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

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Annual report 2012

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2012

Priest in Charge (Vicar from 1 April):
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 2012 the APCM was held on 1 April.

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

Priest in Charge:
The Revd Nicola Carnall - Chair

Heather Limbach (to APCM) - Vice Chair (to APCM)
David Tucker - Vice Chair (from APCM)
John Kennedy (from APCM)

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

Diana Wild (to APCM)

Elected Members:
Helen Ashworth (from APCM)
Emma Benoit (to APCM)
David Brooke
Sue Busuttil (to APCM) - Secretary (to APCM)
Keith Carley (from APCM)
Margaret Creighton
Robert Coupland (to APCM)
Helen Irving (from APCM) - Secretary (from APCM)
Graham Merriam (from APCM) - Treasurer
Chris Penfold (to APCM)
Ruth Sladden
Margaret Turner
Pauline Alderson
Euan Mitchell (to APCM)

Sam Chapman (from APCM)

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 Vicar, Churchwardens, Treasurer and Secretary. In addition there are a number of working groups which report to PCC. Our Deanery Synod Representatives continued to attend meetings during the year and to report back to the PCC.


There were changes for St Oswald’s in 2012. On 27 January our then Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Nicola Carnall (who was also Priest-in-Charge of St Cuthbert’s, Sessay) became in addition Priest-in-Charge of the Benefice of Thirkleby with Kilburn and Bagby. She was licensed by the Bishop of Whitby at a service in Thirkleby attended by people from all five churches. On 1 April the three benefices became a plurality and Rev Nicky became Vicar of Sowerby, Rector of Sessay and Vicar of Thirkleby with Kilburn and Bagby. On 16 September, the Rev Melodie Kimball was licensed by the Archbishop of York as Assistant Priest (House for Duty) for the plurality in a service held in Sessay. Rev Melodie works for two days a week in the plurality and lives in Kilburn Vicarage.

Service Pattern

The growth of the plurality meant that the monthly pattern of services needed to change. From February onwards, the service times were 8.30am, 10.30am and 6.30pm. At 8.30am there were services of Holy Communion on the first and third Sundays in the month, with Early Worship (a lay-led service of Morning Prayer) on second and fourth Sundays. At 10.30am there were Holy Communion services on the second and fourth Sundays, with Worship for All (a lay-led family service) on the first Sunday and Morning Prayer (led by a Reader) on the third Sunday. At 6.30pm there was Evening Prayer at St Oswald’s on the first and third Sundays, with church members encouraged to attend the Evening Service at Sowerby Methodist Church on the other Sundays in the month. When there are five Sundays in the month a joint Communion service for the plurality is held in one of the churches at 10.30am.

Church Attendance

The electoral roll at the annual meeting in 2012 was 143. Average Sunday attendance in 2012 was 65 adults and 7 children. This is a decrease of 9 adults and one child compared with 2011, which may in part be a result of the new service pattern with fewer evening services. It should also be noted that most of our work with children and families is not reflected in these numbers.

Children & Young People

Pauline Alderson continued in the half-time post of Children & Young People’s Development Worker. Under her guidance our work with children, young people and families continues to grow. Messy Church is flourishing with new families coming along and enjoying the crafts, worship and lunch. The sessions have become more frequent and we are now meeting approximately every 6 weeks.

In January a team from St Oswald’s and Sowerby Methodist Church began leading ‘Open the Book’ assemblies at Sowerby Community Primary School and Sessay CE Primary School. A dramatized Bible story is presented, followed by a time of reflection and prayer and then a song. The head teachers of both schools are delighted with ‘Open the Book’ and we receive much positive feedback from the children. The frequency of our visits has doubled during the year. We are now going to each school four times a term.

Groups for children and young people continue to include: Kids’ Club (takes place during Sunday services), First Friday (run jointly with Sowerby Methodist Church), Youth Group and Pram Service.

Events for children and young people this year have included a Youth Café, a visit to a Diocesan Event at Lightwater Valley, attendance at a Spree weekend run by Urban Saints at Hollybush, a Family Bonfire at Paradise Farm, a ‘Turn on the Tap’ charity fundraising event and ‘Superheroes’ Holiday Club. Preparations are being made for a group of young people to take part in Rebuild in 2014– a house-building project in Mexico. Several families attended the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham. Five members of the Youth Group were prepared for Confirmation, and were confirmed by the Archbishop of York in Northallerton in June. A St George’s Day service took place in St Oswald’s organised by local Scouting groups. The Diocesan Education Team held an RE day for local schools in the church and hall during the year.

Community involvement

During 2012 there were 12 weddings (6 in 2011), 36 baptisms (22 in 2011) and 29 funerals (33 in 2011). Our funeral ministry team has grown, with Carol Cox starting to take funerals as well as Chris Carnall and Rev Nicky. 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.

Our Church building is used by a variety of groups for visits, services, concerts, etc. We continue our strong link with Sowerby Music. The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community. In June it hosted a Village Party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Parish Council installed a new plaque in the churchyard wall to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. They had also hoped to restore the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee plaque, but this broke on removal, and so was replaced with a replica. The broken plaque has been stored for historical purposes.

The Parish Council have purchased an additional piece of land adjacent to our current churchyard extension and are planning to transfer ownership to the church for future burials. We expect the new extension to be consecrated in 2013. Part of the new burial ground is to remain unconsecrated at the request of the parish council. Diocesan churchyard regulations will still apply.

We continue to be grateful for the Parish Council’s contribution to churchyard upkeep each year, which has included clearing snow from the paths as necessary. 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 their Easter, Harvest and Christmas services in church. We 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 Telephone Prayer Circle became an Email Prayer Circle during the year, with those not on email linked up via a friend. This 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. Several visits were also made to people in hospital.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship

PCC members continue to meet for prayer before PCC meetings. Prayer and study groups were held on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings, and a group met on Wednesday mornings during Lent and for a short time afterwards. 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 Harvest Ceilidh to enable people to meet together with others from the plurality and from Sowerby Methodist Church. These were much appreciated.

A walk round all 5 parishes took place on May Day Bank Holiday, supported by people from all the churches in the plurality. Also in May, a coach-load of people attended ‘Whitsun in Whitby’ – an archdeaconry celebration of Pentecost held in the ruins of Whitby Abbey.


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 (a joint publication with Sowerby Methodist Church) missed a quarterly issue as some members of the team withdrew. A new team put together an intermediate Christmas version, and it is hoped to bring it back in a revised format in 2013.

Developing ministry

Many members of St Oswald’s are developing their gifts and using them in ministry of different kinds. The new pattern of services has given more opportunity for lay people to lead worship and we are grateful to those who are serving in this way.

We continue to be very grateful to clergy, Readers, organists, choir members, bell ringers, flower arrangers and all who lead our services, as well as to those who help to prepare the church and welcome people for worship.

Several former members of St Oswald’s are pursuing a call to ordained ministry. Dan Sladden was ordained Deacon in July and is now Assistant Curate at Ingleby Barwick. Becca Stevens continues her ordination training for ministry in the Church in Wales. Rob Coupland continues as Pastoral Assistant at St Matthew’s Church, Westminster, whilst exploring his vocation.

At St Oswald’s we remain committed to helping people explore their calling to all kinds of ministry and service.

Mission & Giving

The PCC agreed to continue supporting CMS mission partner Tim Lee for a further 3 years. We welcomed another visitor from CMS, Susie Hart, who spoke about her work with people with disabilities in Tanzania. We are also regularly supporting Jigsaw Kids Ministries in the Philippines. Our Harvest offerings were sent to Church Army following the visit of Church Army Officer Richard Cooke to a Plurality Service in September. Many members of St Oswald’s are involved in collecting during Christian Aid Week. The church continues to support Thirsk Clock through collections of food and money, and a proportion of our Christmas collections was given to Holy Rood House this year. We again gave a donation to the Family Life Church to help with the lunch they were organising for people on their own on Christmas Day. Several collections during the year were given away in their entirety, and many funeral collections are shared with the charity of the family’s choice.


Our links with Sowerby 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 be represented on the Churches Together Committee and to take part in events planned by the group.


The Statement of Financial Affairs shows a net outflow of unrestricted funds of £71,511. The Thompson bequest provides for a substantial element of Fabric costs and the first four years of the CandY operation. If we exclude these (Fabric and Architect costs of £63,461 and the net cost of the CandY operation of £11,068) we have a surplus attributable to the church of £3,018 for the year. Included in this surplus is a £10,000 legacy from Elizabeth Hopkinson’s estate. Without that, the resultant deficit of £6,982 reflects the significant loss during the year of some of our regular giving, a reduced amount of Fees received – with the associated funeral collections – and an inflationary trend to our major overheads.

Church fabric

This has been a busy year with two significant phases of reordering work undertaken. The first phase created new storage and work areas in the north and south transepts. The second phase created a new lobby, accessible toilet, kitchen and office. In addition, heating pipes and radiators were moved to enable an open and flexible space at the back of the church, a new boiler was installed to heat the office, kitchen, toilet and the back of the church. The pulpit was removed to create a better space for the priest’s stall at the front of the church. We are indebted to our Churchwardens and Treasurer who put in hours of work during the reordering.

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, our cleaner and those who change light bulbs.

Public Benefit

The members of the PCC are aware of the Charity Commission guidance on public benefit in “The Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit” and have had regard to it in their administration of the PCC. The PCC believes that by promoting the work of the Church of England in the parish of St Oswald's it provides a benefit to the public by providing a facility for public worship and pastoral care both for its members and for anyone who wishes to benefit from what the Church can offer; and by promoting Christian values and service by members of the Church in and to their communities, to the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.


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. Numerous people could and should be mentioned, but for brevity only five names are listed: Heather Limbach who had served as churchwarden for six years when she stood down at the annual meeting; John Kennedy who took on the role of churchwarden as well as the role of Sexton; David Tucker who continued as churchwarden for a fourth year; Graham Merriam who, in addition to being Treasurer and Musical Director, gave a huge amount of his time and talents to the reordering process; Jean West who stepped down from the role of Sexton when she moved from Sowerby.

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
Vicar and Chair of PCC.

Annual accounts 2012 (PDF file)

A Year in the Life of St Oswald's, Sowerby 2012 - Some of the many things going on in St Oswald's Church

Tower of St Oswald's Church, Sowerby, at night and with snow

Churchwardens' report

2012 was a year of great activity, mostly focused on what is blithely called re-ordering, in other words having the builders in big-time. It started in the north and south transepts with the creation of purpose-designed storage areas for everything from the flower ladies' equipment to the choir's bottles of sherry. A roofed Treasury was made in the south transept and the two aged but serviceable safes were moved there. One had minor repairs carried out by a locksmith, but the other one is in perfect condition after a good hundred years' service.


vestry area before building work     vestry area before building work

By far the major work was the stripping down of the vestry - once all the bits and pieces stored there had been either thrown out or stored elsewhere - and the creation of an office, a kitchen and a toilet and baby-changing area.


new toilet     new kitchen

The old toilet, leaky, unheated and an awful place for mums to change babies' nappies, is a thing of memory only, and our new facility is excellent, so much so that we obtained a grant through the good offices of the Diocesan Advisory Committee from the Department for Culture Media and Sport as the new facilities are fully up to standard for disabled users.

And in between:

vestry area during building work     vestry area during building work

St Oswald's is normally open right through daylight hours for anyone to visit or pray, but it was necessary to close it to the public while a variety of tradesmen took out the old, lifted flooring stones, haggled over the position of electrical switches, hefted in wood and insulation material and so on.

The process of improving our special building goes on through 2013, but we are confident that we are making it a place that will serve the needs of all those who use it, while keeping it as a beautiful and historic building

I pay special tribute to John Kennedy who in his first year as churchwarden has worked tirelessly to keep things running.

Meanwhile, in the churchyard, we finally made progress in obtaining a further piece of land at the bottom of the churchyard to form a further extension. This is the gift of Sowerby Parish Council to whom we are very grateful, as it enables us to continue to keep the churchyard open for further burials and the burial of cremated ashes. Many people visit the churchyard, to maintain their memories of departed loved ones.

David Tucker

Children and Young People

Youth group have had a packed year with visits to York minster XlS event in February for a Eucharist & Worship night.

We went to Lightwater Valley last May for the Big Night Out event - a night of fast rides, great fun which ended with a concert with Christian bands.

The younger youth had a weekend camp with SPREE last June which was on the grounds of Hollybush - despite the dreadful weather everyone had a brilliant time, we won the football knockout.

Youth Cafe and sleepover continued with a theme of 'choices' leading into the decision of some of the youth to go to Mexico in 2014 on the ReBuild housing project.

Last June 6 members of youth group went forward for confirmation with the Archbishop of York officiating at All Saints Church Northallerton.

First Friday continues to meet during term time, this is for children aged 5-11. Each session consists of games, activities and crafts, songs and Bible story through Godly Play and creative Prayer.

Kids Club continues to meet every second, third and fourth Sundays during the 10.30am service in church.
Open The Book with a team of eight people has had a successful year increasing their visits to Sowerby and Sessay schools to 4 times each term - stories covered were Joseph (amazing coat), Moses (baby in the bull-rushes), David & Goliath (large man, small stone), Samuel (sleep interrupted several times)and many more.

The older youth planned and led last year's holiday club in August. The theme was superheroes - Moses, Elisha, Gideon and Esther. They dramatized bible stories bringing them up to date for 65 children aged 5-11 attending over 4 days with a final service in church at the end of the week. And they did it very well.

We have had 7 Messy Church events plus a messy Easter since last April with themes of Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Christmas, Creation and Lent. Each session offers crafts with messy activities, worship, prayer & story followed by lunch. Many families have attended Messy Church over the last year

In October we held Soup Sausages and Songs round the bonfire at Paradise Farm, families were invited and had a great time (50 people attended)

August: Greenbelt, camping in the mud and the rain! (14 people travelled to Cheltenham - lots of fun despite the awful weather).

Pauline Alderson

Events Group

The Parish Lunch, held in March, was attended by 70 people. A surplus of £268 was made, owing to the generosity of those who supplied the casseroles and pudding.

The Daffodil Festival held over Easter Weekend was very busy; people were very generous in providing cakes so we made over £720.

As part of the Harvest Celebrations a ceilidh was held jointly with the Methodist Church but the attendance was disappointing and a small loss was made. However, those there enjoyed it very much so we have decided to try another one later in the year, with more publicity.

The Coffee, Cakes and Crafts in November benefited from good weather and plenty of customers so was its usual success.

Margaret Turner

Daffodils in churchyard

Sowerby Luncheon Club

The Luncheon Club has flourished throughout 2012 bringing excellent food and good companionship to around 40 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.

The food has been different at every lunch, ranging through 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 £3.

The small financial surplus from the lunches, swelled by donations has allowed the Club to make gifts to the Hall to improve the toilet and cooking facilities. Donations have also been made to Save the Children and to Christian Aid.

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 lively, enjoyable and well supported Carol Service in December.

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


Many thanks to everyone who supports the Fair trade stall in church, at coffee mornings and other events. It is maybe difficult for us to appreciate that by supporting Traidcraft we are helping thousands of smallholders and artisans in developing countries to trade their way out of poverty.

Traidcraft began in 1979 as a Christian response to poverty. It combines a trading company and a development charity in order to build lasting relationships with producers and help them to trade their way out of poverty and works to bring about trade justice.

I know that many of us buy fairly traded goods as part of our weekly shopping but we don't often realise that Traidcraft does more than provide fairly traded goods. Justice, fairness and dignity are fundamental to the way Traidcraft works, working with smaller, remote and more marginalised producers in the long term to help them develop their products to the level at which they can sell their goods with the Fair Trade mark.

For instance, seven years ago, Traidcraft began to work with a co-operative in Guatemala that now supplies them with "squeezy" honey. It has helped the people of the co-operative to raise the money to set up hive-making workshops and the planting of fruit trees. The Traidcraft team visiting the co-operative noticed that the farmers were also growing high quality coffee as a cash crop - the Traidcraft team who are always looking for new suppliers of coffee were able to advise the farmers how to bring their crop to Fair Trade certificate standards.It took time (years) and patience but it is now being sold throughout the UK.

At a Fair Trade gathering in York, I heard a farmer from Palestine who produces olive oil under very difficult circumstances say that becoming part of the Fair Trade family has made a huge difference to his family and his community - not just in terms of material benefits but also hope.

Sue Binns

Communication Group

We had a very busy few weeks prior to the Daffodil Weekend getting posters and handbills and the roadside boards out; the team worked very well together. We also did the publicity for the Coffee, Cakes & Crafts, again all seem to go well. Once again David Tucker did the press releases.

We advertise the Coffee mornings that are held at the Crown & Anchor most months, which are well attended.

The Church Directory and Come & Join Us leaflets were updated by David Brooke and are about to be looked at again to see if they need to be updated yet again.

We are looking forward to getting to grips with the Wedding Festival and all that it will entail.

We have had only 3 meeting during the year as it has been impossible to get a quorum together, so have worked with E-mails and phone calls - so we are still ticking over!

The notice boards in church are being looked at and hopefully a couple of new boards will be made in the near future.

We need new people to join the group with new ideas, anyone interested please contact Jill.

Jill Drew, Communication Coordinator


Launched late in 2008 to fill the void left by the demise of 'Outlook', this quarterly newspaper delivered to every house in the parish has been struggling through 2012 as the editorial team was depleted by a combination of factors. It has been both a regular outreach to every household in the parish and a source of income which has been used to support local groups and good causes. Delivery has been achieved through an excellent team organised by Brian Marshman. However, without sufficient people to create it, its future is uncertain.

David Tucker

Christian Aid

Christian Aid has had excellent support from St Oswald's Church again this year.

The house to house collection raised nearly £1,200 and our grateful thanks to the many helpers. This figure was down slightly on the previous year due to the economic situation and the fact that we were slightly short on collectors and thus unable to cover every part of the parish.

The Christmas carol singing in Thirsk Market Place raised around £150 and the Group received £250 from Park Lodge Farm. Over £6000 was raised for Christian Aid/EU partnership to support a development project in Sierra Leone. Of this, Thirsk and Sowerby raised nearly £3000.

The Christian Aid Services this year will be held in the individual churches with a Christian Aid speaker. The date for St Oswald's will be announced very soon. Christian Aid Week is from May 12th 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. Also, we find that collectors working together in small groups make the overall burden lighter and much more enjoyable.

Eleanor Hooper

Mothers' Union

Each month we have a speaker and these can be either religious or a little more light hearted. We started the year with the Wave of Prayer Day in January which was held in Church. In February we held our AGM and this is followed in March by our Annual Lunch at the Golden Fleece Hotel.

We visited Felixkirk Church for our July meeting and this was followed by a meal at the White Horse Lodge Hotel and Restaurant. Members also attended various Deanery and Archdeaconry events during the year.

Unfortunately two of our members died this year: Rita Stallard and Maureen Moore.

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

Tower Captain's Report

This has been a difficult year for us. John went away in February and did not return until the end of October. His absence meant that we could not take on any new recruits and also weakened our band and made finding enough ringers for services difficult. Heather also struggled with her shoulder problem and so significantly reduced the amount of ringing she was able to do. Further, the creation of the new benefice with the change in service times, made it difficult to use ringers from other churches on a Sunday, as we had done previously, when service times were different. Lastly, the reordering meant that it was not possible to practice for several months, which made it difficult for our young ringers to consolidate their learning.

Having said all that, by the end of the year we had a new recruit and Matt, Ben and Luke had become integral members of the band. We did ring for all the weddings wanting bells and for the Christmas Services. Luke has been successful in the sporting arena, so has not been able to come as often, but is always very welcome, as are our visitors from other churches in the new group of parishes, Thirsk, Topcliffe and Tony who we see in the summer.

Heather Limbach

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 attend St Oswald's.

In 2012 there were 5,222 visits to the site, viewing 12,803 pages (an average of 2.45 pages per visit). Around 43% of the visits were people who had visited the site before.

The most popular pages in 2012 (in order) were the home page, calendar, hall, history, people, and services.

There is also good evidence that local people do use the website to find information about the church, our activities and special services.

The latest addition to the website is the record of burials in the graveyard from April 1813 to July 1970.

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, and email lists. Good quality photographs of church groups and activities are particularly welcomed.

Neil Irving

Parochial Hall

The Parochial Hall is a very valuable local facility as well as providing a venue for many church activities. During the year the Management Group has worked hard to maintain the attractiveness of the building, keep good relations with our neighbours and deal with the various problems that will crop up with a building of this size! Many thanks are due to Harry Parkinson for the eagle eye he keeps on everything that happens in and around the Hall, and to Margaret Ridsdale our bookings secretary. While Margaret was temporarily unable to do this work because of an operation on her shoulder, Elizabeth Worsnop ably took on the task.

Recently we have maintained the lighting in the committee room. We hoped to have the outside and the entrance area repainted during the summer of 2012, and to have all the flat rooves renewed with state-of-the-art covering - but the summer was so wet that our contractors were unable to do much of this work, and it had to be postponed to this spring.

We have improved the toilet facilities with the help of a generous gift from Sowerby Luncheon Club, and are carrying out some further improvements in the kitchen.

David Tucker

Sowerby Music

This years monthly concerts have been varied, entertaining and well supported with the unusual exemplified by percussionist Toby Kearney's take on Philip Glass's 1+1 for two fingers on a live microphone head. Absolutely amazing!

'Sowerby Community Music' has been a new feature this year which has been made possible by the bequest of the late Barbara Deans. This enables us to link some of our concert artists to larger events on the same day. These include a 'Come and Sing' with The Songmen, a massed strings play through of the Brahms B flat Sextet with The Sacconi Quartet and a workshop for the Thirsk Royal British Legion Band with Tim Barber (trumpet) and Ben Thomson (tuba).

We are delighted to welcome two new Peter Chase Award recipients in Oliver Baily who is studying violin at the Royal Northern College of Music and Robert Bark studying classical saxophone at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

And, on another high note, Pat Elton from Osmotherley expresses her delight with the early phases of this season's 'Music For Life' programme in schools. She reports that each set of musicians have been 'on top form, exuding energy with good management of their groups of children and introducing some wonderful music'. She is also very grateful for the several new members who have volunteered to act as Sowerby Music's representatives with the schools on their 'Music For Life' day.

'Music For Life' is now in its 16th year, involving 35 schools and 3,950 children. The biggest outreach programme run by a music society in the UK.

Martin Hooper

Work in progress in the South Transept to create new storage areas and Treasury

building work in South Transept

St Oswald's Sowerby - Love God - Love your Neighbour

Annual reports since 2004

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