Churchwardens’ Report

The Churchwardens’ official report is part of the Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) for the year ended 31stDecember 2018. The review of 2018 highlights the activities that occurred during the year and includes the responsibilities of the various committees which report to the PCC.  The effective functioning of these committees is crucial for the efficient running of the church. Reports from the various committees will be presented during the APCM. All the reports will be available on the St James website after the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM). 

As in 2017 a major feature of 2018 was the absence of a vicar before William took up his post as Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Lillington and St James, Old Milverton in early September. We owe Felicity and Sue a great debt of gratitude for the increased workload that devolved to them during the vacancy, especially on Sue who also held the fort at St Mary Magdalene in Lillington. 

One of the highlights of the year was when we welcomed William to St James with a special service attended by our Joint Patron, Michael Heber-Percy, members of his family and many members of our congregation. The Worship report provides the details of the services held during the year, including the confirmation service in November. For the record there was a small increase in the average Sunday attendance in 2018 (excluding major feasts), 42 up from 39 the previous year. Nearly 300 attended the four services over Christmas and 83 attended the service on the morning of Easter Sunday. 

The church building, both inside and out, and the churchyards, old and new, remain in good condition and the Fabric Committee’s report describes what was done in 2018 to maintain the building and keep the churchyards in order.  

A quick head count shows that over 40 people are actively involved in the life of St James, including some recent recruits. With so many it is not really practical to try and thank everyone individually and, if we attempted to do so, we would be bound to leave someone out! So a big thank you to our clergy, the other members of the PCC, members of the various rotas and everyone else involved in one way or another. Your time and hard work during the year is greatly appreciated. Your contributions certainly make our lives as Churchwardens so much easier and show how a laity led church can function effectively. However, to remain viable and to grow we will always need new volunteers and if you can help please speak to us. The tasks are varied and not too arduous and usually involve a lot of laughing! 

To finish, I can do no better than repeat the words which Lib Cook, then churchwarden, used in her report for 2015.“There is a real feeling of everyone being together as a loving family, and their willingness to help enables us all to grow in faith to serve Christ and worship God our Father together.”

Michael Rayner and Carol Lane, Churchwardens

Communications APCM Report 2018

Our Aim:
To consider how well St James communicates to our church community, formally through our church services, magazine, the PCC, notices, posters, flyers, website and informally through all our social events, including after-worship coffee, the welcome we offer new members of our congregation, new brides and grooms, baptismal families and the support we give to the bereaved.

Our Team:
Linda Bister (until July), Liz Burkinshaw, Sue Fairhurst, Ali Foster, Sue Frost, Simone Brunson

Our Year:
The communications group have met formally four times over the year.  As stated last year we were keen to review how the church communicates with our families; those that attend regularly and also those who are interested in attending.  Our team of five members have worked hard throughout the year to make each aspect of our communication as informative and accessible as possible. We would like to thank Linda Bister for all her hard work in setting up our original website and we wish her all the very best in pastures new. If anyone would like to join our small team we would be delighted.

Over the year we have:
Shared all minutes with the PCC
The Website reflects current events whilst setting our church within a historical and village context. It was an essential tool in our recent appointment process. This is regularly updated and maintained by our website expert Liz 
Circulated promotional leaflets, in the parish and wider afield, sharing details of special  services (e.g. Christmas  and Easter)
Been aware of our annual budget 
Regularly reviewed and updated the information boards in the porch. 

The team would like to thank all fellow PCC members who have been actively engaged in discussing all our ideas and adding thoughts of their own.

Sue Frost, on behalf of the Communications Team for St James Old Milverton / April 2018

Fabric Committee Report for APCM 28th April 2019

During 2018, we undertook quite a varied mixture of maintenance and development work in the church and churchyard, some planned, some unexpected, both large and small tasks, including

  • the moss removal and re-pointing work to the roof ridge tiles, replacement of tiles inside the valley roof, repairs to crack below the round window in vestry and re-pointing work to churchyard walls north, east and between old/new churchyard,
  • the installation of a display unit (for pamphlets etc) at back of church,
  • after much negotiation, the redeployment of the rather unfortunate way marker positioned by the lych gate
  • (taken to Coventry),
  • the trapping of half a dozen very active moles and the replacement of two electronic pest repellers,
  • the major upgrade of the chancel and nave lighting system (thank you AJ Electrics),
  • the replacement of the broken rain water butt tap and fixing draught excluder around the porch wooden door,
  • a massive amount of work by the Community Unpaid Work unit, clearing the old churchyard brambles, thereby allowing a carpet of snowdrops to see the light of day. The work of the community unit cannot be underestimated, it is critical to us, without them, put simply we are unable to maintain the churchyard,
  • the planting of a Diocesan Centenary Tree, "Goat willow" in new churchyard - with plaque,
  • the re-installation of the "Christmas Star" fishing line above the chancel step,
  • cutting the grass throughout the year, and holding four churchyard clearing days.

Thanks are due to so many; it is only with the support and physical labour of the congregation and others that we are able year on year to meet our responsibility of maintaining St James to the required standards. Without our willing band of volunteers we would face a significant (possibly unaffordable?) increase in the costs of maintaining the church and particularly the churchyard and difficult financial choices would have to follow. For the moment, the church is clean, dry, light and warm, the grass cut and the paths swept but the Fabric Committee is aware that to ensure this continues careful future financial planning is needed and to this end requested the PCC put in place a rolling capital reserve to enable expensive future projects to be undertaken, e.g. the replacement of perished stones in the tower walls. The Fabric Committee is also aware that in coming years we may need to look at additional professional help (and the obvious impact on our annual expenditure), for example grass cutting services as our mowing team increasingly struggle with the quantity of grass cutting required.

The churchyard clearing days are well supported and this year we had a wonderful number turn out to tackle lots of odd jobs in the churchyard. Grateful thanks go to all for their efforts. It’s always a case of the more the merrier, everyone welcome, bring your own tools, coffee and biscuits provided.

Thanks go to the members of the Fabric Committee (Sarah, Chris T, Michael, Chris V and Geoff) for attending the various meetings, having very sensible ideas and for all their hard work throughout another year in looking after our church building and grounds.

Gus Marshall

APCM Safeguarding Report – 2018

Safeguarding for Children and Vulnerable Adults is a key piece of statutory documentation that guides our practice in all churches and is necessary to support all public establishments.  

The House of Bishops continue to review their support for churches and deliver clear guidance on how to provide a safe environment for all children and vulnerable adults, whilst also supporting all volunteers from malicious accounts.  

As the main decision maker the PCC has responsibility 

During this year our church has: 

Completed two Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks 
There are no outstanding DBS checks
Five people have completed C1 and C2 training
I have run C0 training for four people 
One person has outstanding training to complete
Had Safeguarding as an agenda item on all PCC meetings so that any questions can be addressed or matters reported on
There have been no safeguarding incidents reported to the DSA
Absorbed new systems for DBS checks and established all new systems and procedures within our practice
Used the Coventry Diocesan website for guidance documents and policy 
Liaised with other safeguarding officers in the immediate deanery
Attended a celebration service for Parish Safeguarding Officers led by Bishop Christopher at St Johns Church in Kenilworth 
Worked with the Assistant Safeguarding Officer for the Diocese - Helen Tebbatt

Social Committee Report

We have had a very busy year, and my thanks go to all of Committee for rising to the challenges.

The year began with Lent Lunch which took place n the hall on Saturday 24th March, we served home made soup, bread, cheese and fruit followed by coffee. Thank you all who came.

Patronal was on the 29th July, and for the first time that I can remember we had to be in the Church due to rain, and it was the hottest Summer on record! St James looked magnificent and the nibbles rose to the occasion. 

Rev William was inducted on 5th September and we were asked if we could help with the refreshments, what an evening it was mild, the fairy lights twinkled, the robes shone, and we had a terrific celebration, thank you all.

Rev William came to conduct his first Service at St James on Sunday 16th September where we provided wine and nibbles, it was a lovely Service with the Heber-Percys being involved in the Service, we so enjoyed meeting them.

Harvest lunch was held in the hall on Sunday October 14th. We catered for about 35 persons and served Cottage Pie with vegetables, and crumble with custard and cream, which all enjoyed.

St James held the Confirmation Service on November 18th which was very special. The Church was full and following the Service we served coffee and tea and home made biscuits. 

The Carol Service was held on Thursday 20th December, a lovely Service and the Church was full, following the Service Nicola very kindly supplied the mulled wine and mince pies which went down very well. Thank you. 

Thank you for all your support and generosity over the past year.

Veronica Davis

Worship Report 2018

This is a brief overview of our activities for the year.

Our services followed a familiar pattern throughout 2018, with a mix of ‘home-grown’ clergy and worship leaders, together with our regular visitors who offer us some different and thought-provoking sermons.  Overall, average attendance at Sunday services was up a little on previous years and attendance at major festivals was good.

As part of our Easter preparations in 2018, we offered a Psalm reading pattern for Lent and also ran a Quiet Day on a Saturday in March.  Attendance at this was pleasing, with about 14 people joining us for all or part of the day.

Evensongs took place on the 4thSunday of the month from May to August and Wednesday Worship continued on its monthly basis, moving to Queenie’s house for the colder months of the year.

Four family-friendly services were held during the year:  Mothering Sunday, a June Family Service, Harvest Festival, and a Christingle service at Christmas.  The service in June included an invitation to stay for a midsummer picnic in the churchyard, and this was very well attended.

We welcomed George Warner back to St James for our Patronal Service in July and Felicity led the All Souls Service in November.

Occasional Offices (baptisms, weddings and funerals) offer us good opportunities to make links with new people.  In 2018 we held a record number of 16 baptisms, and we look forward to welcoming these families back and watching the children grow over the next few years. There were also 5 weddings, a wedding blessing, 4 funerals and 6 interment of ashes including Robin Lock – a past churchwarden and a loyal and hardworking member of St James for many years.

In September we welcomed William as our new incumbent with services both at St Mary Magdalene and here at St James, and in November we were joined by the Bishop of Warwick and members of St Mary Magdalene for a joyous Confirmation service, when 7 members of St James were confirmed.

Felicity, Sue Frost and Muriel Cotton continued to hold Holy Communion services at Helen Ley twice a month throughout the year.  Sue and Muriel have now decided it is time to hand over this role and we thank them for all they have done.  Sue Fairhurst went to Priors House twice monthly, once to hold a communion service and once to meet and chat to residents.

We continue to try to reach out to the village, taking part in the Horticultural Show in September and putting invitations to our Christmas events through everyone’s door at the beginning of December.  It has also been encouraging to see good support from members of the church at Village Hall events.

The monthly Coffee and Chat morning in the Village Hall is going well, with a regular attendance of up to a dozen folk, providing us with the chance to catch up on one another’s news in much greater detail than is possible over a quick cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.

The Bible Book Club met 4 times during the year, but as winter approached the numbers attending were low and it has been decided to postpone this group for the time being.

The breadth and variety of our worship only happens because of the commitment of so many different people:  thank you to all our worship leaders, organists, servers, readers and intercessors, clergy and visitors.


Sunday Club Report 

Although few in number, we have a small, but enthusiastic group of children who come to Sunday Club:  thank you to their parents for their commitment to bringing them to church when there must be a thousand and one other things they could just as easily be doing!

We continue to follow our regular ‘syllabus’, covering the major festivals of the church year, and a mix of Old and New Testament stories:  in 2018 we focused on the some of the well-known characters in the Old Testament and on Jesus’ teachings on how we should live. In all we do, we try to relate the stories they hear to everyday life and our aim is to enable the children to live out their developing faith in the familiar contexts of home and school that they meet each day.

One of the joys of 2018 was seeing five past members of the Sunday Club come forward for confirmation in November:  Charlie Wiggin, Candice and Blake Dolan, William and James Hawkins.

My thanks go to all the Sunday Club leaders:  Penny Hawkins, Sally Begg, Veronica Davies, Sally Dunn and Sue Frost. Each and every one of them gives their time so generously and they lead the sessions with enthusiasm and a willingness to encourage the children to think about what their faith means to them.

It is a joy both to watch our children’s understanding of the love of Jesus grow and to see their confidence increase as they share what they have been doing with the congregation week by week, or take an active part in our family services. Thank you to the whole congregation for their welcome, encouragement and support of our young people.


Sue Fairhurst

Deanery Synod Report for 2018

The Deanery Synod met 4 times during 2018.  Our representatives are Anna Trye, Sarah Vincett, and Ali Foster (who also acts as secretary to the Synod).  William, Felicity and Sue also attend in their roles as clergy within the deanery.

Following Charlotte Gale’s departure in June 2017, the role of Area Dean remained unfilled until November 2018, when Father Stephen Parker of St John Baptist, Leamington was commissioned as the new Area Dean for Warwick and Leamington Deanery.

At each meeting we share news and views from around the churches and, where appropriate, receive a report on the activities of Diocesan Synod.  Parish Share is also a regular item at the meetings, although a lack of Area Dean for much of the year has led to a breakdown in communications between the Deanery and the Diocese on this matter that the new Area Dean is now trying to address.

A major item at each meeting is a presentation from a visiting speaker. In January Carol Clarke, the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor gave a presentation on the importance of safeguarding training.  In April, John Witcomb, the Dean of Coventry Cathedral, talked about the Cathedral’s plans to mark the centenary of the Diocese of Coventry.  We welcomed Charlotte Gale back to Deanery Synod in September, when she talked to us about setting up St Clare’s at the Cathedral and the progress that they are making there in bringing new people into a church community.  At the final meeting in November we were joined by the Venerable Sue Field, the new Archdeacon Pastor, who explained her role within the diocese which includes taking responsibility for oversight of the well-being of clergy, being involved in conflict resolution within parishes, and oversight of legal and pastoral responsibilities across the Diocese.

Sue Fairhurst

Electoral Roll Report

Numbers on the Electoral Roll dated 31st December 2018

Total on roll : 78

Of which: 
Resident: 6
Non-resident: 72

During 2018 there were:
2 additions to the roll
2 deletions from the roll

In February 2019 the Church commenced a re-formulation of the roll as required every SIX years. The new roll is available at the back of Church and will be presented to the first PCC meeting for approval. Please advise me of any incorrect details such as spelling errors or contact details. Any other alterations, in the form of additions and deletions of names can be made after the PCC meeting in the usual manner. 

Report provided by: Janet M. Bogyor Electoral Roll Officer

PCC AGM 2018 Report

St James The Great

​Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire