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

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Annual report 2016

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2016

Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr William Pearson ACA, FCCA

Yorkshire Bank

Church Architect:
David Beaumont

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 2016 the APCM was on 17 April.

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

The Revd Nicola Carnall (Chair)

Assistant Curate
The Revd Dianne Gamble

John Kennedy (Vice Chair)

Deanery Synod
Gayle Hartley
Sue Binns
Elizabeth Allen

Diocesan Synod
Chris Carnall

Elected Members
Pauline Alderson
Graham Merriam (Treasurer)
Cecily Rands
David Tucker (Secretary)
Helen Irving
Emma Benoit (to APCM)
Pat Chapman (to APCM)
Rachel Halkyard (to APCM)
David Brooke
Jill Drew
Kath Reynard
Morna Stoakley
Rebecca O'Driscoll (to APCM)
Helen Birkbeck (from APCM)
Simon Birkbeck (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, Curate, Churchwarden, 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 in April 2016 we had 134 names on the electoral roll. During the year we had 16 baptisms (18 last year), 7 weddings (8 last year) and 23 funerals (32 last year). This includes 2 funeral services held wholly at the crematorium.

Average Sunday attendance in 2016 was 67 adults and 8 children - one fewer adult and two additional children compared with the previous year. It should be noted that the average attendance figure does not include special services where the attendance is often much higher. Also, we do a lot of valuable work with children, young people and families on different days of the week (see below) - some of which is not primarily worship, and some is not on Sundays, so it is not included in the Sunday attendance figures.

Children, Young People and Families
Pauline Alderson continued in the half-time post of Children & Young People's Development Worker. 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.

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 growing Kids' Club continues to meet during 10.30am Sunday services. 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 in 2016 have included a Holiday Club (Going for Gold), Snap Apple Night (alternative Halloween event), Big Night Out at Lightwater Valley, and Spree camp at Hollybush. In addition the Youth Group put on a Youth Cafe for parents and church members. Several families and some of the leaders took part in the St Hilda's Way Pilgrimage in the Whitby area, organised by Diocesan youth leaders in July 2016.

Youth Groups continue to meet on Sunday evenings. The older group spent time organising fundraising events for the next visit by members to Rebuild Mexico which will take place at Easter 2017. The Rebuild Project, organised by Urban Saints, involves building a house for a Mexican family in need.

Sowerby CP School held their Easter, Harvest and Christmas services in church again this year. The all age community choir rehearsed together again and sang at the Christingle service.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship
A review of some Sunday services was carried out during the year. The pattern of services continued unchanged. We are delighted that numbers have increased at the all age Worship for All service.

Our musical director took a sabbatical for 4 months in the second half of the year. He was much missed but we appreciated the help of other musicians during that period.

Groups for Bible study and fellowship for all 5 parishes continued to meet regularly during the year, including special groups for Lent and Advent.

Prayer continues to be offered before (and now after) PCC meetings. Mothers' Union meetings include prayer and worship as well as fellowship. A group meets weekly to pray for the church's work with children, young people and families.

Mission & Giving
In 2016 York Diocese encouraged all parishes to engage with LyCiG (Leading your Church into Growth) and four representatives from the 5 parishes attended a 3 day conference to encounter the material to take back to their parishes. Members of the PCC have been invited to engage with the material in 2017, which will be presented in 6 workshop sessions. The hope is that PCCs will be encouraged to consider what can be done in their own parish to help the church grow, in numbers, in discipleship and in service to the community.

Many members of St Oswald's were involved in collecting during Christian Aid Week. Our Christmas Eve collections were sent to The Clock to help support their work with young people in the community.

We continued to support Jigsaw Kids Ministries in the Philippines through regular gifts to CMS (to support their mission partner Tim Lee) and to Jigsaw. We were delighted that Tim & Kate Lee came to visit in June. A special afternoon tea was held and Tim spoke at the Sunday service.

The collection from our All Souls service in November was sent to Herriot Hospice Homecare. The Remembrance Sunday collection was given to the Royal British Legion. Many shoeboxes of gifts were given by church members for Operation Christmas Child and we supported the Children's Society through our Christingle service. Church Army was supported via the church Christmas card.

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.

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.

During the year the following was achieved: re-building a section of the East Boundary Wall, repairing the entrance to the Boiler House, repairs to the steps near the North Door, re-plastering part of the wall inside the North Door Entrance, stabilizing the frame of the North Door, re-pointing the stonework around the North Door Entrance and two Lightning conductors were checked.

In addition, routine maintenance and checks have been carried out during the year eg fire extinguisher testing, portable appliance testing, service of boilers, organ and Church clock, grass cutting, cleaning of gutters and downpipes. A memorial bench has been placed in the Churchyard dedicated in memory of Fred and Mary Brown, parents of Heather Limbach. A motorized portable screen has been purchased to facilitate the showing of video clips etc during a presentation. David Beaumont has been appointed Church Architect as replacement for Linda Lockett who has taken up a post with the Landmark Trust.

The Parochial Hall continues to be well used by the wider community and well managed by the Parochial Hall Management Group. The 100 club monthly draws to support the Parochial Hall continue to be popular.

2016 has been a quiet year financially in that there was little change on the previous year and no events out of the ordinary to report. Congregational giving remains almost the same at £50,211 (2015 £50,376). As ever, the level of occasional fees and the associated collections is the determining factor; fees received for 2016 were £8,869 (2015 £12,409) and gross collections were some £1,400 less than 2015. This decrease was more or less matched by a reduction in most categories of running expenses. We increased our Freewill Offering to York Diocese from £50,000 in 2015 to £52,500 for 2016 and are committed to £55,000 for 2017. Having been careful with our expenses, we cannot expect to be able to cover our costs without a stewardship campaign in 2017.

Despite spending £8,074 on Fabric during the year (2015 £15,500), the increase in the value of our investment portfolio - £6,702 - ensured that we finished the year with a modest and containable deficit of £1,030 (2015 £12,978).

The Events Group organised a Parish Lunch in January, a Daffodil Festival with photo competition on Easter Sunday and Monday, and Coffee, Cakes & Crafts in November. For the first time in many years the church also organised a very successful Open Gardens in June.

Pastoral Care
The church's Pastoral Assistant Cecily Rands continues to contribute a great deal to the church, as do others who offer their pastoral gifts. Holy Communion continues to be taken to people in their own homes as well as to Sowerby House, The Limes and Meadowfields. 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 email Prayer Circle is used and appreciated.

Elizabeth Allen was reappointed as our Safeguarding Officer and presented reports to PCC and the APCM. A Parish Safeguarding Self-Audit was carried out and the PCC approved an updated Safeguarding Policy (to be used in all 5 parishes) at its meeting in May. St Oswald's PCC has complied with the duty under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 (duty to have regard to House of Bishop's guidance on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults).

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 and the Group of 5 parishes both have a Facebook page and St Oswald's has a Twitter account.

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. Our Curate, the Revd Dianne Gamble, was ordained Priest at York Minster in May. David Brooke was licensed as a Reader in November. Rob Coupland, who was a member of St Oswald's before he started exploring a call to ministry, was ordained Deacon in Chichester Cathedral in June. Sadly we said farewell to Carol Cox, who laid down her Reader ministry in July, and to our Assistant Priest, The Revd Melodie Kimball, who moved back to America to take up a post in November.

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. Church members continue to take part in events and services planned by Churches Together Thirsk & District throughout the year.

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 8 March 2017 and signed on their behalf.
The Revd Nicola Carnall
Vicar and Chair of PCC

Annual accounts 2016 (PDF file)

Annual reports since 2004

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Registered charity number 1135485.