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

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Annual report 2014

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2014

Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr William Pearson ACA, FCCA

Yorkshire Bank

Church Architect:
Linda Lockett

Independent Financial Advisor
Ellis Bates Group


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 2014 the APCM was held on 27 April.

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

The Revd Nicola Carnall - Chair

David Tucker - Vice Chair
John Kennedy

Deanery Synod Reps:
Jill Drew (to APCM)
Gayle Hartley
Sue Binns (from APCM)
Elizabeth Allen (from APCM)
Chris Carnall (to APCM)

Elected Members:
Pauline Alderson (to APCM; co-opted at APCM)
Helen Ashworth
Emma Benoit
David Brooke (co-opted to APCM; elected at APCM)
Keith Carley (until his resignation on 29 September)
Pat Chapman
Robin Gillard
Rachel Halkyard
Helen Irving - Secretary
Graham Merriam (to APCM; co-opted after APCM) - Treasurer
Kath Reynard (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.

The full PCC 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 few working groups which report to PCC. Our Deanery Synod Representatives attend meetings during the year and report back to the PCC.

Objective of the PCC

St Oswald’s PCC works with the Revd Nicola Carnall in promoting in the ecclesiastical parish the whole mission of the church, pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical. The PCC is also responsible for the management and maintenance of Sowerby Parochial Hall. Both the Church and the Parochial Hall are well-used and valued community assets and a base for our service to members of the congregation and wider outreach to the parish as a whole. When planning our activities for the year, we have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the supplementary guidance on charities for the advancement of religion.

Review of the Year

Our Mission
At St Oswald's we try to live out Jesus' call to love God and love our neighbour.

At the annual meeting we had 134 names on the electoral roll. During the year we had 21 baptisms, 8 weddings and 22 funerals in church (with one additional funerals held only at the crematorium). Average Sunday attendance was 68 adults and 6 children – similar numbers to the previous two years. Note, this does not include special services where attendance is often much higher. It's also worth remembering that much of our work with children, young people and families does not happen on a Sunday.

Children, Young People and Families
Pauline Alderson continued in the half-time post of Children & Young People’s Development Worker. Her job description was reviewed and revised during the year. Pauline works closely with committed volunteers from St Oswald’s, as well as Sowerby Methodist Church and St Mary’s, Thirsk. Many of the activities referred to below are run jointly with Sowerby Methodist Church. During the year, discussions took place about ways of achieving regular funding for CandY to ensure that the post of CandY Worker can continue.

Messy Church, which meets approximately every six weeks in the Parochial Hall, continues to flourish with new and regular families enjoying the crafts, worship and shared meal.

‘Open the Book’ assemblies continue at Sowerby Community Primary School and Sessay CE Primary School four times a term. The team present a dramatized Bible story, followed by a time of reflection and a song.

Kids’ Club continues to meet during 10.30am Sunday services. Once a month the children are taken to Sowerby Methodist Church to join in with Godly Play there. Three different Youth Groups continue to meet fortnightly on Sunday evenings. First Friday continues once a month. Pram Service for pre-school children and parents/carers, meets monthly on Friday lunchtimes.

Special events for children and young people this year have included a Youth Café, ‘Medieval Mayhem’ Holiday Club, Snap Apple Night (alternative Halloween event), Big Night Out at Lightwater Valley, a Church of England youth event at York Minster, a theatre trip and Spree camp at Hollybush.

Seven members of the youth group (including a leader) went to Mexico with the charity Urban Saints at Easter. The Rebuild project involved building a house for a Mexican family in need. The young people and the youth leaders spent a lot of time fundraising before the trip. On their return the team shared their stories with many different audiences. The fundraising has now begun for the next youth group Mexico trip in 2015.

Sowerby CP School held their Easter, Harvest and Christmas services in church again this year and all the KS1 children came to church for a Christingle service. We were also visited by several groups of year 9 pupils and their teachers from Thirsk School. Luke Thomson spent a week on work experience from Thirsk School helping with Holiday Club preparations.

In addition the Scouts, Cubs & Beavers held both their St George’s Day service and Carol Service in church.

In November St Oswald’s hosted an event for children and youth workers from the Cleveland Archdeaconry.

The PCC approved a revised Child Protection Policy (to be used in all 5 parishes) at its meeting in May.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship
The pattern of Sunday services continued unchanged during the year with a communion service at St Oswald’s each Sunday, either at 8.30am or at 10.30am. There is also a communion service every Wednesday morning. The other Sunday services are non-eucharistic with Early Worship at 8.30am, either Morning Prayer or Worship for All at 10.30am, and Evening Prayer (either at St Oswald’s or at the Methodist Church) at 6.30pm. We have continued with Worship for All on the third Sunday of each month instead of the first. Joint services for the plurality are held four or five times a year, usually on fifth Sundays.

A new “Quiet Spaces” group began meeting monthly for prayer and reflection. Groups for Bible study and fellowship have continued to meet regularly. Evening Prayer continues to take place before PCC meetings. Mothers’ Union branch meetings include prayer and worship as well as fellowship and the Deanery Mothers’ Union Advent Carol Service was held at St Oswald’s.

The deanery confirmation service, led by the Archbishop of York, was held at St Oswald’s in July. There were six candidates from St Oswald’s. The adult candidates from Sowerby and Bagby used the new Church of England ‘Pilgrim’ course for their preparation.

Mission & Giving
Two events were held during the year to raise awareness of the situation facing Palestinian Christians. The first meeting focused on the ‘Kairos Palestine’ document. The second included a showing of the film ‘The Stones Cry Out’.

Many members of St Oswald’s were involved in collecting during Christian Aid Week and our Christmas Eve collections were sent to Christian Aid this year.

We continued to support Jigsaw Kids Ministries in the Philippines through regular gifts to CMS (to support their mission partner Tim Lee) as well as sending regular gifts and our Harvest collection directly to Jigsaw. In addition a coffee morning was held to support Jigsaw.

St Oswald’s has continued its support of The Clock in its work with local young people by collecting food at Harvest and Christmas. The collection from our All Souls service in November was sent to Herriot Hospice Homecare. Many shoeboxes of gifts were given by church members for Operation Christmas Child and we supported the Children’s Society through our Christingle service. Shena Moray came to speak at a service for all 5 parishes in June about the work of Church Army and collection was made for the charity. 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. We continue to have a Traidcraft stall in church most Sunday mornings. Many funeral collections are shared with a charity chosen by the family.

The Sowerby & Thirsk Remembrance Sunday service was held at St Oswald’s this year with a collection for the Royal British Legion. In addition a Reflective Service for Peace and Justice was held at St Oswald’s on 3 August, to commemorate the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Steve Billings gave the church 3 copies of his book, “The Men of Sowerby” – a study of the men of Sowerby who died in the Great War 1914-18. We are remembering each deceased soldier in prayer on or around the centenary of their death.

Church Buildings and Churchyard
Our Church building is used by a variety of groups for visits, services etc, as well as for regular worship. We continue our strong link with Sowerby Music and several other concerts were also held in church during the year.

The church fabric is generally in good order, with a rolling maintenance programme. All routine maintenance and checks have been undertaken during the year and recorded in the church log. The Quinquennial Inspection took place in October.

During the year a working group met to consider proposals for upgrading the Audio-Visual facilities in church. This project is on-going.

An automatic door-opener was fitted to the north door. There have been several issues with this and it is hoped they will be resolved in 2015.

Calverts Carpets donated new runners for the pews in memory of Martin Hooper. We are grateful for their generosity.

The transfer of land from the Parish Council to the PCC for a churchyard extension was completed in 2014 and the whole of the extension was consecrated by Bishop Gordon Bates on 1 June following a special service. We continue to be grateful for the Parish Council’s contribution to churchyard upkeep each year. Work was completed on several trees.

The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community and well managed by the Parochial Hall Management Group. The PCC agreed to a 100 club being established in order to contribute to future funding for the Hall.

We hoped at the beginning of 2014 that we would continue to pay our way without recourse to extra fund-raising and it is encouraging to report that we have achieved this. The accounts show that income derived from the regular congregation and Gift Aid recovery amounts to £49,454 (2013 - £50,133). The amount we pay to the Diocese for Freewill Offering was £50,000 (2013 - Parish Share £49,527). It is good that we have maintained this balance but, for us to increase our giving to Diocese, we need to increase our congregational income. St Oswald’s offer for 2015 remains at £50,000 while we address the funding for CandY which cost £11,389 (2013 - £11,030).

The remainder of our income - fees, collections at occasional services, fund-raising, concerts etc pays for the remainder of our expenditure - utilities, service costs, repairs, vicarage expense and administration. In 2014 and 2013 these have been more or less in balance.

Total income from all sources was £103,777 (2013 - £102,560). There is nothing exceptional to report in the various expenditure headings. The only Fabric expenditure in 2014 was the provision of the automatic door opener.

The PCC has accepted that fabric expenditure and the cost of running CandY will have to come from our reserves and the Thompson legacy that we received in 2009 until such time as we can start replacing this source of funds with specific fund-raising. This is on track to commence at the beginning of 2015.

Our reserves are largely represented by our investment portfolio. Although we had to dip into it during the year to pay for the CandY work, the underlying growth gave rise to a valuation of £93,876 at 31/12/2014 (£98,470 at 31/12/2013).

As ever, the PCC is extremely grateful for the contributions that members of the church make either through standing order, the envelope scheme or the collection plate.

The Events Group organised a Parish Lunch in February, a May Festival over the early May bank holiday weekend, and Coffee, Cakes & Crafts in November. All events were very enjoyable.

Pastoral Care
Training on Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults was held for parish visitors, PCC members and other church members at the start of the year. The Pastoral Care Group has stopped meeting regularly, but we still have Eucharistic ministers who take communion to people in their own homes, as well as Sowerby House, The Limes and Meadowfields extra care apartments (which replaced Cherrygarth Nursing Home). The Lunch Club continues to provide a cooked meal for older local people on a monthly basis. A monthly Coffee Hour for people on their own or carers is appreciated by those who attend. The Get Together Club continues to bring together the more elderly members of the community for social activities every week. The email Prayer Circle is used and 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. The church also has a Facebook page.

Jayne Molyneux continues as part-time Administrator for the 5 parishes. She works in the office at St Oswald’s on Friday mornings.

Developing ministry
At St Oswald’s we remain committed to helping people explore their calling to all kinds of ministry and service. In September Helen Irving began the Diocesan Recognised Parish Assistant (RPA) course focusing on Mission. She will be commissioned for her new role in 2015. David Brooke continues his training for Reader ministry. We look forward to the arrival of a curate for our 5 parishes, Dianne Gamble, in 2015.

Rob Coupland, who was a church member and server at St Oswald’s before he moved to work in a church in London, continues his ordination training at Westcott House in Cambridge. Becca Stevens, who attended St Oswald’s whilst working at Holy Rood House, was ordained Deacon in the Church in Wales in June, and now works as a Curate in a group of parishes near Cardiff.

Links with Sowerby Methodist Church remain strong and regular meetings are held to plan our many joint events and services. As previously mentioned, 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 and services planned by the group.

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 19 March 2015 and signed on their behalf.
The Revd Nicola Carnall
Vicar and Chair of PCC

Annual accounts 2014 (PDF file)

Annual reports since 2004

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Registered charity number 1135485.