's linked with a Quiz to raise money for Branch funds and the choir.
Our outing in July to Selby Abbey was most enjoyable, and we met up with John and Linda Davis. They had arranged a delicious supper at their local pub.
Mary Sumner Day was held at Joan Oldfield's house.
We ran a cake stall jointly with Thirsk Branch at the Town Hall in Northallerton and raised over £100 for Deanery funds.
November found Mother's Union taking the Family Service - Around the World with Food - great fun!
Our speakers have been varied, interesting, and some very amusing.
We held our Annual Dinner in January 2004, which was well attended by members and friends and most enjoyable.
We currently have 17 members and need more younger women to join us. We meet at 7.30pm on the fourth Thursday of the month
We have 16 children on the Sunday school register with an average attendance of 11 each week.
In September we changed our teaching material to Children's Ministry which gives a wider range of age groups and resources, we also begin each session with praise and worship, thanks to Helen with her guitar. It's lovely to see the children's confidence growing in their faith as they willingly take part in the family services each month, some taking on drama and readings while the younger ones give their all to playing instruments and holding up the required 'bits & pieces'.
The children worked very hard during November & December with rehearsals for the Nativity 'The Lonely Bat' which they performed during the Carol Service.
It's been a very busy year for the youth group at St. Oswald's. In May we attended the 2nd Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp at Paradise Farm. This was an amazing weekend with 12 members of the group joining 18 other young people from the deanery. The weekend was spent celebrating Pentecost and learning about The Holy Spirit, this was in between the go-carting, archery, gyro ball, walking wall and initiative games they had to solve, and of course eating their way through a mountain of food. The weekend ended with a celebration service in Kirby Knowle church with Bishop Robert and Rev Toddy Hoare.
In July we had our end of the year BBQ to which we invited groups from the camp weekend. September was the start of a new term when two new members joined the group.
October was our alternative Halloween meeting, we had soup, songs and sausages round a bonfire at Paradise farm, a great repertoire of camp songs were sung led by the older youth. It was lovely to have parents and families join us for this event, I'm sure it's something we will be doing again this year.
In November we travelled to Ingleby Barwick and joined a group who we met at MDYC, we shared fellowship, played games and enjoyed pizza & chips. We hope to invite them to us during the summer.
Also in November we started a new group for 16+, this group came together and devised their own programme and named themselves 'COGS' (CHILDREN OF GOD), they asked to meet weekly which we do each Tuesday. There are 7 members who are enthusiastic and faithful to their commitment in learning the gospel.
In January we made our annual visit to XL & XS at York Minster this is a fantastic event and a great opportunity for the young people to meet hundreds of others who have chosen to walk with God.
At the time of writing this we are planning a sleepover in the Parochial Hall on April 2nd and to lead the family service on Sunday 3rd. We are also busy planning for the Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp which is 13th-15th May.
Outreach to young people in our community
Christingle December 2004
In October we had an autumn workshop which was prepared for us by Sowerby Flower Club. This was attended by 41 children aged 5-11 and was extremely popular. I would like to thank all the ladies who were involved for their kindness and sharing their skills with us all.
In December we held a Christmas workshop when 59 children came along to make crafts for Christmas.
We have just held an Easter workshop which was attended by 63 children aged 5-11. Through these workshops we have the opportunity to teach the children of Gods love, over the years we have invited various ministers along to share the good news of Jesus, we sometimes use puppets or drama with the youth group, and we always have songs of worship to celebrate. Over 65% of the children attending are non church and it's encouraging to see many of them at the Christingle and Crib Service with their parents at Christmas.
We are in the early stages of planning a four day holiday club during the summer holidays, we are delighted to have Sowerby Methodists to join us for this event and will be looking for helpers from St. Oswald's to join us too.
These events take an enormous amount of planning and we would value your prayers for the leaders involved and the children who may be attending.
Throughout the past year there have been many people involved in one way or another in the children's work in Sowerby, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you, whether you made cups of tea, swept the floor, prepared crafts, provided transport, provided equipment, donated your time, money or your support, because through this you have served a Gracious and Almighty God who loves each one of us and calls us to bring his children to know him and to love him.
Pram Service continues on the first Friday of each month at 12 o'clock for a short service in church, followed by lunch in the hall. The service includes singing, Bible stories and activities, playing instruments, praying and making things. It is a very informal service, with the emphasis on enjoying worship and learning about God's love for us all.
Ten children left us in the summer to start school, so numbers went down for a while, but more new members have joined. Contact is made with new families through the Toy Library and Sowerby Nursery and by word of mouth. We also continue to send invitations to children who are baptised at St Oswald's. Average attendances in the last year were 10 adults and 11 children. For several families this is their only regular church contact.
On behalf of the Pram Service children and parents, I would like to thank Gayle Hartley (for buying and preparing the food) and all the ladies who serve the lunch each month. Your love, care and service is greatly appreciated.
If anyone in church would like to get involved with Pram Service or just drop in for a visit we would be very pleased to see you. Please continue to pray for our Pram Service families.
On every Sunday except the first Sunday of the month, the 9.30am Holy Communion Service includes three readings from the Bible, normally Old Testament, Epistle and New Testament. Our team of volunteer readers practice and deliver the word of God.
We have sadly lost the lovely voices of Dick Etherington and Kay Evans, who have read for us as part of their contribution to the life of St Oswald's.
I would like to thank the whole team for their dedication to this vital input into our services.
Outlook continues to be produced for the Anglican and Methodist Churches of Thirsk and Sowerby, with Richard Etherington as coordinator. Sue Kennedy handles the distribution and financial aspects and Jill Brown looks after the advertising. Over 700 copies are produced locally by Thirsk Printers for distribution through our congregations.
Our ministerial team provide letters for page 3 and a small group of contributors are responsible for providing much of the editorial material. We also access a website on the internet for suitable fillers. We have completed a set of sketches of the churches within the group, thanks to local artist, Ron Cowell of Gilling. We use these for our cover. I hope we can begin to attract items from other areas of the area, as it is for the entire district.
The church website www.stoswaldsowerby.org.uk has about ten pages including service times, extracts.from Outlook, church groups, the story of St Oswald, the history of the building, and a few links. There is lots of space for more words and photographs - suggestions and offers are always welcomed.
Although it is impossible to know exactly who and how many people are using any website, I do know that at least a couple of enquires about weddings and baptisms have come during the past year through local people using the church website.
It is also possible to have a 'church email address' - please ask!
Bellringers - Tower Captain's report
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. One point of particular note is that, through a team effort from all St Oswald's ringers and friends the bells were rung for all the services during the Christmas period. This is especially gratifying as ringing for service is our prime raison d'etre. The bells were also rung for about half a dozen weddings during the year. We remain few in number and I am especially grateful to all those who attend practices and service ringing week by week.
Teaching sessions have been held most weeks apart from a moratorium through the summer. 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. During the autumn and winter period a total of six people have been learning, including three from St Mary's, Thirsk. Congratulations to Stephen and Thomas who are making good progress.
We are pleased to welcome Craig to our ranks; Craig is an example of that rare species, a "ready-made" ringer. Amongst our members of longer standing, Alice is now making good progress and has recently begun to ring call changes; Alex too has taken first steps into change ringing. Our older members are all continuing to develop their skills.
Look to. Treble's going. She's gone.
Visiting bellringers in July from St James's, Didsbury
We are grateful for the support of regular visitors including Tony and Anne. 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.
Congratulations to Charlotte and Craig who rang in their first quarter peals, to Charlotte again for ringing her first quarter peal "inside" in fine style, and yet again for being one of the two people who rang in all three of the quarter peals attempted and scored during the past twelve months (including one rung for Christmas at Thirsk).
One outing, arranged by the tower captain, was held during the year. We visited Kirkby Moorside, Middleton, Pickering and Hovingham.
We are grateful to Andrew for undertaking the routine maintenance required. If my recollection is correct no new stays have been needed. Three more new ropes have been acquired so we now have six new or fairly new ones. 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.
Our biggest event last year was the Art and Photography Exhibition which was held in the Parochial Hall on Saturday and Sunday 19 & 20th June. We had a great many Exhibits including beautiful painting by children from the Primary School. We learned a great deal about organizing an art exhibition and we enjoyed the experience. We sold over £1000 worth of painting and took 10% commission. We were told this was too low! Refreshments were served throughout the exhibition and we also sold quite a lot of cakes.
Our Parish Lunch was on Sunday 23rd February. This was a great success. 60 people attended including 12 clergy and wives. It was good to be able to tell them how much we have appreciated their help over the past
The Annual Egghead Quiz will be held on 9th April.
We organized an Open Church event on Easter Sunday and Monday 27th March. This was to encourage people to come and see the churchyard is its full daffodil glory and also the daffodils in Front Street. The Church was beautifully decorated as usual, and we held an exhibition of Arts and Crafts by Sowerby Artists. There were refreshments throughout the event and an excellent cake stall.
St Petersburg Blagovest Ensemble - May 2004
This past year has been a tragic one for many peoples of the world.
St Oswald's, however, met this challenge and has done more than it has ever done before to help relieve suffering.
Our year began with the biggest door to door collection so far for Christian Aid Week. Over £1000 was contributed, with many more people taking advantage of Gift Aid. This was also boosted by our Sunday School who raised money in their own way and added over £60 to this collection.
Within months, the problems which have been going on for years in the Sudan finally erupted into an enormous disaster. Again, the St Oswald's family responded magnificently and over £2000 was sent to the Darfur Appeal - all raised on just one Saturday morning.
Two Friendship Lunches for Christian Aid each raised nearly £100.
At Christmas, Christian Aid promoted the 'Child of Bethlehem Appeal' and our congregation donated generously towards the provision of goats for villages in South America, Africa and Thailand and towards stethoscopes, counsellors and medicines for AIDS sufferers and teachers for Africa, Palestine and South America. As part of this, the mega Christmas Card in our church raised another £71.
Then, on Boxing Day, the tsunami struck with more devastation than has ever been witnessed before. The whole country was moved to act, donating more than any other individual country and our congregation dug deeply into its pockets yet again.
Over and above all of this, our Parochial Church Council sent a cheque for £187.50 to Christian Aid as part of our annual giving.
All in all I believe that the St Oswald's congregation along with everyone in the village of Sowerby has been most compassionate and shown great generosity of spirit.
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.
Many thanks must go to members of the choir for their unswerving dedication to the role of singing our services during the past 12 months. Providing a regular choral input each Sunday is a major achievement and on top of this the choir provides the church with music for special services.
The Advent Service of Light was a most reflective service in which the choir performed music from the earliest times to the present in a mystical candlelit church. As a contrast to Advent, the choir have displayed their versatility and performed such musical styles as rock, blues, medieval french chant, 8-part Tudor anthems and the enchanting modern 'classic' John Tavener's The Lamb at other services during the year.
To have accomplished such a variety of music is a most notable achievement by members and shows us that by using the differing styles of music available, we can enhance the word of God and assist in enabling worship through music.
The choir currently meets on Friday evenings for what can be best described as a good sing, some hard work and a good dose of humour. If you would like to come along and have a go then just please let one the choir members or myself know and you will be made most welcome - singing is something we can all do, so don't be shy!
Arc Light support
This year we have continued our support of Arc Light, a charity based in the aptly-named Bullnose Building within a stone's throw of York Railway Station and the National Rail Museum (who are their landlords). They offer Christian care for men and women who have fallen through the safety net of our modern welfare state, alcoholics (and there are plenty in the pipeline courtesy the drinks industry) and drug addicts (escaping from the stresses of modern life), often suffering mental illness, and not the sort of people the tourist office wants to see on the streets of York. But they are God's creatures just like you and me.
Our visible help has been practical. The campaign to denude Thirsk and Sowerby of all blankets has continued. This year we discovered that there is also a dire need for socks. Arc Light offers to wash the clothing of those they shelter, but often the socks won't stand up to washing, and need replacing.
Harvest Festival was fantastic: local schools who came to St Oswald's for their services collected tins and other dry foods, and I was amazed at the quantity. During the year I have shifted car boot-loads of giving to the green door in Leeman Road.
But our support is also spiritual. The staff, volunteers and paid, know, and need to know, that there are people who care about their work, and that people like me, on your behalf, will turn up first thing in the morning with blankets, tinned beans...and love.
This year I was delighted to represent St Oswald's at the fifth anniversary party for Arc Light. Their Director Jeremy Jones looks like the ex-pop group manager he is. The party was a remarkable coming together of the movers and shakers in York, councillors, senior officers, clergy, Arc Light staff - and the residents!
A great thank you to everyone who has supported this most practical of Christian caring during the past year.
St Oswald's Alpha Course
After a break of several years, we started offering the Alpha Course again at St Oswald's in September 2004. The Alpha Course is a 15-session practical introduction to the Christian faith, aimed especially at people who don't go to church. 182,000 people attended an Alpha Course in the UK last autumn and St Oswald's Alpha Course is one of thousands of courses running all over the world.
St Oswald's Alpha Course would not have been possible without the support and dedication of four groups, to whom we are all extremely grateful:
» Wendy Bousfield and Pauline Alderson, for agreeing at very short notice to help lead, when it became clear after the Invitation Supper that we would need not only the small group Ruth and I had planned to lead but two additional ones
» Val Blood, for supervising and in no small part doing all of the catering
» All the helpers who gave up their time to rearrange the hall, prepare and serve food and wash up
» All those who prayed for the course
With the leaders having attended some training sessions gratefully provided by New Life Baptist Church, the course began with an Invitation Supper attended by about 40 people. There were various guest speakers, including Christian Selvaratnam, the newly appointed Director of Alpha North, based in York. We also heard an extremely powerful testimony from a teenaged ex-drug addict from Middlesbrough who had become a Christian and kicked his habit during an Alpha course.
The regular attendance each week was approximately 25 guests and 5 leaders/helpers. Remarkably, only 1 or 2 people dropped out from the course during the whole 10 weeks which is a tribute inter alia to Val's fantastic meals. After the meal each week, we watched a video presented by Rev Nicky Gumbel of Alpha and then we broke into three small groups to discuss the content.
About 20 people attended the mid-course Day Away at Wydale Hall which was very kindly led by Rev John Bavington of St Clement's, Bradford. This was an opportunity for many to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a very memorable day for all of us.
We thank God that several of the guests chose to give their lives to Jesus during the course and welcome them wholeheartedly into His family! Please pray for the course leaders as we begin to plan for the next course, starting in September 2005, which we hope will be as successful as the last.
Ruth & Dan Sladden
Annual reports since 2004
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