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

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Annual report 2011

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2011

Priest in Charge:
Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr William Pearson ACA, FCCA

Church Architect:
Linda Lockett

Yorkshire Bank (Main Account)
Standard Life
Cooperative Bank


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 2011 the APCM was held on 10 April.

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

Priest in Charge:
The Revd Nicola Carnall - Chair

Heather Limbach - Vice Chair
David Tucker

Deanery Synod Reps:
Jill Drew
Gayle Hartley
Ruth Sladden (to APCM)
Chris Carnall (from APCM)

Diana Wild

Elected Members:
Emma Benoit
David Brooke
Sue Busuttil - Secretary
Margaret Creighton
Helen Irving (to APCM)
Neil Irving (to APCM)
John Kennedy (to APCM)
Graham Merriam (from APCM) - Treasurer
Chris Penfold
Martin Ridsdale (to APCM)
Ruth Sladden (from APCM)
Margaret Turner (from APCM)
Jean West (to APCM)
Pauline Alderson (from APCM)
Robert Coupland (from APCM to October)
Euan Mitchell (from APCM)

Graham Merriam (to 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 is 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.


Our main decision-making body is the Parochial Church Council which meets six times a year or more as needed. 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, Children & Youth Team. Our Deanery Synod Representatives continued to attend meetings during the year and to report back to the PCC. In July the PCC voted unanimously in favour of the Women in the Episcopate measure.

Church Attendance

Average Sunday attendance in 2011 was 74 adults and 8 children. This is a slight decrease in adults and children compared with 2010. However, it should be noted that much of the work we do, especially with children and young people, is not included in these numbers. The electoral roll at the annual meeting in 2011 was 153 - an increase of 3 on the previous year.

Children & Young People

Pauline Alderson was commissioned to the half-time post of Children & Young People's Development Worker in April. During the service we gave thanks for the legacy from Arthur Thompson which helped us to make this appointment. One of Pauline's first tasks was to enable the church to begin Messy Church - an outreach for local families including messy activities, worship and a shared lunch. The first Messy Church was held in September, with huge numbers attending and a large team of helpers drawn from St Oswald's, Sowerby Methodist Church and St Mary's, Thirsk. We are excited about the potential for building community and sharing God's love with those who rarely come to church services. Another first was that Pauline and other leaders took a group of young people and families to the Greenbelt Festival in August. This was enjoyed by everyone and is likely to be repeated. In addition, members of the Youth and Children's Team continued to lead and organise Kids' Club, Pram Service, Children's Workshops, First Friday, Holiday Club, Laser Light, Youth Group and Youth Cafe, as well as being involved in the Deanery Youth Council and taking children and young people to other events within the Diocese and beyond. A full review of our Safeguarding Procedures was undertaken during the autumn.

During the year we held a review of Worship for All Services. Four members of the team went to a training day and brought back ideas for planning all age worship in a different way. Some of our all age services became Parade services, with young people from the local uniformed organisations attending and taking part. There was also a Thinking Day service in February for the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, and the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts held their own Easter service in church. The Diocesan Education Team held an RE day for local schools in the church and hall during the year.

Community involvement

During the year there were 6 weddings, 22 baptisms and 28 funerals at St Oswald's (with another 5 funerals held at the Crematorium). We also celebrated with two couples who were renewing their marriage vows. All of these 'occasional offices' involve time spent in preparation and planning, and they are a well appreciated part of the church's ministry to its parish and beyond.

The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community, and in April was used for the Sowerby Village Party to celebrate the Royal Wedding. The Church building too is used by a variety of groups for visits, services, concerts, etc. We continue our strong link with Sowerby Music.

Meetings have taken place with the Parish Council who are planning to give the church some land for an extension to the Churchyard. We continue to be grateful for the Parish Council's contribution to churchyard upkeep each year. The Parish Council appreciates the church's input into Remembrance Sunday and Carols round the Christmas Tree.

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. The school held a mock wedding in church to help the younger children learn about community celebrations. Their normal Easter, Harvest and Christmas services were held in church as well.

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend a Flower Festival on the theme of Celebrations was held in Church, thanks to Sowerby Flower Club. We also held a Daffodil Festival at Easter and Coffee, Cakes & Crafts in November. All these events draw in people from the wider community, as well as church members, and we are grateful to those who work so hard to make them happen.

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 hospital.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship

Our pattern of services continued unchanged during the year, although preparations were being made for the new pattern which will begin once Nicky is licensed to Thirkleby with Kilburn and Bagby. Special services were held during the Flower Festival and to celebrate 400 years of the King James Bible. People continue to appreciate the variety of services which mark important seasons of the year - Advent and Christmas, Holy Week and Easter, Harvest, All Souls and Remembrance. We continue to be very grateful to our Readers, retired clergy, organist, choir, bell ringers and all who lead our services, as well as to those who help to prepare the church and welcome people for worship.

PCC members continue to meet for prayer before PCC meetings. Two home groups met for Bible study, prayer and fellowship during the year. Mothers' Union meetings always include prayer and worship, and many special services also take place within the deanery and diocese.

In addition to the community events mentioned above, the Events Group also arranged a Parish Lunch and a Ceilidh to enable church members to meet together. These were much appreciated.


The church website is an excellent up-to-date source of information about the church and it is well used by church members and many others. The monthly Saints Alive magazine and weekly notice sheets are also used for sharing of news and information amongst church members. Sowerby Now continues to share news about the church and local community with the residents of Sowerby. The Communications Group continues to review the way we communicate as a church and produces some excellent publicity for church events.

Developing ministry

In November Carol Cox was licensed as a Reader in a service at York Minster. A coach full of people went to support her and the service was followed by a celebration lunch in the Parochial Hall. Carol has completed 3 years of study, and continues with her final year. Dan Sladden continues his training for Ordained Pioneer Ministry. Becca Stevens, who spent some time at St Oswald's before doing a placement with Careforce, has begun training for Ordained Ministry in the Church in Wales. Rob Coupland had an exciting year - becoming a Server at St Oswald's, being confirmed, exploring a sense of vocation at parish and diocesan level, and finally moving to London for a year's placement as Pastoral Assistant at St Matthew's Church, Westminster. In addition, several young people were trained in bell ringing. At St Oswald's we remain committed to helping people explore vocation to all kinds of ministry and service.

Mission Giving

We have offered financial support to many organisations throughout the year. In support of overseas projects, we have given to CMS, Jigsaw Kids Ministries and Christian Aid. We also helped one of our youth leaders, Sam Chapman, to visit our link Diocese in South Africa with the Diocesan Youth Team. We were pleased to host a visit from Richard Cooke, a Church Army Officer working in Selby, and sent a gift to Church Army in response. Locally we have supported the Family Life Church who were putting on a lunch for people on their own on Christmas Day. We have also continued our support of Thirsk Clock, both financially and by collecting gifts of food. We continue to pass on half of funeral collections to charities when requested by families. A Discretionary Fund was set up during the year to help those who find themselves in financial difficulties because of the recession. Sowerby Now also supports local activities from its operating surplus.


We were sorry to see the Revd Elizabeth Clark and her family move on during the summer, but pleased to welcome the Revd Kathie Heathcoat in the autumn. Our links with the Methodist Church remain strong and meetings to plan joint events and services are held regularly. Much of our children's work is done together. St Oswald's continues to play a full part in the Churches Together Committee and in events planned by the group. For the first time this year, different churches hosted joint services on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of Holy Week.

Church fabric

A new (non-opening) gate was placed in the gap in the churchyard wall between the Church and Glebe House. Some trees were pollarded and a dead one was taken down. A lot of time was spent in Buildings Group and PCC discussing proposals for reordering inside the church. The Archdeacon gave permission for some temporary reordering, so that the congregation could try out different arrangements of church furniture. A faculty was granted for work on the vestry, kitchen and toilet areas, to create a new accessible toilet with baby changing facilities, improved access into the church, and suitable office space for people to work in. A storage area is to be provided in the south transept with new wooden screens in both the north and south transepts. This work has gone out to tender and it is hoped that it will be completed in 2012, alongside progress towards creating flexible space in the body of the church and level access through the south door with a new internal glass porch.
All routine maintenance and checks have been undertaken during the year and recorded in the church log. Many people continue to help look after the building, including brass cleaners, flower arrangers and Maria, our cleaner. We continue to be grateful to the churchwardens who take a lead on all Fabric matters.

Thirkleby with Kilburn & Bagby

St Oswald's PCC continued to be in support of the proposal for the Rev Nicky Carnall to become Priest in Charge of the benefice of Thirkleby with Kilburn and Bagby in addition to Sowerby and Sessay. Thirkleby, Kilburn and Bagby representatives agreed to this in September and the Licensing was planned for January 2012. Several meetings have taken place in preparation for the change, including a meeting of all five sets of churchwardens with the three Readers, who will minister in all the parishes. The next legal step, if it is agreed, will be the joining together of the three benefices into a new plurality.


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 6 March 2012 and signed on their behalf.
The Revd Nicola Carnall
Priest in Charge and Chair of PCC

Annual accounts 2011 (PDF file)

A Year in the Life of St Oswald's, Sowerby - 2011

St Oswald's Church, from the church yard
St Oswald's - a lively church for everyone in the community

Churchwardens' report

The position of churchwarden is a fascinating one - you never know from day to day what you'll be asked to do. It may be arranging the five-yearly check on the electrical wiring in the church or listening to someone with a problem about flowers in the churchyard. We are also responsible for good order during services, and for keeping an accurate record of the assets of the church.

Sometime it takes one onto the roof of the church to inspect for damage. Then there is the liaison with the Diocesan Advisory Committee or the Archdeacon about making change to the church fabric. There is also the pastoral side, which is very important - caring about the people who are in church, or those who are not. St Oswald's may just be the most diverse organisation in Sowerby, and as churchwardens we are blessed with a whole lot of folks who all contribute their gifts and skills to make the place hum! So thank you from us to all of you!

It has been a demanding year, not least because of the continuing plans to make major changes inside the building. It has been Heather's last full year. She has put great skill, effort and love into her work as churchwarden, a great deal of it unseen, as in phone calls, studying documentation, thinking of problems before they arise, and all this with some very large dogs to walk and look after as well!

David Tucker

Buildings Report for 2011

The year began with the roofing works being finished and with the new lead being smartwatered for security. We had Skillington's Workshops back twice to complete the stonework conservation on the south door way to the architect's satisfaction. By the end of 2011, most of the major Quinquennial items had been successfully addressed.

Hence, much of the year again focused on the reordering. Archdeacon Licenses were sought and gained for a number of changes, including removal of the choir stalls, pulpit and some pews from the rear of church, which were stored in the annexe. Moving things around was really helpful as it clarified what worked. The vicar's stall had a number of moves ending up at the south side of the main aisle where Nicky is much nearer everyone. PCC approved the second phase of the reordering - the new south porch and improved entry there. By the end of the year phase one had gone out to tender, but a suitable quote was not forthcoming, and so the tender process has run into 2012.

The church had all the bits checked during the year! The fire extinguishers were serviced as was the clock. The electrical goods were PAT tested. The boiler performed well and, like the clock, managed a whole year without breaking down!

The churchyard was cleared in early spring by a goodly number of people and it was really nice to see some of our young families getting involved. There were also further works carried out to the churchyard trees. We worked with the Parish Council on creating new boundaries for the churchyard extension. We have 2 years on our faculty to remove the current wall to create the new area. The Parish Council continue to contribute to the costs of cutting the grass. A faculty has been obtained for works to the East wall of the churchyard where there was some vandalism. The works will happen during 2012.

Heather and David

Children & Youth Work

The children & Youth work has continued throughout the last year with its usual hustle & bustle. We had 10 First Friday meetings including a family fun session in the swimming pool. Children aged 5-11 from Sowerby and Thirsk attend the First Friday meetings each month. Our workshops at Easter and Christmas are organized by the First Friday leaders, each is a two hour session spent making crafts with a celebration through worship and story telling using Godly Play. Laser Light is the only workshop that we hold on the same day of the year which is 31st October, again this is organized by the First Friday leaders. An alternative to Halloween, the children make crafts as they collect sweets and treats from each station. This year the teaching at Laser Light was led by the youth group.

Our Kids Club has continued to meet during our 9.30am service with several Godly Play sessions. The children were involved with preparing our Easter displays in church and the Christmas mobile that hung over the altar during the Christmas season, they were also involved in the annual Nativity.

Youth Group have been meeting every second, fourth and fifth Sunday. A small group attended XLS last February at York Minster with 600 other young people who are exploring their faith. On May 29 members of the group attended the Big Night Out event organized by Urban Saints at Lightwater Valley. They had sole use of all the rides for 3 hours and stayed for the concert put on by Christian Bands. The group organized a youth cafe in February and during a sleepover at the beginning of April they made preparations towards the AAW service for Sunday April 3rd. In June the older youth spent an afternoon at the beach having a chill out time. The younger group visited SPREE at Leeds in July for a fun day of (exhausting) activities; they will be attending the SPREE camp weekend in June this year. Once again the group prepared a Treasure Seekers holiday club for the younger children at the beginning of August; they became the pirates who turned their lives around for the greatest treasure of all - Jesus. The group wrote and performed the dramas as well as playing in the band, organizing games and leading the children in a daily workout, they were full of enthusiasm and energy and an excellent role model to the younger children. At the end of August 11 members of the older youth group and 4 adults went to Greenbelt Festival at Cheltenham for a fun packed weekend with many opportunities to learn and explore their Christian journey.

The Mowbray Deanery Youth Council organized a family Bonfire in October, inviting families to come together for games with a BBQ around the bonfire, it was attended by over 50 people.

Messy Church was introduced to Sowerby in September, this is an event for families to come together to play and pray together as they learn about God's love. After a time for messy crafts we share a time of celebration and worship and finish with a sit down meal for everyone. Over 20 families attended and we held our second meeting in January. We now have dates fixed for the rest of the year.

Open the Book at Sowerby Community Primary School
We have just started to use the resource called Open The Book in Sowerby School: a team of people take the bible stories and perform them in a clear simple way to the children during an assembly.

Pauline Alderson

Pram Service

Every first Friday of the month at 12.30pm, except in the school holidays, parents and their babies, toddlers and pre-school children arrive at St Oswald's for Pram Service. For the next half hour there is singing, a Bible story 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. Some of our Pram Service families have been coming for a long time, others have joined us quite recently, and there are several new babies.

At about 1pm we go over to the Parochial Hall where food is laid out on a long table, the tea is brewing and there are smiling faces to welcome us for our lunch. Everyone has the chance to chat over lunch and, after eating, the children get down from the table for a run around in the hall.

On behalf of all the families I would like to say a big thank you again to everyone who prepares, serves and clears up after lunch. Pram Service wouldn't be the same without you!

This year several of our Pram Service families have also enjoyed coming to Christingle, Crib Service and Messy Church.

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.

Helen Irving

Home Communions

How quickly this year has gone! Two major events. Firstly I saw Rev. Elizabeth Clark moving on to pastures new, after sharing in the ministry with her over these past years, as we gave Communion to both Cherry Garth and Sowerby House. Then in September welcoming Rev. Kathie Heathcoat, (our new Methodist minister) in the same capacity, which is a great pleasure!

It is such a privilege and always gives me great joy to be able to go to both homes each month. I try to go to both as it is good to keep that sense of continuity, and get to know them, and they become such good friends. Kathie takes the service one month and I do it the following month.

At Sowerby House, I go to Gwen in her room, as she has not been very mobile of late and not able to get down to the Conservatory where we usually gather. Her joy is always so welcoming!

John Greenwood

We have said 'goodbye' to one of our faithful communicants this year, John Greenwood, as he went to be with our Lord! He was such a lovely 'gentleman', and remained part of our Church family to the end! His lovely smile is one that will never fade! He always kissed my hand each time I went! What a memory to treasure! May he rest in Peace.

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!

Sadly for me, Dorothy Brown, has left Sowerby and has gone to live in a Nursing home in Ilkley, which is near her daughter. Several of her friends visit her there, which still gives her a sense of still being part of the community! 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!

With my Love

Communication Group

poster for Flower Festival 2011

During 2011 the Communication group have had three events to publicise. The Daffodil Weekend at Easter, the Flower Festival in August and the Coffee Cake & Crafts in November. I feel all went well. Martin Hooper was our lynch pin and got us really organised, teaching us a lot. As a group we worked well, with posters being distributed to all the Mowbray Deanery and to surrounding villages and shops. New banners were purchased, fliers distributed in the Market Place and handed out to the congregation. David Tucker and Jill did the press releases.

David Brooke has updated the Address list for 2011 and updated the Come & Join Us leaflet.

Diana Wild has done some very eye catching notices for the outside notice board and Sue Binns with the help of her husband did a marvellous display on the large board just inside church for the Flower Festival. Many thanks to them all.

We are looking for new people to join the group with new ideas.

Jill Drew

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 held our AGM. This was followed in March by our Annual Lunch. As the Diocesan Office in York and Mary Sumner House could not tell us when we were first formed we decided to celebrate our 100th Birthday, and on further information received we actually celebrated our 111th, which was held at the Golden Fleece Hotel.

We visited South Kilvington Church for our July meeting and this was followed by a meal at the Old Oak Tree. The Mary Sumner Day Service which is held each year to celebrate the start of the Mothers' Union was held at the home of Anne Baines 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 welcomed a member from another branch.

During the year 2 of our members celebrated their Golden Weddings and 2 members their 80th birthdays.

Our monthly meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Parochial Hall Committee Room at 2pm. 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

Events Group

In January we organised a parish lunch which was attended by about 60 people. This was followed in February by a ceilidh which proved popular with all ages.

In April, as usual, we hosted the Daffodil Festival. As Easter was late the daffodils had finished flowering but nobody seemed to mind.

flowers inside church

The big event of the year was the Flower Festival at the end of August. This was run in conjunction with the Flower Club. It was hard work but interesting and enjoyable. Through lack of demand there was no Harvest Super so we shall try a different format this year. "Coffee, Cakes and Crafts" in November was the usual pleasant social occasion and throughout the year the Luncheon Club catered on the fourth Wednesday of each month, culminating in a very well attended carol service in December. Thank you to Eleanor for organising it each month. If anybody has any ideas for different events we should be very pleased to consider them.

Margaret Turner

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 Hall bookings have been efficiently administered by Margaret Ridsdale. As well as regular users, we have a steady demand for parties. We had a little trouble with noise and mess after one party. We succeeded in recovering compensation from the organiser for the extra work which Harry and Mrs Parkinson were put to, and in order to maintain our good relations with residential neighbours we circulated a letter apologising for any inconvenience and assuring them that we are scrupulous in what party bookings we accept and have strict conditions.

village party for royal wedding
To celebrate the Royal Wedding in May we held a Village Party utilising the Hall's field. Several hundred people attended this free event, for which we had financial support from Sowerby Parish Council.

David Tucker

Sowerby Luncheon Club

The Luncheon Club has flourished throughout 2011 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 58 'active' names on the luncheon's list, the average attendance at the ten lunches in 2011 has been 46.5 and the food, different at every lunch, has ranged from Roast Ham, Beef Stew, Roast Shoulder of Pork and Chicken, Leek and Ham Pie all with fresh vegetables as main courses. Also Apple Crumble, Treacle Sponge and Strawberry Meringue with Cream as sweets. Plus tea or coffee and all for just £2.50 but rising to £3 this coming year.

The small financial surplus from the lunches, swelled by donations has allowed the Club to purchase a new cooker for the Hall.

The Luncheon Club is a place for friendship with a wonderful atmosphere and a unique link to the Church for many older people. We had a wonderful Carol Service in the Hall in December which was lively, enjoyable and well supported.

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


We have had a good year this year after several difficult ones. This has mainly been the result of having more ringers available and particularly more from Sowerby. Hence we have rung more frequently and for more occasions.

Firstly our ringers. Ben and Matt have grown in confidence and ability during the year and made excellent progress. In January they could only ring with support, but by the end of the year had become integral members of the band. Not only have they both made progress into early change ringing, they also ring with a good and improving standard of striking. Their dedication and commitment have been exemplary and we hope that they can sustain this next year. We have also taught Luke and Luke, who have come through youth group. By Christmas they had reached the same stage that Matt and Ben had the year before and we were thrilled at how well they rang for the Crib Service, their first and noisy experience of service ringing.

We have continued to be supported by Anne from Bagby, Cathy and occasionally Jill from Thirkleby, Margaret from Boltby, Geoff from Topcliffe and Mike from Thirsk. They have all attended practice nights and weddings, but they have had problems with coming to service ringing when their own service time has clashed with ours. Hence it has been good when Tom is back from University and we have been able to call on Neil as well and Lindsey from Thirsk at Christmas. Ringers from Easingwold also have come over periodically to support our practice night or for service/wedding ringing. We still have visits from Tony in the summer when he makes his summer pilgrimage from Shiney Row! We would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the year. We also look forward next year, to teaching new young people from youth group who have expressed an interest.

Secondly, the ringing. We have held regular practice nights most weeks with a learners' practice preceding it. John has undertaken to do most of the teaching this year as I have struggled with a torn shoulder tendon (not the result of ringing!). The band are indebted to him for the time and effort he has put into this, as we have also taught a number of other people during the year, who for various reasons, have been unable to pursue it. We have tried to ring for most festivals, and for the first time in several years rang for all the Christmas services. We have also rung for all the weddings where bells were requested, which is most of them. Sue has continued to act as our secretary, liaising between us and the wider world of bellringers.

Heather Limbach

Christian Aid

Christian Aid has had excellent support from St Oswald's Church again this year. The house to house collection raised a magnificent £1,237. Grateful thanks to the many helpers.

The Flower Festival donated £311 and jointly with the Methodist Church we raised over £400 for the Sierra Leone Appeal. The Christmas carol singing in Thirsk Market Place raised over £150.

Christian Aid logo

The Christian Aid Service will be held on Sunday May 13th in Sowerby Methodist Church at 6.30pm and Christian Aid Week is from May 13th to the 18th.

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.

Please keep saving stamps, foreign coins, old printer cartridges (not Epson) and obsolete mobile phones. These can all be given to me or I can supply you with special envelopes.

Eleanor Hooper

Mowbray Deanery Synod 2011

At the March meeting of Synod Revd John Ford made a presentation on "York Diocesan link with the Archdeaconry of False Bay, Cape Town" this gave us an insight of life in South Africa and highlighted the visit to the area by the youth team from our Diocese later in the year.

The Annual Meeting of St Oswald's in April 2011 was the time to elect three representatives to attend the Mowbray Deanery Synod meetings for the next three years. Those elected were Chris Carnall, Jill Drew and Gayle Hartley. Nicky is also a member of Deanery Synod.

In June 2011, to mark the beginning of the new triennium, there was a Holy Communion service followed by presentations on the measure of 'Women in the Episcopate'. This subject was then discussed at PCC within each parish, the representatives then reported back to the September meeting of the Deanery Synod their PCC's view on the measure. The Mowbray Deanery Synod representatives then reported to the November meeting of Diocesan Synod that their Deanery had voted unanimously in favour of the measure.

The chance for each PCC and then the Deanery Synod to influence a debate at Diocesan and then General Synod is a significant fulfilment of the restructuring of the Diocese set out in 2007.

At each meeting 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. The Deanery supports the Mowbray Deanery Youth Council in their work with children and young people. In 2011 transport to the Big Night Out event at Lightwater Valley in May, the SPREE event at Bramhope, Leeds in July and a contribution towards refreshments for a family BBQ and Bonfire event in October at Paradise Farm, Kirby Knowle were all funded by the Deanery.

This year saw the election of a new Deanery treasurer and also secretary. Rita Laverick has taken on both posts.

Gayle Hartley

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, continued to improve 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, was, at the start of the year 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. With Norman moving away, the team are looking to fill his place.

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, the Skateboard Park and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

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 2000 houses in Sowerby. If you feel you might contribute by helping in this way please get in touch.

Martin Hooper

Church website

The church website 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 come to church.

The website includes software that counts visitors. This tends to undercount, but shows that in 2011 there were 5,359 visits to the site, viewing 12,427 pages (an average of 2.32 pages per visit). Around 47% of the visits were people who had visited the site before.

The most popular pages (in order) were the home page, calendar, hall, history, contact us, find us, people, children, weddings and baptisms, services, and groups.

There is also 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. Other suggestions and contributions are always welcomed; there is almost unlimited space for text, photos, audio and video files. Good quality photographs of church groups and activities are particularly wanted.

For those who use such things - St Oswald's website is now on Twitter and Facebook. Please follow us on Twitter at @StOswaldSowerby and like us on Facebook StOswaldSowerby.

To join the 44 people who receive an email when significant changes are made to the website, please email

Neil Irving

Annual reports since 2004

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Registered charity number 1135485.