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

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Annual report 2007

St Oswald's Church, Sowerby
The Annual Report of the Parochial Church Council
for the year ended 31 December 2007

Priest in Charge: Revd Nicola Carnall

Bankers: Yorkshire Bank (main account), Lloyds TSB, Standard Life

ndependent Examiner: Mr Philip Triffitt BSc FCA

Church Architect: vacant (temporary 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, 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.

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

Priest in Charge:
The Revd Nicola Carnall * Chair

Sandra Barnett * Vice-Chair
Heather Limbach *

Deanery Synod Reps:
Jill Drew
Gayle Hartley
Joan Oldfield

Diana Wild

Elected Members:
Pauline Alderson
Wendy Bousfield
Martin Hooper
Dan Sladden
David Thorne * Treasurer
Kath Reynard
Margaret Turner
Helen Ashworth from APCM
Graham Merriam from APCM
Janette Yates from APCM
Jean West until APCM
David Worsnop until APCM

David Tucker * Secretary

The starred names made up the Standing Committee.

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 a charity excepted from registration 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.


Our Secretary, David Tucker, puts together a collection of reports entitled, "A Year in the Life of St Oswald's." This document contains additional information about St Oswald's from the perspective of the person who organises each group or activity.

In 2006 the PCC put together a Mission Action Plan to take it through the next 4-5 years. This was reviewed by PCC in the summer of 2007. Some things we have achieved already; others will take more time or may be revised in the future.

Review of the year

Church attendance
Average Sunday attendance was 76 adults and 14 children in 2007. This is a slight increase on the previous year. The figures take into account all Sunday services - 8am, 9.30/10.30am, 6.30pm, as well as the monthly Refresh cafe service. The electoral roll at the annual meeting in April 2007 was made up of 144 people (an increase of 5 on the previous year). Two adults and one young person were confirmed during the year.

Children and young people
Our work with children and young people has continued with high quality provision for all ages: Pram Service, Kids Club, Youth Groups, First Friday, Easter and Christmas Workshops, Mowbray Deanery Youth Camp and Holiday Club. During the year the PCC reviewed the church's child protection policy, and we continue to request CRB checks on all who work with children and young people. In September we had an Open Meeting to begin looking at the possibility of admitting children to Holy Communion. A PCC working group has prepared a report to the PCC.

Community involvement
During the year there were 15 baptisms, 9 weddings and 23 funerals. These are all opportunities for sharing God's love with the wider community. The Parochial Hall is widely used by the community, and the church is used by Sowerby Music and other groups for concerts. Church members participated in the carol singing round the Sowerby Christmas Tree. A Thinking Day service was held in church by the Vale of Mowbray District Girl Guiding Association and a Carers' Service was held in church in conjunction with Thirsk Community Care Association. We continued our links with Sowerby Community Primary School, and older members of the community continue to benefit from the Get Together Club. Trisha Bennett, Carol Cox and I continue to offer communion to those who cannot get to church, including ministry at The Limes, Sowerby House, De Mowbray Court and Cherrygarth. It is also worth bearing in mind that our Churchyard is greatly valued by members of our community and I am grateful to Keith Carley, our sexton, and all who help to keep it tidy.

Several groups have met during the year. Our Mothers' Union was joined by members of Thirsk branch when it closed. Home Groups continued to meet on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings and are attended by a wide range of people, from this parish and beyond. Joint Lent Groups were held with members of Sowerby Methodist Church. The Quiet Reflection Group met throughout 2007, but finished at Christmas when its leader, Carol Cox, began exploring a call to Reader ministry. We are delighted that Carol has been accepted to train as a Reader, and we look forward to supporting her training when it starts in September 2008.

The choir has continued to lead our worship well, under the direction of Graham Merriam. We have also continued to benefit from the 'Big Sing' which has enabled us to sing a wider variety of hymns and songs on Sunday mornings. We are also gradually learning some new musical settings for the communion service. The choir led a Taize service in September, which was very well attended and much appreciated. Nancy Hebdon continues to play the organ for funerals and evening services. The bell ringers have continued their faithful ministry for Sunday services and weddings. We have a growing team of people who do Bible readings and lead intercessions. The Worship Committee has continued to review services, as well as to resource the monthly Worship for All service. Refresh Cafe Worship has continued monthly in the Parochial Hall and it is good to see a mix of people attending, and appreciating a more relaxed style of worship and teaching. I am grateful to Diana Wild, Chris Carnall and Trisha Richardson (Readers), Frank Blanchard and Roger Wild (retired clergy) and others for their help in leading services and preaching.

Pastoral care
All members of the Pastoral Care Team are being CRB checked and more visiting is being undertaken. The Prayer Circle is being appreciated, as is the opportunity to receive prayer ministry after 9.30 and 10.30am services. Trisha Bennett has taken on the responsibility of sending the church's good wishes to people with special birthdays and anniversaries.

We have become linked (through prayer and financial support) with CMS Mission Partners, Tim and Kate Lee and their family, who are working in the Philippines. Diana Wild led a CMS trip to visit them and was able to share lots of information on her return. In addition we supported the Lee's Jigsaw Project in Manila through our Harvest offerings and our practical gifts were sent, as usual, to Arc Light. At Christmas we supported the National Children's Home and Church Army's work with older people. We also sent shoe boxes to Operation Christmas Child, our Christingle collection went to Children's Society and the collection from our All Souls Service was given to Herriot Hospice Homecare. In addition we sent half of our funeral collections to charity as requested by families. We also hosted the Christian Aid Cut the Carbon marchers when they stayed in Sowerby in August, and we held a Big Brew Coffee Morning to promote fair trade. Members of St Oswald's were also fully involved in supporting Christian Aid Week.

Dick Etherington and his team continued to produce Outlook throughout the year. Dick has announced his intention to retire as editor, and I would like to express grateful thanks to him for all his work over the years. We also communicate through an excellent website, a new notice board and a weekly notice sheet. A 'Guide to Sowerby' was put together by Heather Limbach and Ruth Triffitt as a joint project between St Oswald's, Sowerby Methodist Church and the Parish Council and this has been distributed to all homes in Sowerby, with the intention that it should be given to new people as they move in. A Communications Group was formed during the year and they are looking at how we can improve all our communication. They have also organised the advertising leaflets for special events.

Church building
The clock has broken down several times during the year but now seems to be fixed. We have also had boiler problems, and we know this needs replacing. Several pews were removed at the back of the church to create extra space, and heating pipes were moved as part of this project. We have had the concrete dug up around the base of the church outside and replaced with gravel. This should help enormously to reduce the damp in the church. We have also improved the guttering and drainage. A disability audit was undertaken during the year, and as soon as possible we need to improve access to the church and our toilet facilities. Sadly our architect, Ron Sims, died during the year after many years of involvement with St Oswald's. The PCC will be appointing a new architect in 2008. We were blessed to receive a new notice board in memory of Jim Oldfield and a new home communion set in memory of Johnny Bennett. Thanks as always are due to those who clean the church, clean the brasses and arrange the flowers.

Links with other churches
St Oswald's continues to take an active part in Churches Together Thirsk District, with involvement in special events and services and three representatives (including the Priest-in-Charge) attending committee meetings.

We have extremely strong links with Sowerby Methodist Church. We have a joint evening service once a month, we do Lent Groups together, we worship together on Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week, much of our children's work is done jointly, and we look for other opportunities to work and worship together for the benefit of our church members and our community.

We continue to worship with St Cuthbert's, Sessay on fifth Sundays, and members of St Oswald's support the annual ecumenical Women's World Day of Prayer.

Special events
There have been many special events in the life of the church - the Daffodil Festival, the Parish Lunch, Harvest Supper, Autumn Fair, Rogation Walk, Wine Tasting Call My Bluff Evening and probably many more. Most of these have been supported by our Social Committee who continue to do a fantastic job which is much appreciated by all.

Stewardship and fundraising
In response to concerns about our finances, two new groups were started during the year. The Stewardship Group has been formed to increase regular giving and it is planning towards the TRIO giving programme which will be put into operation in May/June 2008. The Fundraising Group is looking at new ways to raise funds for the church, recognising that some of the more established ways (eg Autumn Fair) are becoming less popular.

Church officers / Standing Committee
At our annual meeting in April 2008 Sandra Barnett will stand down as churchwarden, having done six years in the role. We are more grateful than we can say for all her hard work and dedication. Heather Limbach has now done 2 years as churchwarden, and she contributes in many ways - particularly taking a lead with fabric and faculty matters. David Thorne has done more than two years as our Treasurer, working alongside the other valued members of the finance team. He has now decided to stand down, and we thank him too for all he has contributed. David Tucker has been our Secretary for two years, and we are grateful to him for his ongoing offering of his gifts and time.

The future
At a recent Deanery Pastoral Committee meeting it became clear that over the next few years the number of clergy in the deanery will be reduced, and the likelihood is that St Oswald's will be joined with more parishes. It is important that we begin to prepare for this in the not-too-distant future, by reassessing our pattern of services and our church structures, as well as by encouraging everyone in the church to use and develop their gifts and ministries.

It is impossible to mention all the people who contribute to the life of St Oswald's. Most church members are involved in some way and it is all valued and appreciated. May God guide us all in 2008.

Approved by the PCC on 11 March 2008
and signed on their behalf by the Revd Nicola Carnall
(Priest in Charge and Chair of PCC)

A Year in the Life of St Oswald's - 2007

St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

The Parochial Church Council
The PCC continued to meet every other month. Members have attended regularly in order to discharge their functions. The job of the PCC is to help the Priest in Charge in her discharge of her duties and to be a link between the congregation and the Diocese.

In addition there is a Standing Committee, which meets in the alternate months from the PCC, with extra meetings when needed. The current members have been Nicky, the Churchwardens Sandra and Heather, the PCC Secretary David Tucker and the Treasurer David Thorne. Other members of the PCC are kept informed of significant decisions and its minutes go to each succeeding PCC meeting. The Standing Committee’s job is to deal with PCC business between PCC meetings.

The organization of worship and other activities in St Oswald’s, the maintenance of the church, the churchyard and the Parochial Hall, these are always topics for the meetings.

Special issues this year have been the need for a fund raising committee to ensure the financial security of St Oswald’s, to enable it to meet its continuing commitment to pay the quota and to maintain the building and to secure its mission funding.

In addition a group has been working on the issue of admitting children to Holy Communion after baptism but before confirmation.

David Tucker

Pastoral Care Group
This group meets regularly to review the pastoral care offered by the church. Members report on visits they have made and suggest those who might need support. Those who are authorised Eucharistic Ministers take Holy Communion to people unable to come to church.

All members of the group have been subject to enhanced CRB checks and many have received appropriate training, for example in listening skills. The group has revised the Prayer Circle which operates at St Oswald’s and has introduced provision for prayer after services for those who wish it. It also reviews our links with care homes.

Chris Carnall

Home Communions
It has again been my great joy during the last year to be able to take Communion to our two nursing homes, and De Mowbray sheltered accommodation cottages. This year I have been able to share the Communions with Elizabeth Clark.

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 one of the regular communicants has died this year. We have welcomed several others, which has been lovely. Some join us when they are just in for respite care, which is always a joy.

On the third Wednesday, I go to Sowerby House, where we have about 8 people who faithfully attend each month. An ecumenical group, which is great!

I then go across the road to de Mowbray House, where sadly there is only one Person attending, Nelly, who has been coming since I started, she was in De Mowbray House and has been such a faithful communicant. We meet in her lovely cottage, where until recently Nelly came as well. Nelly has since moved on to another care home, and she will be missed.

This year we sadly said goodbye to Dinah Starr, who had been a real joy to have with us, she was always so pleased to see me, and for everything that was done for her, and remained joyful and happy, even through her deterioration in her last days. May God Bless her, and keep her in that perfect peace, which was apparent that she did experience.

Church Family members Olga

Church Family members Kay

Church Family members Nelly

I also take Communion to Sue Kennedy's mum, Olga Miller, and Kay Evans (who I know several of you know); they continue to be such a very great joy to visit. They were both very loyal member of our congregation, until they found it too taxing to come to church, but they do manage to come with help, to some of the Church festivals and functions.
I always feel so very privileged to be licensed to do this rewarding task, which I always find such a joy.

Trisha Bennett

Approximately every two months, a team from St. Oswald’s Church put together a service for the people who reside at Cherrygarth Nursing home.

The people who have been involved recently are Nicky Carnall, Kath Reynard, Jenny and Keith Carley, Margaret Turner, Margaret Creighton, Trisha Bennett and myself. New helpers would always be welcome.

The services involve music, reading Bible passages, a talk, which involves applying Scripture to everyday living. Then we close with prayers and a Blessing.

It is always a privilege and a pleasure to offer services at Cherrygarth, and whenever we go, we are warmly received.

Carol Cox

Graveyard, St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Mothers’ Union
We hold our meetings on the fourth Sunday of each month, commencing at 7.30pm in the Parochial Hall. Our July meeting last year was held at St Andrew’s Church at South Otterington, after which we had a meal at the Black Swan at Thornton le Moor. We do not have a meeting in August or December.

Our officers are Elizabeth Worsnop Branch Leader, Dorothy Watson Secretary and Barbara Thornton Treasurer.

In the last year we have had a variety of speakers which have included David Tucker, Chris Carnall, Rev Elizabeth Clark our local Methodist Minister, Dan Sladden, Roger Wild, Diana Sladden and our own member Elsie Kirby.

We are always looking for new members. If you are interested please speak to Elizabeth

Social Committee
Over the past year we have catered for three events, the first being the Harvest Festival on 6th October 2007. We served various curries plus traditional casseroles followed by a choice of sweet. Entertainment by members of the church followed. We estimated that 70 people plus children attended.

Parish Lunch

Our Parish Lunch was held on 27th January, we had a record number of people attending, at one stage we thought we would run out of food, but in the end no one went hungry!

Serving food at the Parish Lunch

The Easter Daffodil Festival was our last event, we served tea and cakes each afternoon. Due to the bad weather this year there were fewer visitors, the Monday afternoon saw the most visitors and we had a busy afternoon. We sold lots of lovely cakes and just about sold out by the end of the day.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us in so many ways, it is greatly appreciated.

Finally I would like to thank all members of the Social Committee for their enthusiasm and diligence at all times.

Pat Bennett.

Communications Group
This group was formed to examine and improve our communications. This means telling those within the St Oswald’s family about what is going on, and also speaking to the wider community, many of whom care about and support the church. It is part of our mission to make ourselves known.

We have a number of ways of communicating: the weekly newssheet, Outlook magazine, Easter and Christmas leaflets distributed throughout the parish, the wonderful new notice board, and one-off adverts for events. We also have an excellent website at which anyone in the world can access. There is also the more boring-looking stuff such as minutes of PCC meetings – but it is important that everyone can know what is happening and what is planned, especially on sensitive issues like admitting children who have been baptized but not confirmed to Holy Communion.

If you feel you can contribute to this group, please speak to (or phone or email!) Diana Wild

Children and Young Persons
St Oswald’s works actively with children of all ages. Children are part of the church today, and the emphasis is on welcoming children and their parents at church activities and to providing a wide range of activities suited to the age and aptitude of children and young people.

Kids Club

Kids Club meets in the Parochial Hall during most Sunday 9.30am services, with a range of learning activities. We are planning to use Godly Play once a month. The children will stay in the Parochial Hall for the whole of the period of the adult service and not return before communion.

The First Friday family picnic held in June was very well attended. Even though we had to eat our lunch in the hall we were able to hold all the games outside and just finished before the rain started. This event will go ahead again in 2008.

Lazer Light Party

56 children attended Waste Watchers holiday club in July, focusing on protection of the environment. A team of 26 adults shared the leading of worship, games, crafts, quizzes and the teaching from the Old and New Testament through DVDs, drama and experiencing Godly Play. A number of children who attended the holiday club for the first time stayed with us by coming along to First Friday.

Holiday Club

On 31st October we held a Lazer Light Party in church as part of our First Friday programme. It went extremely well. We had over 60 children attending, many in fancy dress, the church was decorated with lots of lights and was buzzing with activities and singing throughout the evening. We received donations from our congregation which meant we did not have to charge for the event, and the children went home with a bagful of treats. There was much appreciation shown from many of the parents who were relieved to have an alternative to Halloween for their children to attend on this evening.

Lazer Light Party

Youth Group: this year we have split into two groups as the age range is now from 11 to 16 year olds. Both groups continue to meet on the same evening at different times on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. We enjoyed a visit to the bowling alley at Northallerton in September.

Our Christmas craft workshop took place on 15th December. 43 children came.

Kids club made a large Christmas card to leave in church for anyone to sign. Esther Irving once again wrote a Nativity for us.

30 children returned to First Friday after the Christmas break all full of energy and enthusiasm to sing listen & learn more about God.

The range of activities for children and young people require a lot of preparation and effort on the part of the adult leaders. During the year we considered the possibility of employing a youth worker jointly with the Methodist church, but concluded that it would place too many demands on one person and would be impracticable.

We have also reviewed our child protection policy, which was fully complaint with good practice when first introduced, but needed bringing up to date. This is the cluster of practice designed to protect our children and young children during church activities.

Pauline Alderson

Tower Captain’s Report
During the last year we have on a most occasions, save for first Sundays, been able to ring at least some of the bells. Unfortunately, we have too often not been able to ring all the bells. We have also sought to ring for the main services at festivals and for some special services, and we have rung occasionally for evening service. I am grateful to everyone who has turned out for service ringing and to various friends and supernumeraries who have helped out, especially Pauline and Tony. I am also grateful to friends mainly from Easingwold who have provided stalwart support when we were unable to field a full team for wedding ringing.

Bell at St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

We were delighted to welcome Margaret to the band towards the end of 2007. Applications to join the band from people already able to handle a bell are rare indeed!

Since the last report a total of 6 quarter peals have been rung. All these have provided opportunities for developing ringing skills and some were arranged to celebrate notable occasions such as special birthdays or anniversaries of members of the church community. Special mention should be made of Charlotte who continues to demonstrate the potential to develop well beyond the confines of what can be achieved by a band entirely from St Oswald’s.

I am grateful to everyone who has helped in any way with running the ringing or the band at St Oswald’s.

John Limbach

Mowbray Deanery Synod
St Oswald’s has three representatives who attend Mowbray Deanery Synod. This is the final year of this triennium for Jill Drew, Joan Oldfield and Gayle Hartley. Nicky also attends the meetings.

Each meeting begins with a presentation by a speaker. This part of the evening is open to every one who wishes to attend. Since our last annual report we have heard a talk on “The role of rural churches in raising social capital” by Revd John Davis; Mr Andy Dorton talked about “Faithful Cities: loving their neighbours and encouraging interdependence”; Revd Ashley Wilson encouraged parishes to discuss the subject of Admission of Children to Communion before Confirmation and Mr Peter Warry explained the proposed changes to the structure of the Diocesan Synod and its sub-committees.

At each meeting we hear news of discussions from the General Synod and the York Diocesan Synod. There is an opportunity to advertise forthcoming events in our area. There is also a refreshment time when we are able to chat to members from other parishes. The Synod supports the running of the Deanery youth camp each spring as part of its outreach.

At our Annual Meeting in April new Deanery Synod representatives will be elected to serve for the next three years. This paragraph is from a leaflet given out at the talk regarding the new structure of the diocese:

“If Deanery Synods are to play this pivotal role in the strategic decision making about local deployment and resourcing, which will place them at the heart of mission across the diocese, we need to be able to rely on the fact that they are made up of key representatives of PCCs – those people in whom the PCCs (and indeed congregations) have confidence to make decisions on their behalf.”

Gayle Hartley.

Parochial Hall
It has been another busy year in the Parochial Hall with users from the Church and the community. Bookings have continued to increase for this popular amenity.

The Hall Management Committee is considering the refurbishment of the committee room within the next year.

The hall could not function without people giving freely of their valuable time. I would like to thank them all, Harry and Eileen Parkinson, Gerry Allen, Ann Coates and the Management team.

Gerry Allen is standing down as booking secretary after many years. Grateful thanks for the splendid job he has done. Margaret Ridsdale has agreed to take on the position.

Jean West

Arc Light
I continue to be gob-smacked by the generosity of people who think of Arc Light whenever they have some clothes or bedding or other things that they no longer need. People bring me plastic bin bags or other bundles filled with items that will help the dedicated staff in York carry on their mission to help the homeless who so often have next to nothing of their own.

Construction of the new Arc Light building in York

2008 should be an exciting year for Arc Light – their new building is due to be completed and handed over soon. No longer will the kitchen be a portacabin wedged round the back of an ageing ex-railway office building. The problems coming to their new door will be the same, but the staff will be better equipped to help. And your gifts will continue to offer hope.

David Tucker

The Family of St Oswald’s

The Family of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby

Annual reports since 2004

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