Churchwardens’ Report  2019

The Churchwardens’ Official Report is part of the Annual Report & Financial Statements of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) for the year ended 31st December 2019.

As in previous years we are indebted to the very many people who are actively involved in the life of St. James, including once again some new recruits.   A big thank you is due to our clergy, other members of the PCC,  visiting clergy, our organists,members of the various rotas and anyone else involved in any way at all.   People’s time and hard work during the year is greatly appreciated and life at St. James would not run as smoothly as it does without such involvement.   Things do change however and we will always need new volunteers so please speak to us if you can help in any way, or have any ideas you would like to put forward that could improve the way St James operates.

At the start of the year negotiations were completed with a new supplier of electricity after a lengthy period of investigation and some frustration. The change has been both successful and profitable.

The Articles of Enquiry – an annual report covering our activities required by the Diocese – were duly completed and submitted. One question asked how the job of Churchwarden might be improved!  Some PCC members attended a meeting organised by the Deanery and attended by representatives (mainly Treasurers, Churchwardens and/or Clergy) of the churches in the Deanery. At this meeting the Diocesan Director of Finance explained that she was wanting to move away from a formulaic approach for fixing the contributions (“Parish Shares”) that each church makes towards the staff cost of the Deanery and the wider work of the church.  It is hoped that with the appointment of a new Area Dean (early in 2020) matters may now move forward on a better basis than when there was no Area Dean.

At the beginning of July the Deanery Synod held one of their meetings at St. James attended and addressed by Bishop Christopher.   Our Social Committee came up trumps (yet again) and provided some splendid refreshments in the churchyard prior to the meeting, with which participants were clearly delighted.

In the autumn we held a surprise Fire Practice after the Morning Service and we are pleased to report that the congregation evacuated the church in under the required 2.5 minutes, using all three exit doors – and without problems.

Towards the end of the year, under the guidance of Sue Fairhurst, new Churchyard Guidelines were drawn up and we sincerely hope these will ensure clarity for all concerned in the future.

Thank you to all of you for your willingness to help in any way and for encouraging the feeling of goodwill and ‘family’ that continues to exist at St. James.  

Communications APCM Report / 2019

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:

Liz Burkinshaw, Sue Fairhurst, Ali Foster, Sue Frost, Simone Brunson, 

Our Year:

The communications group have met formally twice 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. 

Over the year we have:

Shared all minutes with the PCC
Revised the format of the Parish Magazine
The website reflects current events whilst setting our church within a historical and village context. This is regularly and creatively updated and maintained by Liz, We have received an average of 1169 hits per month; and an annual average of 14431 hits from all over the world.
Managed all the enquires.
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.

Fabric Committee Report for APCM 2019

2019’s ridiculous weather presented us with quite a few challenges, baking hot days and then weeks of rain to the extent that the churchyard path eventually disappeared under a vast muddy puddle, draining the ground and getting some sort of dry all-weather path put down will be a “must-do” for 2020 and beyond. We even had to abandon one of our church yard clearing days and delay work on the tower stone due to the prolonged periods of rain and storms.

Nevertheless, we managed the usual mix of the planned and the unexpected, including

  • the timely repair to our oak Lych gate support, hand rail post, kissing gate rail and gatepost. Andy our “summer-resident” craftsman has done an outstanding job for us. Andy very much enjoys working with us at St James and has done a wonderful job.
  • Installing individual timer switches for the wall heater panels – should show a significant saving in our heating bill
  • the selection of significant church records and their transfer to the Warwick Records Office for archival.
  • a fire drill: the church was completely evacuated in two minutes, all three exits were used and there were no
  • problems, expect the next drill in the 2030s
  • new churchyard fence repairs
  • new inner tube for our rather old wheelchair, windshields on the microphones, new carpet squares, 25 kgs of rock salt and other slightly bizarre items
  • multiple trips to Murleys to get the Hayter mower repaired
  • cutting the grass throughout the year, and holding three churchyard clearing days.

Thanks are due again this year to so many; it is only through the skills and expertise of the craftsmen who come to work at St James, together with the continued support and physical labour of the congregation and other volunteer groups that we are able year on year to meet our responsibility of maintaining St James to the required standards.

As of early 2020 the church and churchyard are in a satisfactory, maybe even good condition. Obviously, there is always maintenance work to be done but the fabric committee feel that we are beginning to get on top of the challenges we face in maintaining an old historic building. We can formally report to the PCC that the fabric of the building is in a satisfactory state of repair and given our maintenance programme, particularly the phased replacement of exterior stonework on the Tower scheduled in three phases over the next five to ten years, we will continue to meet our responsibilities in terms of maintaining the church to the necessary standards.

We are half way through our current quinquennial period and have now addressed all the items highlighted in our 2017 report as being in need of immediate or pressing attention. We are now working through the list of those items still in need of our attention, but at our leisure.

While the church remains clean, dry, light and warmer, the grass cut and the paths swept it is appropriate that we look at providing these functions with an eye to our impact on the environment. While it is early days, we are never the less beginning to investigate how we can run the church in an “eco-friendlier” way. Should we install photovoltaic roof panels and batteries to provide electricity? air to air heat pumps to supplement our heating? set aside grass areas? all these and more ideas are being considered and some or others may come to fruition. Some of these ideas have a significant capital investment and we will need to consider fund raising.

The churchyard clearing days were very well supported this year. It is a wonderful, happy social occasion when so many feel able to give their time to tackling 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.

We formally record that the necessary record keeping, policy updating and risk assessments allocated to the fabric committee have been completed and as required signed off by the PCC.

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.

APCM Safeguarding Report – 2019

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
  • Eight people have completed C1 and C2 training
  • I have run no C0 training 
  • There is no 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
  • Submitted a Safeguarding Action Plan to the Diocese
  • 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 Archdeacon Sue Field at St Marys Church in Leamington Spa
  • Worked with the Assistant Safeguarding Officer for the Diocese - Helen Tebbatt

Social Report 2019

In June we began the social calender with the Synod meeting at St James where we  greeted everyone in the Church Yard in the setting sun with a glass of wine or soft drink and nibbles before the meeting started in Church.

The Patronal Festival was held at the end of July with a lovely Service followed by the most delicious nibbles, wine and soft drinks in Church, its always a happy event with everyone being able to catch up and chat.

Harvest lunch was held on Sunday 29th September, in the end we had a good turnout, and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the meal of Spanish Chicken and Apple Crumble with all the extras.  It was lovely to have Families this year, and a few young.

Nicola again provided the mulled wine and mince pies for the Carol Service which was very well attended , and a good many came back to the Parish Room afterwards, my thanks go to Nicola's generosity.

2020 began full of hope and happiness and then Covid - 19 arrived, which has meant that we had to cancel Lent Lunch, and put our' Thank' you tea party on hold, a new date will be made when we know what is happening, luckily the invitations had not been sent out so we shall just change the date.

I am hoping Patronal will go ahead, but we shall have to wait and see.

My thanks go to everyone on the Social Committee for all your support, delicious food, and making it all such fun.

Worship Report for 2019

The Worship Team consists of our Clergy, Worship Leaders, and representatives of the servers, readers and congregation of St James.

2019 was a ‘quiet’ year, with no major one-off events.  This is a brief overview of our activities for the year.

Our services followed a familiar pattern throughout 2019, 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 similar to the previous year and attendance at major festivals was good. Thanks must go to Anna Trye who organises the rota of visiting clergy and readers for us.

As part of our Easter preparations in 2019, we offered a Bible Reading Booklet Challenge for Lent and also ran a Quiet Day on a Saturday in March based in the Parish Room.

Evensongs took place on the 4th Sunday of the month from May to September at a new time of 6.00pm, with an average attendance of 17.

The monthly Wednesday Worship service has run for over 7 years but numbers have remained static or reduced, and in November 2019 the regular members of the group agreed that it was the right time for this service to stop.  Thanks to Queenie for hosting this through the winter months in recent years.

A family-friendly service was held in June, followed by a picnic in the churchyard, and invitations were sent out to all our young families.  Sadly, attendance was considerably down on the previous year.  However, Mothering Sunday and the Nativity Service in December were both well attended.

We welcomed Ken Lindop back to St James for our Patronal Service in July.

Attendance at the All Souls Service in November, led by Felicity, included a number of people who had come to the 2018 service and had asked to be invited back for 2019.

Christmas services were, as always, well attended.  My thanks go in particular to all those who sang in the choir for our Carol Service, especially to the visitors who come to support us on an annual basis and to Mike King for playing the organ for us again this year.

Occasional Offices (baptisms, weddings and funerals) offer us good opportunities to make links with new people.  2019 was a fairly quiet year for all of these:  we baptised 7 children, married 2 couples and there were 2 church funerals, 2 crematorium funerals, 1 burial and 3 interments of ashes during the year.

Music:  We introduced a few more new hymns to our repertoire during the year.  We are very grateful to all our organists who share their musical skills with us and to Sally Dunn for the excellent job she does in ensuring that we have someone to play for each service.  
Felicity and Sue hold regular services at both Helen Ley and Priors House.  There is a service of Holy Communion at Helen Ley twice a month and Priors House is visited twice monthly, once to hold a communion service and once to meet and chat to residents.  A Harvest with Remembrance service took place at Helen Ley, an All Souls service at Priors House and Carol Services were held at both places in 2019.

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.  

The monthly Coffee and Chat morning in the Village Hall is going well, with a regular attendance of about 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 breadth and variety of our worship is a great strength but it 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 2019

Only a small number of children regularly attend Sunday Club meetings at the moment, but those that do come are enthusiastic and a joy to be with.  Thank you to 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 2019 we focused on the story of Moses in the Old Testament and on stories about Jesus life, including his ‘I am’ sayings.  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.

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 privilege to be part of the children’s ongoing journey of faith.  Thank you to the whole congregation for their welcome, encouragement and support of our young people.

APCM Deanery Synod Report for 2019

Deanery Synod is an institution within the Church of England and other Anglican churches. A deanery synod is a synod convened by the Rural Dean (or Area Dean) and/or the Joint Lay Chair of the Deanery Synod, who is elected by the elected lay members. It consists of all clergy licensed to a benefice within the deanery, plus elected lay members.  

The Deanery Synod serves as an electoral college to various bodies, including the General Synod, Diocesan Synod and Area Councils. Area Deans. An Area Dean is an officer of the bishop. They are joint chairs of their deanery synod along with the lay vice chair.

The Area Deans’ duties include: 

The care of vacant parishes
Convening the deanery chapter
Caring for the clergy of the deanery.

The delegates represent all parishes within Warwick and Leamington Spa deanery.  There are 64 delegates who meet regularly throughout the year.

The group was chaired by the Area Dean, Father Stephen Parker, accompanied by Deputy Area Dean, Rev Diane Thompson. 

There has been throughout the year a vacancy for Lay Chair.

During the year the Deanery Synod met four times and the agenda included: 

News and views from around the parishes
Parish share updates and discussion
Speakers of interest including:

  • St Michaels Church, Budbrooke, Warwick, Luke Thomas, Acceler8 Programme
  • All Saints Church,  Warwick, Tim Mitchell - Healthy Churches Development Mentor, The current progress of the 8eqs strategy
  • St James Church, Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Bishop Christopher, Mutual Flourishing followed by questions from the floor
  • St Chads Centre, Bishop Tachbrook, Leamington Spa, Rev Elaine Scrivens, Reflections of her recent visit to Kapsabet, Kenya

Electoral Roll Report for 2019

In February 2019 St James commenced a re-formulation of the Electoral Roll, as required by the church of England every seven years.  The old roll effectively ceased on 9th March and a new roll was formulated and approved by the PCC.

Through the process of revision of the Electoral Roll, 11 names were deleted, reflecting those who had moved away from the parish or no longer attended regularly.  The names of 16 people who regularly attend worship at St James were added.

At 31st December 2019, the number on the Electoral Roll was 86, of whom 6 were resident in the parish and 80 were non-resident

PCC AGM 2019 Report

St James The Great

​Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire