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

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Annual report 2017

Parochial Church Council of St Oswald's Sowerby
Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2017

Revd Nicola Carnall

Independent Examiner:
Mr William Pearson ACA, FCCA


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 2017 the APCM was on 9 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)
David Tucker (from APCM)

Deanery Synod
Gayle Hartley
Sue Binns
Elizabeth Allen (to APCM)
Jill Drew (from APCM)

Diocesan Synod Chris Carnall

Elected Members
Pauline Alderson
David Brooke
Graham Merriam (Treasurer)
Cecily Rands
David Tucker (to APCM; Secretary to APCM)
Helen Irving (Secretary from APCM)
Jill Drew (to APCM)
Kath Reynard (to APCM)
Morna Stoakley
Helen Birkbeck
Simon Birkbeck

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 2017 we had 132 names on the electoral roll. During the year we had 18 baptisms (16 last year), 11 weddings (7 last year) and 25 funerals (23 last year). This includes two funeral services held wholly at the crematorium. There were also two memorial services. Five members of the youth group and two adults were confirmed by Bishop Paul at St Oswald's on 11 June.

Average Sunday attendance in 2017 was 69 adults and 10 children - two additional adults 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 (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. In the summer we had our first Messy Church outing - a day trip to Filey. '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 and we are now seeing more children attending All Age Worship. On the first Sunday of the month the children take part in 'Godly Play' at Sowerby Methodist Church. Several families and some of the leaders took part in the Diocesan St Hilda's Way Pilgrimage in the summer.

Pram Service for pre-school children and parents/carers continues to meet monthly on Friday lunchtimes. Youth Groups continue to meet on Sunday evenings. A group of young people took part in the Urban Saints Rebuild project, travelling to Mexico to help build a house for a family in need.

Special events for children and young people in 2017 included a trip to Lightwater Valley, Holiday Club (Go Wild in the Woods), Snap Apple Night (alternative Halloween event), a residential at The Oakes in Sheffield and an art project resulting in a spiral star sculpture which is on display in the churchyard. In addition the Youth Group put on a Youth Cafe for parents and church members.

Sowerby CP School held their Easter, Harvest and Christmas services in church again this year.

Worship, Study, Prayer & Fellowship
The pattern of services continued unchanged throughout the year. We are delighted that numbers have increased at the all age Worship for All service.

We very much value the way that our organist and choir lead our singing. We have also enjoyed the small worship band who lead the music at our all age services. Big Sing evenings were held in November and December to help us learn some new hymns and songs.

Music copies of a new hymn book (Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New) were purchased along with CDs. The CDs are used to accompany singing at services where no organist is available. This is sometimes challenging! We are currently typing out the words of hymns for Sunday services whilst we decide whether or not to buy words copies for the congregation.

Groups for Bible study and fellowship for all 5 parishes continued to meet regularly during the year, including special groups for Lent and Advent. A small church library has been provided at the back of the church.

Prayer continues to be offered before and 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 and a new group has started to meet monthly to pray for mission.

A 5-Parish PCC Awayday and 3 evening sessions were held at the beginning of the year to introduce PCC members to the 'Leading your Church into Growth (LyCiG) resources. Since then regular gatherings to talk and pray about mission have taken place. Special outreach services have been arranged, eg Advent Carol Service at Thirkleby and Candlemas Christingle at Bagby. The two parish magazines have been brought together into one new magazine in order to help with the sharing of information across the group. It is hoped to start a new toddler group in Sowerby as a form of outreach and community support. At Easter, Autumn and Christmas, cards with details of services at St Oswald's and Sowerby Methodist Church were distributed in the parish, including to the new homes on Sowerby Gateway. It is hoped that community noticeboard will be placed in Sowerby Gateway, funded by the churches and the Parish Council.

Many members of St Oswald's were involved in collecting during Christian Aid Week. Our Christmas Eve collections were sent to Christian Aid to support their work with refugees.

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 September. Tim spoke at the Sunday service and a lunch was held afterwards.

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. Church Army was supported via the church Christmas card. Our Harvest gifts were sent to Thirsk Clock.

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 and a special Traidcraft weekend was organised before Christmas, with opportunities for people to see a wider range of products. 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: replacement of light at South Transept door, re-lighting of area under Lantern and around Altars, CCTV replacement, repair of boiler house roof, shed demolition, cleaning of church carpet, repair of south gate frame, repair of Baxi boiler, safety check of headstones in the 1973 and 2014 churchyard extensions. A war graves sign was placed near the church entrance by the War Graves Commission. Work on over-hanging trees and a tree survey were carried out.

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.

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.

Many thanks are due to all those who continue to contribute to the work of the church. In so doing, we are able to meet our normal commitments and 2017 follows a very similar pattern to 2016. Our total incoming resources for 2017 were £128,727 (2016 - £126,426). Costs excluding Fabric for 2017 were £133,174 (2016 - £126,084). These represent our budgeted activity. Most expenses have risen in line with inflation; we also increased our Freewill Offering by £2,520. We have, yet again, received a substantial donation from Sowerby Methodist Church which is used to support our Children and Youth Work; this is spread over future years so as to ensure a solid financial footing. It is shown in the Sowerby PCC accounts for transparency. The investments continue to perform well in fluctuating markets. Other Balance Sheet items are in line with the previous year.

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. Members of the group also helped with catering on a number of smaller occasions.

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, Meadowfields and Orchid House. 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 continues as our Safeguarding Officer. Information was presented to PCC about changes to the law in safeguarding matters. All PCC members are now to be DBS checked and must complete a Confidential Declaration Form and complete an on-line safeguarding training course. 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 well used by church members and many others and has recently been described as "excellent" by Dr Duncan Marks who is doing research for a new Pevsner guide. He says it is, "the most detailed and best presented website for the architecture of a parish church of its size that I have come across during my research." 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. The Revd Dianne Gamble has continued her curacy in our group of parishes and we are very grateful for all that she, our Readers, RPAs and lay worship leaders contribute.

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 and signed on their behalf.

John Kennedy
(Churchwarden and Vice Chair)

Annual accounts 2017 (PDF file)

Annual reports since 2004

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