Annual Parish Metting
parochial church council
PARISH OF St. George chorley,
for the year ended 31st December 2015.
CHARITY REGISTRATION NO:- 1130528
St. George’s Vicarage,
The Royal Bank of Scotland,
Revd .C. Martlew email:firstname.lastname@example.org
St. George’s Church is situated in the town of Chorley: it is part of the Diocese of Blackburn within the Church of England. Its governing documents are the Parochial Church Council’s (Powers) Measures 1956 as amended and the Church Representation Rules (contained in schedule 3 to the Synodical Government Measure 1969 as amended). The correspondence address is St. George’s Vicarage, Letchworth Place, Chorley, Lancashire. PR7 2HJ.
The Church is a fine example of a Waterloo Church, built by the Church Commissioner’s money and opened for worship in 1825. It has an active, enthusiastic and hardworking Parochial Church Council (PCC) which is established as a Charity and constituted as an incorporated association under the Act of Parliament dated 2nd January 1957. The PCC, in co-operation with the incumbent, the Reverend Tim Wilby and Assistant Priest Reverend Cath. Martlew, actively promote the mission of the Church pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical, as expressed by:-
“IN THE NAME OF CHRIST WE SEEK TO LOVE AND SERVE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE”.
As well as the Parish Church, the PCC has responsibility for the Vicarage, St. George’s Church Hall, Red Bank Mission hut and St. George’s Aided Primary School.
Members of the PCC are either elected by the Annual Parish Church Meeting (APCM) in accordance with the Church Representation rules, or are co-opted.
PCC members who have served from 1st January 2015 until the date this report was approved are:-
Incumbent:The Reverend Timothy D. Wilby (Chair)
Deacon: The Reverend Cathleen Martlew.
Wardens: Mr. John Bradley Mr. Brian Addison
Representation on Deanery Synod:-
Mr. Brian Allman
Mrs. Kathleen Allman
Mr. Stephen Pollard
Representation on Diocesan Synod:-
Mr. Peter Wilding
Mrs Freda Armstrong
Mr. Geoffrey Armstrong
Mr. Gordon Blackledge (re-elected from April 2015 Mr. John Collinson
Revd. Gerald Downing (until Sept. 2015)
Mr. Alan Gibson
Mr. Nicholas. Gillibrand (elected from April 2015)
Mrs.Elaine Heartfield (re-elected from April 2015)
Mrs. Jackie.Hunter (elected from April 2015) Mrs. Catherine Jolly
Mrs. Susan King (elected from April 2015) Mrs. Pamela Ragsdale
Mrs. Janice Roberts (until April 2015)
Mrs. Audrey Sibball
Mrs. Elizabeth Wilding (re-elected from April 2015
The agreed number of elected members to serve on the PCC remains at 15.
Secretary Mr. William Greenwood OBE (from April 2015)
Treasurer Mr. Anthony Sanderson (from April 2015)
Headteacher Mr. Andrew Purcell (from April 2015)
Mrs. Irene Haworth (from April 2015)
The PCC operates through a number of committees which meet between full PCC meetings, both regularly and frequently: these are supported by “task” oriented activities led by individuals or small groups within the purview of the committee structure. During the year 2015, the PCC met on 8 occasions, with an average overall attendance of 70%, slightly lower than for the previous year 2014.
This is the only committee required by law and comprises the Vicar, Churchwardens, Secretary and Treasurer. It has the power to transact the business of the PCC between its meetings, subject to any directions given by the PCC. (Chaired by Revd. Timothy Wilby).
Finance and General Purposes Committee
Responsible for financial matters, the day to day running of the Church and the management of its resources. (Chaired by Alan Gibson)
Fabric and Buildings Committee (formerly known as the Property Committee) Responsible for the care, maintenance and repair of Church plant, and the essential practical aspects of property in the medium and long term. (Chaired by Mr.Stephen Pollard).
Mission and Worship Committee
Responsible for the spiritual aspects of Church life, both inside and outside of the Church building. (Chaired by the Reverend C. Martlew)
REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2015
Rev’d Timothy Wilby – St George’s in 2015
I’m not the best at looking backwards. Walking together as God’s people, means looking ahead, not back, and trying to thank Him for where we are now. That is not to say that we shouldn’t treasure what has been given to us by our rich past, of course. We are rather ‘traditional’ in the way we worship and I make no apology for that. The Collect for St Mark’s day in the Book of Common Prayer says ‘Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel.’
So, in 2015 we began discussions about the future, looking towards our bicentenary, to see what we will give to generations to come. One of these things, and a major project too, has been the securing of the building. Thank you to everyone who was involved in the successful Lottery bid, granting £126,000 towards essential work. The question remains, ‘What else should we consider?’ Just as, if not more, important is who we are as Christians, and the three Pilgrim Courses we held added a little bit of substance to the life-long learning that is an essential part of our spiritual lives.
Problems and challenges always hover around the life of a church. We have a wonderful relationship with our Aided School, but there is the shadow of admissions, and having (rightly) to conform to the legal requirements of a policy. This leads to hurt on both sides: disappointed members of our family, and dissatisfied ‘players of the system,’ as well as Governors trying to do their best in impossible circumstances. Nothing in future policy projections is likely to ease this.
Bills have to be paid, and St George’s are bigger than many churches. The truth is (and I’m just pointing this out), a minority of generous Christians contribute the majority of our income. Simply to translate God’s blessings into a financial response to compare with, say, the cost of a cinema ticket or a meal out, would enable us to budget for the future, without having sometimes to live month to month, or to depend on past legacies.
The big question we need to address is, ‘Are we a church in mission?’ What do I mean by that? Well, have you been reading the See, the Diocesan news which comes with every copy of The Messenger? Vision 2026 is part of the wider agenda of the Church, and it fits in with our own aims for St George’s 1825 – 2025 celebrations. Our building is the icing, not the cake, and we need to invite others to share in our riches. And what a lot we have to share, thanks be to God!
Rev’d. Timothy D. Wilby
Once again, apologies if this annual report appears repetitive of those produced over the past few years. Whilst there are certain requirements upon which commentary has to be made, an attempt is also made to make the report a reflection of how the past year might have been seen. For each of us in our private lives there will have been high points as well as lows. So to, with St. George’s.
It is often difficult to find the right words to do justice to what is taking place within our church: there are so many people involved in so many activities which, collectively, make St. Georges what it is. Whatever our personal reflections on the year, the one which probably stood out more than any other, including the Passion Play, was that of the Ordination of Revd. Cath. Martlew at Blackburn Cathedral. What a splendid day it was, the culmination of much time, prayer and hard work on the part of both Reverend Tim and Reverend Cath., supported with the prayers of all who worship at St. George’s. We all offer our sincerest congratulations to former Deacon Cath. and, whatever the vicissitudes of life fall upon her, she knows that the family of St. Georges, Chorley, are very proud of what she has achieved and that she is loved and valued.
The themes of CONSTANCY, CHANGE and CHALLENGE, referred to in previous reports, have continued to influence the thinking, actions and life at St. Georges.
The CONSTANCY of the Vicar and Revd. Martlew., as leaders of worship and the promotion of the faith, is something which we need to continue to cherish: there are so many parishes which do not have the stability which we have at St. George’s. We are also very fortunate to have a number of members of the congregation who have had official roles and responsibilities within the Anglican Community, who can, and do, provide the necessary support in times of difficulty. The same is also true of so many members of the congregation, whose commitment to the life and work of St. Georges over so many years, has made them part of the fabric.
CHANGE is always with us and manifests itself in the make up of the people who come and go. It is with great sadness that reference has to be made to the number of people who have died; it is with great joy, however, that the families, friends and acquaintances can look upon the contribution they made to life in general and to the life of St. George’s in particular. Each one of us will have our memories but we must also give thanks for the love and affection which will have affected so many people.
What can we say except “thank you”, for all that they contributed to St .Georges, and to the many people who, both young and old, will have benefited from coming into contact with them.
At the other end of the spectrum have been the continuing number of new faces, both young and a bit older, who join the Christian family through Baptism, and those who join the Sunday school and the worshipping community of St. Georges. The great challenge which remains with us, is to capture the hearts and minds of the many new faces and make the experience of such significance that it more than cancels out Church attendance as being access to quality education.
What ever the problems St. George’s face, perhaps the greatest of them all is that related to spreading the Gospel (how and by whom?), especially in a society which would appear more and more to reject Christianity and faith in general, for the more short term secularism.
The continued recognition that St. George’s has a duty to engage with the community at large is as strong as it ever was. The Vicar has continued his “sit ins” in the centre of town during Lent and has extended it to include the period of Advent. “Ask the Vicar” has become a regular feature of Tuesday’s market day during these periods This, together with the continuation of the illuminated cross on the Church Tower over the Christmas and Easter periods, are examples of the commitment St. George’s has to promoting the Gospels to a wider audience than simply those who attend.
Continued participation in the Chorley Borough initiative for the promotion of music in the community has provided another opportunity for those of other faiths and those who may have lapsed or be of no faith, to visit St. George’s and enjoy the music offered in such splendid surroundings.
The town has continued to receive tremendous support from the worshippers of St. George’s. The Chorley food bank has continued to receive support via the collection of items on a weekly basis. This, together with St. George’s gaining recognition for work related to the continued promotion of Fair Trade, is additional testimony to the commitment of our church to both the local community and that world wide. A study of the activities of all the various organisations clearly indicates the vision and courage of those who make up the family of St. Georges, to continue to look beyond the confines of the Church grounds and extend its influence within the local community and further afield. An additional activity for 2015, in support of this commitment, was the singing on a Saturday morning, of Christmas carols in the church grounds for the benefit of those out shopping.
The financial affairs remain both a constant and a challenge. Balancing the books in relation to the day to day expenditure, coupled with the deliberations about the subsidence, remained throughout the year. The 2014 report indicated that finances had a surplus of income over expenditure: on this occasion the financial position shows that we are spending more than is our income (please read the financial statement for a definitive position statement). In spite of this, we should be thankful for the diligence and work of the Finance team and our Treasurer to ensure that everything is done to ensure the St. George’s remains viable financially.
Concern over the decision to suspend donating to charitable organisations has never gone away since it was made; however, charitable donating has continued to remain a feature of the life of the Church through the contributions made by the range of organisations which have their being in St. George’s.
The issue of repairs to the foundations of the Church has been a concern throughout the year, but December brought with it good news in that the bid for Lottery funding had been SUCCESSFUL. Additional good news is that financial contributions to the Restoration Fund in support of the Lottery bid continued to be made during the year and, by December, totalled some £16.5 thousand pounds.
St. Georges continues to be able to meet and adapt to the changes which are taking place within our society, while still remaining true to its core purposes---those of worshipping God, caring for one another and spreading the Gospel message into the wider community.
The annual programme of events has, once again, been maintained, with the Christmas raffle proving to have been as successful as it has been in the past. Not to be forgotten is the work which goes on week in and week out in organising the “bonus ball component. A huge debt of gratitude needs to given to the team who are involved in the organisation of these tasks. Coupled with this is the Christmas Fayre which has remained a feature of the fund raising programme. St. George’s is once again indebted to Stephen Pollard for the continued leadership and commitment in ensuring its continuity and for the 2015 income to have remained in line with that of previous years.
Once again, participation in the annual Chorley Witness Walk took place, but only just. The demands for policing the event remain crippling both financially and organisationally. The question is, will it take place in 2016 or will the costs and organisational requirements prove to be “a bridge too far?”
Once again, reference must be made to the presentation of the highly valued Passiontide drama, performed by the drama group, and the opening of the Church as part of the national Heritage Week. Each in its own way makes a significant contribution to that which St. George’s is about.
St. Georges did not host the annual Scout service in 2015.
The number of parishioners on the Electoral Roll has remained above the 200 mark, with 93 being resident in the Parish and 115 non-resident, making a total of 206, an
increase on the figure for 2014 and one for which St. Georges is very thankful. The Electoral Roll officer has continued to revise and report upon the Roll number at each PCC meeting, thereby keeping the figure accurate on a bi-monthly basis.
The average weekly attendance as submitted to the Diocese remains at 250, inclusive of children and adults who do not take the sacrament: this number varies significantly at the monthly “Parade” services, at festivals and other special services, but continues to reflect a more than encouraging position.
The PCC continues to be committed to enabling as many people as possible to worship at the Church and to become active members of the parish community: it maintains an overview of worship throughout the Parish and makes suggestions as to how the services can involve the range of people that live within and beyond the boundaries. The services and worship put faith into practice through prayer and scripture, music and sacrament.
Once again we have again been successful in welcoming more families into the church: it is extremely pleasing to see the maintenance of the number of young persons attending Sunday School who, in many cases, are actively supported by mums, dads or carers. Pupils at our Primary school, as part of the curricular provision, attend and actively participate in at least one Wednesday Eucharist service each year as well as other occasions such as Education Sunday.
All, young and not so young, are welcome to attend our regular services: 2015 saw the continued presence of our trainee Guide Dog for the Blind as a regular member of the congregation.
David Horsfield should be congratulated, yet again, on the recruitment of so many young people as new altar servers: it is pleasing to see the sanctuary fully “staffed” on so many occasions.
The PCC, Incumbent and Assistant Priest continued to remain mindful of the Commission’s guidance on public benefit and, in particular, the specific guidance to charities for the advancement of religion. In particular, St. George’s tries to enable ordinary people to live out their faith as part of the parish community through:worship and prayer, learning about the Gospel, and developing their knowledge and trust in Jesus provision of pastoral care for people living in the parish and for those associated with St. George’s who live out side the parish missionary and outreach work.
The Visiting Team continued the highly valued work of taking out communion to parishioners who, owing to being incapacitated, are unable to attend church services.
The bible study group met during the early months of the year but had to be curtailed due to the incapacity of the Revd. Downing. Additional opportunity for personal spiritual reflection was provided by. Revd. Cath.Martlew and Revd. Ann Gillibrand, consequent upon the introduction of a monthly meeting of interested parishioners to “a Quiet Time with God”.
To facilitate all this work it is essential that the fabric of all the buildings for which the PCC has responsibility is maintained to the highest possible standard: not an easy task when the building has become another year older and the costs of repair and maintenance continue to rise. It is this area that a successful bid for Lottery funding will have the greatest impact.
The physical attributes of the building are enhanced by the fact that it is kept clean and heated and thereby offers warmth, both physical and spiritual, to those who worship, a feature further enhanced by the quality of the singing and musicianship provided by the organist and choir. Not least is the beauty provided in the church from the floral displays provided by the members of the Flower Guild. The Easter arrangements continue to be a joy to behold.
ACHIEVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE
The PCC continues to be keen to offer a range of services throughout the year which our community find beneficial and spiritually fulfilling. The regular Wednesday (10.00a.m.) and Sunday (8.00a.m.) said Eucharist continue to provide a quiet, intimate and reflective environment for worship, while the normal Sunday Family Communion (10.00 a.m.) provides a more outgoing form of worship: the monthly parade Sunday activities provide the opportunity for the young people from the uniformed organisations to express themselves while “evensong”, a joint venture by the Anglican churches in Chorley, continues to enable St. George’s to act as the host for the service on a rotation basis. This week in week out provision is further supplemented by a range of services designed to celebrate the special occasions of the church year – Easter, Christmas, harvest.
The PCC in general, and the Mission and Worship committee in particular, are ever mindful of the need to provide opportunities for the people of Chorley, not just the parish, to experience worship in ways which will meet their needs and not just through the regular patterns of Sunday worship. As well as the regular and special services, St. George’s enables the community to celebrate and thank God at the milestones of the journey through lie. In marriage, public vows are exchanged with God’s blessing and through funeral services, friends and family express their grief and give thanks for the life which is now complete in this world and commend the person into God’s keeping. During the year covered by this report we have celebrated 60 baptisms, 8 weddings, and 42 funerals, including 19 taken at the crematorium and 3 at the graveside.
The continued high number of baptisms has been particularly pleasing.
Confirmation classes were once again part of the year’s activities, culminating in the confirmation of 7 adults and 15 children.
PUBLIC BENEFIT STATEMENT.
The members of the PCC, as Trustees, confirm that they have complied with their duties in delivering public benefit in accordance with their aims, and they have had due regard to the guidance on public benefit published by the Charity Commission in the exercise of their duties.
DEANERY AND DIOCESAN SYNODS.
While retaining the full complement of members for the meetings of both the Diocesan and Deanery Synods, meetings were seriously restricted due to a range of administrative difficulties.
Meetings were held which met mandatory requirements: minimal business was transacted during the year. However, specific points to note were a presentation given by the chair of the Diocesan Liturgical Committee with one of the meetings aligned with a Diocesan Launch Presentation in the Deanery for Vision 2026. The Deanery Synod meetings were also used to remind Parishes of various legal requirements and regulations.
The challenges of the document “Shape of Things to Come” continued to receive regular attention from the PCC. and remain of particular significance, especially to Deacon Cath. and the Ministry and Development Committee. Our thanks go to them for the work undertaken in the analysis of the current position of St. George’s in respect of those challenges. This has resulted in a wide range of ideas being generated and implemented, both to the fabric of the building and the spirituality of what is offered. Not all suggestions could be accommodated at one fell swoop: those remaining are tabled for future consideration.
Hustings were held prior to local elections in Chorley in May at Trinity Church – (Chorley Methodist Church). This was a successful event chaired by our own Bill Walker. It was envisaged to hold a follow up “Breakfast” with Lindsay Hoyle but this did not take place.
The Quaker representative – brought up the possibility of Islamaphobia. He has subsequently visited the Chorley Mosque and has been re-assured by the leaders that they do not feel worried by anything of this sort occurring in Chorley.
Simon Gilbertson shared his desire to see more volunteers for hospital chaplaincy.
Pastor Prince of the Rehoboth Christian Centre is currently utilising the hospitality provided by St. Mary’s Church. He has attended at least two Churches Together meetings.
Marjorie Hayworth has set up a befriending service in Chorley East Ward. She has successfully overseen such a service in Adlington and in Spain.
Lancashire Sings Christmas – was successfully carried out in ASDA. There were about 30 participants. There was a slight scare in that a child went missing towards the end of the evening for around a half hour. ASDA staff were both very helpful and very professional in dealing with this incident. (Lancashire Sings Christmas is a programme on Radio Lancashire where people in many venues sing carols that are broadcast).
The Quaker rep. Keith Hargreaves made us aware of Fairtrade Fortnight which took place in March. A pop-up shop in Market Walk sold chocolates, made visitors aware of the range of FT items, and provided FT meals on a Saturday produced by children. It is hoped that the whole of Chorley Borough will be a Fairtrade Town in the not too distant future.
Reports on the Street pastors and the Storehouse have been given throughout the year. Both continue to thrive. The Street Pastors are gradually increasing their number. Their recruitment usually involves some form of ‘barbeque type’ evening with established pastors giving talks on their experiences.
It is hoped that the problem of unfilled leadership posts will be resolved.2016
The food bank has continued to support both families and singles with 3 bags allocated to families and one to singles. These can be collected with the appropriate referral issued by the official authorities - the Council and 24 other agencies. Last Christmas over 500 hampers, as they are called, were distributed. The year 2015 saw the distribution of 1.020 referrals. With each family being allocated 3 bags, this totalled in excess of 2,000 bags. We also dealt with people coming in off the streets who were living rough: these were only a small proportion of those we dealt with. Whoever is in need, and whatever the special need i.e. pet food, allergies, baby needs, halal, we do try to help them.
We have been supported by 15 of the local churches and by the supermarkets. Sadly, ASDA wanted us in their store on a Saturday morning to encourage shoppers to make donations; unfortunately, this was found to be impractical. One publican is amazingly supportive, as are many of the schools, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Halifax Building Society. The food bank is extremely grateful for the generosity shown by the worshippers at St. Georges
Monetary donations are always welcome: anyone requiring bank details can obtain them from Nick Gillibrand on 01257/435597.
THE CHURCH, CHURCH HALL, MISSION HUT AND SCHOOL
The submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund had to delayed, due to administrative requirements, but by the end of 2015 we had been informed of the success of the bid. This will enable the implementation of agreed solutions to the renovation of the building , particularly the foundations, to commence in 2016.
What must be recorded is the debt of gratitude St. George’s owes to those who have spent much time and effort in the compilation of the bid. Our success will remove a lot of headaches. What is also encouraging is that activities designed to raise funds for the “Restoration Fund” have continued throughout the year, with the fund standing at some £16.5 thousand, as of the year end.
The Church Hall
The Church Hall continues to be a warm and welcoming place, accommodating a range of users. On the one hand are the Church organisations, while on the other are a range of external bodies, mainly from the field of education, who continue to hire the facilities. The year has seen a decline in useage by external bodies due mainly to the financial constraints placed upon adult education which has led to a significant loss of income. From the large, the Christmas Fayre, the pantomime, and the Sunday School, to the small, all who use it recognise its place in the life of the community of St. Georges and that of Chorley.
The Hall manager has worked hard to maintain the position of the building and its usage, in spite of the concerns generated by the economic climate. The number of booked activities for the year 2015 totalled 2121.42 hours, compared with 2635.50 in 2014. Of this, 955.25 were church oriented and 1166.7 by other bodies reflecting a greater demand from Church organisations which has, to some degree, offset the decline in usage by other bodies. During the year it was used by a similar range of different bodies to that of previous years, with the support of the University of the Third Age and Lancashire College remaining, but of less financial significance. Strong.
This facility, situated in the centre of town is, but one more example of the way in which the Church continues to make itself available to the wider public and how the wider public benefits, as evidenced in the reports from the user groups, from that which the Church has to offer.
A significant amount of maintenance and property repairs have been conducted to the Church and Church Hall, in addition to the tidying of the external areas. We are fortunate that a small number of volunteers are prepared to meet on a regular basis to undertake these activities. Whenever feasible, maintenance and repairs are undertaken by the team members, with external contractors only used for large or very specialist activities. Due to the significant costs involved with repair activities, there is a close working relationship with the Chair of Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee to ensure effective financial planning is applied for all activities undertaken. The Volunteer Request Scheme helped to secure a small number of volunteers and we remain hopeful of further volunteers coming forward next year. Chorley Borough Council have also supported our grounds maintenance tidying activities by providing and emptying a number of garden waste recycling bins on a regular basis as activities to tidy the Church Grounds have been ongoing.
Red Bank Mission Hall
The Mission Hall has been owned by St George’s Church since 1909, it’s purpose and use is strictly controlled through Church Governance and the specific deeds of the property. The purpose of the Mission Hall is to provide for the spiritual and social well being of the various church organizations and it’s use is limited to church organizations. Over the years, the Mission Hall has been used for a variety of church purposes, including: church services, mission and fellowship meetings, Sunday School classes, confirmation classes and the meeting location for some of our church youth organizations. In more recent times the majority of use has been towards that of meeting the needs of our continually growing church youth organizations, as well as for mission and fellowship meetings. Currently it is used by our Girl Guiding Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Young Leaders Units and Scout Group covering Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Young Leaders noting a plan to open a second Rainbow Unit in April 2016.
Maintenance challenges remain ongoing for the Mission Hall with these being monitored by the Fabric and Buildings Committee in conjunction with the General Purposes and Finance Committee.
St. George’s Primary School
The school has enjoyed another good year: it continues to be recognised within the local community as being the school to which so many families wish to send their children: the queue to sign the register of church attendance at morning worship services, in order to be considered for a place on the entry list, would be the desire of many schools. It has remained oversubscribed with the consequence that the Governors have had to revise their criteria for admission to the 2016 intake.
Not only that, but it continues to be recognised at local, regional and national level as of quality, hence the Ofsted accolade of being Outstanding, in respect of that which is both provided and achieved. St. George’s is indebted to the Head, staff, pupils, parents/carers and Governors for this wonderful example of Christianity in action…attained by hard work, vision and commitment. No easy task.
It is important to recognise that this “quality” is not just retained in a selfish manner but is shared with other educational institutions which may not be as fortunate as our school finds itself to be. The expertise of the Head and staff continues to be in demand from other educational bodies and is willingly shared, both locally and beyond. What a wonderful testimony.
The great and continual challenge for the school is the maintenance of this quality in the face of the never ending changing demands from Whitehall, affecting education in general, and the school in particular. Let us make sure that our prayers continue to include those people charged with the education of the children in our school, that they continue to have the vision and strength to enable them to retain their title of “outstanding”.
The head contributes on a regular basis to the Parish magazine keeping parishioners up to date with the day to day events of school: he continually stresses his open door policy. The question is “do we take advantage of it?
MISSION AND EVANGELISM
The concern within the PCC of having to make a decision to cease the support for a range of charities has been offset by the continued, splendid work of the various organisations which function in the name of St. Georges.
The parish magazine continues to be produced monthly: spare copies are made available to the Tuesday morning coffee club: some of the customers are not regular attendees at St. Georges, so this is another way of spreading the word.
The magazine has managed to “keep its head above water”, although the loss of advertisers has resulted in a decline in income. The inclusion of the insert prepared by the Diocese enables the recipients to be kept informed of things beyond the parish as well as developing our knowledge and understanding of the faith.
The distribution of Easter and Christmas cards throughout the parish is particularly valued by those who may not worship at St. Georges but recognise consideration which is given to them……so we are informed.
The responsibilities of the Churchwardens at the Annual Parochial meeting are to report on any additions or subtractions to the Terrier and recording of the goods and chattels in the church building. In the year covered by this report there have been no additions or deletions.
The Wardens would like to thanks Peter Jackson for refurbishing the war memorial plaques the Church entrance lobby, and the Men’s Fellowship for the provision of a new St George’s flag.
The main area of work this year was to work up and submit a new bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund; ‘Grants to Place of Worship’, to help with the funding towards the subsidence work. We failed in our first bid, however the Church was placed on the Historic England’s at risk register and a new bid was submitted in August 2015. In early December 2015 we heard that we had been successful in a first rounds bid and a grant of £126,000 was provisionally awarded to St George’s towards the £200,000 cost of arresting the subsidence at the North West end of Church. The remaining monies are to come from fund raising and our reserves. The Wardens would like to thank everybody at this point for their continuing support and financial giving towards the Restoration Fund.
The work of preparing a tendered scheme for this work, obtaining the relevant permissions to undertake the work has started with a view to submit a second round bid in November 2016 with work starting in 2017.
The Wardens would like to thank the people of the Parish that keep our Church looking spick and span throughout the year, the cleaner, Verger, Flower Guild and the brass cleaners, these are the unsung heroes of our Church, but every Sunday we come into a lovely clean, friendly and welcoming Church.
Finally we wish to thank the Fabric Committee and their supporters for their help during the year in the day to day running of the church, from gardening parties to changing electric light bulbs: it all helps to keep the church and grounds looking pristine and keeps our expenditure to a minimum.
Our income in 2015 fell below our expenditure for the year resulting in a deficit of £2,784 before extraordinary items are taken into account. The total income, excluding Restricted Income, fell to £125,586 whilst our General (Unrestricted) expenditure increased slightly to £128,370. We also incurred exceptional expenditure on the maintenance of the church gates, wall and railings. Some of this was the subject of an insurance claim but other necessary work was carried out at the same time, funded from our reserves in the Tom Hilton Legacy as we could not meet all the costs from our regular income.
A significant annual surplus is vital if we are to remain solvent and have the reserves in the future that we need to meet major capital costs. These include the cost of resolving the internal subsidence problems that we face. We now have grant aid approval for this work from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will allow us to begin this important but costly job. The Restricted Income of £4,975 this year consisted entirely of donations to the Church Restoration Fund. This Fund stood at £16,462 at 31 December 2015
We are very grateful for the many donations that we receive. In 2015 these included another significant donation from St George's Institute. However, planned and committed regular weekly or monthly giving is the main foundation of our church funding and it is pleasing to see that this has increased slightly in the last year. The total of planned giving at £51,278 is 3.6% higher than the 2014 figures and cash collections were up by 3.3% (at £11,639). The income that we receive from HMRC through Gift Aid fell just under 5% at £13,331.
Rental income for the Hall from non-church activities has fallen mainly because of cuts in classes run by Lancashire County Council. This will lead to a reduction in hall income of over £5,000 in a full year and will have significant implications unless we are able to find alternative income streams. A major refurbishment and maintenance programme was undertaken during the year to ensure that the Hall remains an attractive venue for users.
The amount that St George's Church pays to the Diocese each year (our Parish Share) increased in 2015, rising to £62,735 which includes the Incumbent's Assigned fees and a payment from general church income. The growth in Assigned Fees is an indication of the growing workload in the Parish and helps reduce the amount (by £6,500 in 2015) that we need to find from our general resources to meet the annual Parish Assessment. In 2016 the Parish Share which we pay will rise to £68,707.
Payments totaling just over £3,000 were made to the Barchester Scheme and the Church High School which were in line with previous years.
The spend on General Maintenance of Church Buildings was lower in 2015 at £2,944 which reflects the position we are at, in response to the Quinquennial Review. Exceptional expenditure was incurred for the necessary repair of the church gates and railings. This work was separate from the insurance work which was carried out on the front wall and railings of the church. We are now preparing for the major Church Restoration programme and major expenditure will occur in this area in the next eighteen months.
Payments totaling £2,400 were made to the Organist, who is a PCC Member, for services provided during the year.
The Notes to the Financial Statements show that the total value of our deposit and investment funds as at 31 December 2015 was £217,525 which reflects the stock market level at that time.
Reserves are held in short term deposits and investments through the Church of England Investment Fund to ensure that they are readily available to meet the financial requirements of the Church.
Designated funds for use in future building projects are set out in the notes to the accounts.
Yet another report which gives a clear picture of the continued vibrancy and commitment of those who attend St. George’s Church, but one in which financial solvency has been identified as a cause of concern. Let us not forget that we have lost some of our members; they were part of those who have provided long and faithful service. May the memory of their lives continue to be an example to those of us who worship at St. George’s, and within the wider community of Chorley.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.”
(John, Chapter 14, V 6)
REPORTS FROM ORGANISATIONS
A QUITE TIME WITH GOD
Last year, Revd. Ann Gillibrand and I felt the need for a different type of mid-week service – a quiet, less formal time to meet with God and meditate through prayer, readings, and reflection. So our prayer group was formed. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month for some half an hour; and have 6 -10 people in the group.
We always have had a theme to pray and reflect upon – these have included: ‘The Trinity’; ‘St Teresa of Avila’; ‘Remembrance’; ‘Journey to the Crib’; ‘The Season of Epiphany’; and ‘Lent: Wilderness, Water and Words’. We have used Celtic Spirituality; poems, music and silence.
There is always something visual - such as a candle; the cross; flowers; water; stones; a picture – something on which to focus.
This is a time and place to come and be yourself with God, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. A time to let Him be with you, love you, and delight in you. A time when you can be with God and delight in Him, too.
At the year ending we had 2015 a membership of 24, including 1 indoor member, exactly the same as the previous year.
Our annual Festival was held at St. George’s and a big thank you has to given to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success.
We held one of our “Wheels Appeal” cake stalls to raise money for transport for MU co-ordinators in the “field” and also in October held a Beetle Drive with the proceeds going to the Church Restoration Fund. Apart from these two special events, we held a further 15 meetings or socials during the year and also accompanied the Thursday Ladies’ Circle to an evening at the theatre. For our Christmas meal we had a change of venue going to Amelies at Coppull.
During 2015 we did complete the paperwork for someone to be considered for a holiday in the Mother’s Union caravan: unfortunately they changed their mind at the very last minute. Please remember that we have this facility. If you know of anyone who is deserving of consideration, which is completely free, with all details remaining completely confidential.
The Parish Magazine ‘The Messenger’ continued to be read by a significant number of Parishioners in 2015. It was pleasing to see the large number of people who contributed articles. A loss of some revenue from advertising meant that the Magazine was only just in surplus, and the cost of The Messenger will be slightly increased in 2016.
The Social Committee donated a star prize to our Church’s Christmas Draw and organised three events – Lent Lunch, Harvest Social and Carol Singing in the Church Grounds. This last activity was a new idea replacing Carol Singing around our Parish. Despite awful weather, over 60 people turned up and the morning was a great success which will be repeated in 2016 – hopefully with better weather!
MEN’S FELLOWSHIP GROUP
The Men’s Fellowship has enjoyed another successful year. Another new member, Graham Heald, was welcomed into the Fellowship during 2015. There has been a good mix of social activities and speaker presentations. The former included the bowls tournament, the customary meal at The Owls in May and, of course, the St George’s “Great Bake Off” competition, together with the AGM and our Christmas Games. Whilst of a more sedentary nature, and being indoors, the latter provided great entertainment. Victor Ludorum was a certain Revd. Ken Barrett whose skill at darts could easily suggest a miss-spent youth! Bakery Chef of the Year was David Horsfield, whose tea-loaf had a mystery ingredient (marmalade), courtesy of Nigella Lawson.
Speaker presentations included a talk by Pauline Jones on “Being A Director of Nursing” There was also a case study in ‘going green’, an account of how the National Trust drastically reduced its fuel-oil consumption at Plas Newydd in Anglesey by extracting heat from the waters of the Menai Straits.
Although we had to cancel the first two meetings of the autumn, due to knock-on effects from a wedding clashing with one of the Heritage Open days, and the October DAMS production starting earlier than expected. One of these was our traditional cookery evening held at Albany Academy under the ever watchful eye of our own Janice Roberts. This was planned to be held in January of 2016. Memories of these frustrations were more than cancelled out by cherished memories of our presentation of a TV set to our dear old friend and founder member of the Fellowship, Jim McPartlin. With headphones, courtesy of Rev Barrett, a set of John Wayne western DVDs, courtesy of Alan Fairclough, and a DVD player, courtesy of the Horsfields. Jim is enjoying his ‘best present ever’ – especially his all time favourite- True Grit.
St George’s Men’s Fellowship is open to all members of St George’s congregation: anyone above the age of 16 is more than welcome to join.
The Heritage Open Days event centred upon “Our Year of Anniversaries”. The steady flow of committed visitors- during the morning sessions especially- ensured a valuable experience. It was also evident that this national enrichment project is well-established in Chorley; it is our eighth year and we found other sites opening around us, at Astley Hall, The Unitarian Chapel and Croston Old School.
We send a big “thank-you” to all visitors, workers and supporters. Much is also owed to our home team who provided six table exhibitions and illustrated talks utilising recently researched and as yet unpublished material on “What is a Waterloo Church?”, “Festubert 1915” and “The Grammar School’s Lime Trees Memorial” . There were also the expected tours and chats and the bell ringing experience. We were very grateful to Stuart Willis for stepping in to produce the almost traditional organ recital. Having played a varied and extended programme, Stuart went on to impress with a seemingly effortless transition to the bells. This triggers the thought that Victoria will be interested to talk to anyone thinking of joining the adult bell ringing team.
Don’t miss next year’s event. It is always the second weekend in September. Absolutely free and always displaying new work and materials! We would also be delighted to welcome anyone who would like to undertake research, collation and exhibition work. Have a word soon. Mary Edwards has volunteered to assist in cataloguing our archive. We await warmer temperatures before braving the task in the north gallery landing.
Your St. George’s Heritage Group continue to play a wide role in community affairs. Bill Walker is a member of the national committee for Community Archive and Heritage Groups, in addition to working with David and Barbara Horsfield and Peter Jackson for the Chorley Heritage Group. If you have not visited the upper gallery at Astley Farmhouse, do not delay! The exhibitions change every three months. David has continued to stimulate interest in Chorley Grammar School’s lime tree memorial to the fallen from World War One and, along with Peter, spoken to U3A on Commander Lightoller. Peter’s researches have provided a mine of information to a range of Chorley’ cultural groups, in particular on servicemen involved at Festubert . He is also the first and best point of call for the many folk following up their family trees.
Thursday Ladies Circle
Our group meets on the first and third Thursday of the month; we have a break for summer in July and August. Once again membership has increased; our average attendance was 18 in the latter months of the year. We look forward to welcoming new members again this year. All are welcome.
During 2015 we enjoyed our usual programme of speakers, activities and outings. Outside speakers have been interesting and informative, nearly always on a theme historical! Members have volunteered to lead activities too, for which we are most grateful. We have arranged flowers, knitted (and nattered at the same time) and learned about the origins of our surnames, amongst other things. We have also supported CADOS and Chorley Little Theatre, with visits to a play and an afternoon film.
Our involvement, as a group, in the life of the church continues. The TLC has turns on the brass cleaning and flower rotas, and was happy to organise the refreshments when the Flower Guild held a flower demonstration for the Church Restoration Fund.
We continue to support the work of International Aid; in October we decorated and filled shoe boxes with Christmas gifts. From our annual fund-raising event in November, to which we invite groups from across the town, we were able to send a cheque for £550 to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation at the Royal Preston Hospital.
ST.GEORGE’S BELL RINGING GROUP
This year has been an extremely successful one for our Bell Ringing Group. On St. George's Day 2015 our bells were highlighted on the BBC's The One Show! The reporter, Angellica Bell, visited the Tower and played the bells on national television. Our bells also trended on Twitter under #ellacombechimes.
The bells were further highlighted at the two-day Heritage Weekend in September 2015 when the Tower Room was open to the public and visitors could play the bells and learn more about their unique history.
The Bell Group has a large thriving membership made up of young people. Thanks go to Mrs Finch and Mrs Entwisle for their help in the Tower and in supervising the children.
DRAMATIC AND MUSICAL SOCIETY ( DAMS ).
Yet another busy year with the Passion Play being performed at three services during Holy Week. The Pantomime was yet another success, Cinderella, written by our own Carole Waring. .Again, this was presented during the February half term to accommodate all the children who want to take part. It was decided to present on the evenings of Thursday, Friday and Saturday and we included a matinee as well on the Saturday. It does make it a long day for the little ones and we had to give real thought to this for 2016.
As is usual, it was straight from the pantomime into rehearsals for the Passion Play which was performed at three services during Holy Week; this is valued very much by those who worship at St. Georges and it has become an integral part of the church calendar.
In October we performed two one act plays, with all women taking part as we did not have a great availability of men for that time. Any new male members would be more than welcome. Any age!!! Audiences were not large but all those who came said they had enjoyed them.
We did not have the Christmas Social in 2015 as in 2014 there were only DAMS members present, no other parishioners. It is a busy time of year, with rehearsals and family Christmas pressures and we did not feel we could commit again. It was agreed to put this matter to the PCC: it was felt that it had probably run its course and
be put on hold until people wanted to do it again. While this was a disappointment it did not stop being involved in a range of other activities:-
Carnival – a float was entered again; thanks to all who took part and Jennie for the organisation.
Harvest Tea – DAMS members participated in this event, mainly children as adults were rehearsing for the October production
Replacements have been needed for lights, drops for the stage and lighting desk.
Family Fun Day – this was held in July with a bouncy castle, games and a barbeque – a good day enjoyed by all
Again we contributed to the Church Christmas Raffle, a donation is to be made to the Restoration Fund and we are to give to the PCC for a new Altar Book
Throughout the year we have regular committee meetings with dedicated members discussing the needs and objects of the Society, for which great thanks are given. Long may we continue - along with your support
The Messenger had another successful year. Thanks must go to all who organise the Magazine, contribute articles and to our readers. The loss of some advertisers has had a financial impact, although the Magazine still manages to break even, avoiding the need to call on Church funds.
Despite losing one couple, who have moved home to the Fylde coast, the group continues to thrive, with members’ ages ranging from late teens to a very athletic – and extremely competent -octogenarian. With just the one court, games are limited to doubles, usually mixed. This means that there is a significant element of ‘sitting out’, which gives ample opportunity for social discourse across the generations, to the benefit of young and old alike.
Meetings are held most Mondays from September to the late Spring Bank Holiday, from 8.00 to 10 pm.
The badminton group continues to be in good shape. We meet on Monday evenings in the church hall, 8.00 – 10.00pm. Because of player numbers and the existence of only one court, doubles is the usual format.
In addition to the weekly social interaction, and with several new younger members, there is valuable dialogue between the age groups which range from late teens to over 80 ! The latter, a former professional badminton coach and member of a neighbouring RC church, has been inspirational, especially to the younger ones.
Mindful of our opportunity for outreach, we have been privileged recently to witness the remarkable charitable actions of one of our younger members who brought along an acquaintance whose life-story has included being orphaned at the age of two followed by an extremely difficult upbringing culminating in homelessness. His teenage friend has supported him with a maturity beyond his years and the entire group has been happy to engage with this process.
By the time this report is read, the disadvantaged young man will have started his training in the Armed Forces. We wish him well and thank both of them for enriching our lives. Numbers have increased only slightly over the year as we were sorry to lose two older members, one being Gloria Dunseath. In her customary totally- dependable fashion, Gloria had acted as treasurer. We wish her well as she concentrates her energies on the Mothers Union.
New members from St George’s congregation and beyond are always welcome.
The optimism expressed in last years report has been meaningful during the year covered by this report. With the publication in The Messenger of the Altar Flower rota, financial contributions have increased during the year, which is much appreciated. Several vacancies on the rota still remain and it is hoped that parishioners and church organisations will be encouraged to subscribe, thereby giving us the opportunity for more optimism. The appeal in the church magazine for additional volunteers has not been successful: we live in hope that the Easter decorations, which received such positive comments, will be an inspiration for someone to join the Guild.
Our annual Floral Art demonstration proved to be, once again, successful, with the proceeds going to the Restoration Fund. The evening broadened into what might be termed an arts evening, with the Vicar providing the live musical contribution, Churchwarden John Bradley providing appropriate lighting effects and recorded music and the Flower Guild Secretary the floral art displays.
Planning for 2016 is already in place, with Friday 20th.May and a starting time of 7.30pm., the chosen date and time of the event. A plea to support the event is extended, not only to the men and women who worship at St. Georges, but to friends and family as well. An added bonus is the refreshments provided by theThursday Ladies Circle…..so do come along and join us.
7th Chorley (St.George’s, Red Bank) Rainbows
The Rainbow unit at Red Bank Mission is a thriving unit with 18 members, 4 leaders and 2 unit helpers. The girls come from several schools in Chorley including St George’s, St. Gregory’s, Duke St, Rivington and St Joseph’s in Anderton.
We follow the rainbow programme, around look, learn, laugh and love, which involves much fun, games, activities and eating!
There has been a great demand for places in the existing unit, to the extent that we are planning to open a second unit after the 2016 Easter holidays. This will be the 19th Chorley (St George’s, Red Bank) Rainbow Unit. This is due quite simply to the fact that we have over 25 girls on our waiting list, with 12 who are already 5yrs old …..and no places for them in our existing unit. It is intended to run from 4-5pm on a Wednesday, immediately before the meeting of the current Rainbows. We have recruited 3 mums of girls on our waiting list, and who are currently going through the Girl guiding DBS checks and who will eventually run the unit once trained.
I am the way, the truth and the life.”
(John, Chapter 14, V 6)