Reports

Note: Vicars Reports are issued for the previous year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) This took place on Sunday 7th April 2019.

Vicar’s Report on 2018  

Parish Prayer 

Lord, help us to take our eyes off ourselves and turn them to the community around us, so we are less concerned with what we have done than what remains to be done.  Save us from being a parish that is too inward looking. May our vision be enlarged, our strength renewed and our love for you and your children inspire us to do great things for your glory. We ask this in the name of Christ our Lord. 

Parish vision statement 

The people of St Pauls love God, St Paul’s church and the local community and seek to serve all three. We will accept and welcome in all who want to be part of Gods kingdom, all who want to learn more. We will seek to be an inclusive God centred church which takes seriously Jesus command to ‘go out and make disciples of all people’ 

Our attitude will be one of prayerfulness and service, and we will do what we can to share the treasure of the Gospel message with all who we have contact with.  

We will seek to be an active presence in the community and serve it through local initiatives both in and outside the church.  We will take seriously our duty to care for the world and its resources seeking to maintain our presence in the community by careful use of our resources. 

Report for APCM 2019 on the year 2018  

First I will give you some basics from the year 2018

There were three funerals and one memorial service 

Olive Oultram 19th April, Jeff Cooke on 27th April both of whom were regular church members, Carol Gent on May 1st whose family have connections to St Paul’s and so chose it for her service. The memorial service was for Chris Haigh and was held on December 15th again there were family connections to this church. 

We pause for a moment to remember them…..and also remember Joyce Littlewood. Bernard Kelly, David Cannon and Jennifer Meade- Deans who died this year.    

 ‘Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and Rise in Glory’ Amen 

There were 8 Baptisms in 2018, the same as 2017 but there were no confirmations, hopefully there will be 3 this year and they will be on Pentecost Sunday at the  service at St Martin’s at 5 pm.    

There were 4 weddings in 2018, the one with most connections to the church was that of Julie and Joe, Hilary Moore’s daughter and part time member of our choir.     

The biggest wedding was that of Tolani and Ebuwa who had over 500 guests many in traditional African dress and it was quite an event with their own minister preaching and their own church band playing, mostly African, music.  And we were clearing up sequins from the dresses for several weeks after!  

Services 

Our regular weekly services were attended by an average of 10 at the Midweek communion service, 9 at the 8.30, am BCP Sunday service, 8 at Evensong in the early part of the year and ten at the moment.  

Overall there is a slight decrease in Evensong attendance and it may now be time to rethink this service. 

The main 10 am Sunday service is also again down this year with an average of 50, but again as last year festival services are mostly showing small increases. 

Sadly junior church has been very much depleted and there is currently little formal Sunday school work and this is an area of concern. 

We do have children join us at various services in the year such as Harvest, Mothering Sunday and Christingle But we really need to think about what we can do to encourage children and young families and it may mean some radical thinking.  

We joined as usual with churches together for 5th Sunday in the month evening services and for Pentecost and Christian unity week services. We also had a joint venture at Lent with Myself and Fr Shaun going out into the community for Ashes on Ash Wednesday and polishing shoes on Maundy Thursday. And we worked with St Joseph’s for the Christmas Crib blessing.

I want to thank all those who work hard to make sure our worship is the best it can be those who read, lead, pray, sing or play the organ for us. 

Social 

In 2018 we had our usual round of social and festivals with the addition of Sale Remembers. It was an event that took nearly two years to plan and was an enormous success. It was organised by several teams one for each area of the event, Publicity and overall practical organisation. the Music and entertainment programme, the Liturgy, the Display and the catering. All of which were essential elements and I am happy to say that despite a few problems along the way the event was a great success and it is still talked about at events and meetings I go to now nearly 6 months later. 

People in the community were very pleased that St Pauls took the lead in marking the end of the first World war 100 years ago even more pleased than they were than when we marked the start of it in 2014. – maybe you recall the bells ringing out  at 11pm just as our silence ended and the last light, a small candle by the font was extinguished.  There were several community groups involved in Sale Remembers and all were pleased to have been involved. I am not going to try to thank all the individuals involved by name as there were so many of them but I will just say thank you to the team leaders Anne, Eileen, Carole and Lisa. Your hard work really showed just what St Paul’s church is capable of doing to serve God, and the community. 

Serving the community is a major part of our work and we do it well with the Babes and Tots, the community choir, the Men’s society, the Tuesday group and with the space and support we offer to music groups such as Oriental Breeze, and the Sale Chamber Orchestra and with the support we give to local schools who come here to learn about the church and about Christianity. We also have good relationships with many people in the local community who while not overtly Christian are in sympathy with our aims and who support events such as the a Christmas grotto, the Pancake party and the harvest gift collection. 

We have continued to support the community through our charitable works such as Mustard Tree, the Foodbank, Christian Aid, and the children’s hospice, and we joined with 7 other local churches to set up a Debt counselling service under the auspices of Christians Against Poverty. It has been a long time in the planning and there were a few difficulties along the way but finally it will be launched on 16th May. 

A lot of hard work and effort goes in to all those groups and initiatives I and the Church wardens do thank those who put the hard work in week by week.  

And I want to thank my churchwardens Harry and Yvonne and church officers and sidespeople for their work. 

Now instead of talking about the past I want to think a little about the future 

Plans 

This year should be the last year of our five year plan but the PCC having discussed it have decided to support me in moving from that plan now rather than wait until the full five years are up and in reducing the six area teams that the plan would have generated to four.

So from this year there will be four team leaders who will take on the day to day responsibility of particular areas of church life.   

Worship and Liturgy will be led my myself,  

Buildings and grounds by Brian Kerridge, 

Social and mission by Carole Shakeshaft,
Administration and Finance by Lisa Clarke. 

Those four people will oversee the work there is to be done in each area. The PCC will remain as it legally must the decision and policy making body and those people will bring to the PCC any concerns and recommendations or suggestions they may have which will help keep the church running smoothly and effectively. 

The team leaders will not be able to do all the work that is on the long list each of them has, they will rather call meetings and draw people in as they feel they are needed to get the work done. Each will have a month by month diary of the regular jobs and will be able to offer support and encouragement to those who do the work. 

The teams 

1 Buildings and grounds. 

The Building team have already really got to grips with what we need to do to keep our buildings fit for purpose producing work and maintenance schedules. Their current workload includes work on the high level gutters, new cushions for the pews the installation of 3 memorials, further work on the garden and the Link corridor outside door.  

2 Social and Mission 

This team already has the usual round of Pancake party, Santa’s grotto, afternoon teas, Harvest supper and Heritage day to organise and may also add in other events some with a more mission minded focus. 

3 Administration and Finance. 

This team will have a list of all that needs doing in the church year and will try to ensure that there are people doing it. It is a team that will ensure we keep up to date with new legislation and that we have up to date policies in all required areas. Sadly it is a growing task to ensure that the scheduled jobs including legal obligations, are adhered to, for instance did you know that the rules regarding kitchens mean we should be displaying the ingredients of all the food we serve  so that people can see at a glance if it contains anything they might be allergic to.   

And alongside the legal obligations are Church of England and Diocesan church regulations and local PCC work such as policies and procedures to get done on time and as well as possible. It is very much a growing area, there are a lot more legal regulations and boundaries that we have to adhere to these days. To help everyone’s awareness of this Karen who is our designated GDPR (General Data Protection regulation) officer has offered to tell us more about it one Sunday morning.    

The Admin team will be able to provide an overview of all that needs to be done in the parish for anyone who needs to take over ‘running’ the parish for any reason such as an interregnum.  

4 Liturgy and Worship 

This team will be responsible for worship, both regular and festivals, and also for such things a Bible study groups and spiritual development. 

Last year I spoke about my having changed from full to part time work and this has continued this year. I do work quite a few more hour than I am contracted to do and I don’t mind that. But my hope is that the 4 new teams will be able to cover more of the routine and admin work so that if the person who comes after me cannot do extra hours the work will still get done. 

Now a few General comments 

Finances 

The rents we have from the church hall have helped us to be in surplus again this year but we are not out of the woods and our finances are not healthy we cannot afford a full time minister or fund the repairs we would like to do to the church. 

The PCC did decide to set aside some money each month to build up in a fund toward the cost of church repairs as we did with the church hall three years ago. But should anything become in urgent need of repair it would very likely wipe out that very small fund and all our available assets. And we do still owe the Diocese 92k in unpaid parish share. 

Pastoral work

I am aware that there is a lot of informal pastoral work going on in the parish as people help and support each other and that there is a lot of pastoral work done by the licensed ministers and am grateful for all that work, indeed for all the work done both Readers and Pastoral workers. 

 Decline or growth ? 

St Paul’s like a lot of churches is experiencing a slow decline in numbers resulting in fewer regular attenders and an ageing congregation, many of whom feel they are no longer able to do as much church work as they once did, thus we are finding  it difficult to find people to do jobs such as support the Babes and Tots group or to take on roles such as secretary. 

It means we are getting closer to needing to make a choice, either we carry on just as we are and expect the decline to continue until the church can no longer function or we make a real effort to grow. 

I would prefer to see growth but am very aware that that might mean some major changes in worship of both timings and style and would no doubt be very difficult to both manage and for some to accept.

It is the case that at the moment the churches that are experiencing most growth have a more informal style that ours and in the main of a more evangelical nature than St Paul’s. 

I am not suggesting we ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ but we do need to have some serious discussions over the coming year and some difficult choices will have to be made.

I would ask that people pray hard about this problem, it is a very serious one and pray that we all have the grace to realise that it is not our will but God’s will we need to seek for the sake of the Kingdom as well as for our part of it. 

It might be that we let this church decline, even die, in order for future new shoots to appear or it might be that we search out the new shoots and nurture them, allowing our own preferences to die in order to feed the new growth. 

I will end by saying Thank you to all who work hard and pray hard to make St Paul’s the welcoming church it is and for the support and friendship I have been shown here. Particularly the prayers and help offered in the last four months. 

The other reports for 2018 appear below

Pastoral Worker – Karen,  Pastoral Worker – Yvonne,  Music, Trustees and Website,

Deanery Synod,  Children’s Society, Tuesday Group,  Men’s Society,  Safeguarding,

Social Committee,  Hall Bookings,  Mustard Tree,  Babes and Tots,  Kids Rock

PASTORAL WORKER REPORT – Karen

Pastoral1aPastoral1b

PASTORAL WORKER REPORT – Yvonne

Pastoral2

PARISH MUSIC

Music

TRUSTEES AND WEBSITE

TrusteesWeb

Deanery Synod

Synod1Synod2

CHILDREN’S SOCIETY

ChildSoc1ChildSoc2

TUESDAY GROUP

Tuesday

MEN’S SOCIETY

MensSoc

SAFEGUARDING

SafeGuard1SafeGuard2

SOCIAL COMMITTEE

Social1Social2

HALL BOOKINGS

Hall

MUSTARD TREE

Mustard

BABES AND TOTS

Babes1Babes2

KIDS ROCK

KidsRock

Note: Vicars Reports are issued for the previous year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) This took place on Sunday 22nd April 2018.

Vicar’s Report on 2017

Parish Prayer 

Lord, help us to take our eyes off ourselves and turn them to the community around us, so we are less concerned with what we have done than what remains to be done.  Save us from being a parish that is too inward looking. May our vision be enlarged, our strength renewed and our love for you and your children inspire us to do great things for your glory. We ask this in the name of Christ our Lord. 

Parish vision statement 

The people of St Pauls love God, St Paul’s church and love the local community and seek to serve all three. We will accept and welcome in all who want to be part of Gods kingdom, all who want to learn more.  We will seek to be an inclusive God centred church which takes seriously Jesus command to ‘go out and make disciples of all people’ 

Our attitude will be one of prayerfulness and service, and we will do what we can to share the treasure of the Gospel message with all who we have contact with.  

We will seek to be an active presence in the community and serve it through local initiatives both in and outside the church.  We will take seriously our duty to care for the world and its resources seeking to maintain our presence in the community by careful use of our resources. 

Report for APCM 2018 on the year 2017  

In 2017 we continued to consolidate rather than start new initiatives, but there was also some growth, with several new and very welcome members among the congregation. We continued to work on the outside garden area which is still a work in progress but is looking so much better – our thank go to Brian and the Saturday garden team who work so hard to keep the garden looking good. The other work we have had done this year was the Choir vestry, thanks to David Allan and those who helped him it is looking great and we can now hold small meetings in there.   

The only place in the hall not refurbished is the office but at the moment that is OK. 

The hall is well used though one tenant the Monday evening Balagokulum group left during the year as they needed to find bigger premises, they were sad to go and very complimentary about the hall and about the people they met here. It does mean there is a time slot free on Monday evenings 6.30 – 7.30, The only other free night is Friday, which it was decided should be kept free for church use only rather than outside rentals.  

The extra rents we have managed to secure over the last 2 years are beginning to pay dividends and have helped toward making us much more financially stable. This is the first year for many years we have ended the year with surplus. But that doesn’t mean we can become complacent as the finances are still precarious, the parish  can’t afford a full time minister, and we do still owe 92K to the diocese in unpaid parish share. 

 The church building has not had a lot of work done in the last few years and one of our ongoing concerns is the high level gutters. Sadly we were again turned down for a Lottery heritage grant towards the cost  although the work really needs doing and our application was very good, thanks to Brian Kerridge and those who helped with the application Our church building is not in a poor enough condition to win grant help at this time. We will need to continue to try to find funding for this job as year on year the problem will get worse and there is also a growing problem with the high level clerestory windows. The inside of the church is also starting to look as if it would benefit from redecorating but there is little point in doing inside work until the gutters and windows are fixed. 

There has been some minor work this year in the church, there has been a new notice board at the back, a new case for the Old M.U. banner which will be fixed into the church and we are in the process of buying new cushions for the pews which will make them much more comfortable to sit on! 

The other work in the church this year was to install the WW1 Memorial tablet from the Sale Evangelical church which was demolished. The tablet was cleaned, some old paint removed and installation completed in time for a planned Churches Together service in July which was then used as a service of formally handing over the tablet and of remembering those who were named on it. Many thanks go to Michael Riley and Lisa Clarke for all the hard work and research they did to make sure that was a very special occasion. 

We have in 2017 continued to work on our 5 year plan. 

Next year will be the last year of the plan which has resulted in 6 teams to oversee various areas of the churches work. The areas are Administration, Finance, Social and fellowship, Mission and outreach, Buildings and Worship and Liturgy. 

The teams aim to meet three times a year to organise their area then they oversee the work being done in their area, encouraging as many members of the congregation as possible to get involved in ensuring the success of the projects they undertake. 

Some areas of the plan have been more successful than others.

The Building team have really got to grips with what we need to do to keep our buildings fit for purpose producing work and maintenance schedules which, as long as we keep to them, will ensure the building stays fit for purpose for the foreseeable future. Thanks again to Brian and the building team. And thanks to all those who clean and polish the church to keep it looking cared about and welcoming.  

If anyone can help with that they are invited to join one of the 4 cleaning teams which are on duty one month in 4. Or to have a chat with myself or Michael in his capacity as verger to see what jobs need doing.    

The Social and fellowship team have also been very successful ensuring that we have a balance of events for all ages and interests, from the Pancake party and children’s events such as the Santa’s grotto, which Kids Rock also help with, to afternoon teas and supporting events such as the Community choir concerts, to organising the Harvest supper and the Heritage day and grateful thanks to go Carol and Michael and those who help in that area for their work.

The Worship and liturgy team is also working well, meeting to organise and then reflect on particular seasons such as Christmas and Easter and to plan the yearly calendar of both festival and ordinary services. Thanks in this area go to Anne Allen, and the ministry team. 

The areas that still need quite a bit of attention are Finance, Administration and  Mission and outreach. 

With Finance all is in order but a small team to support the treasurer by looking at such things as budgeting and best value suppliers would be most helpful. If you could help with this please let me know.   

With Administration we have not yet been able to find anyone who would be willing to take on some to the regular routine work for about 4 hours each week and the Admin ‘bible’ I am producing still has a few missing documents but is nearly there!  And hopefully will then provide an overview of all that needs to be done in the parish for anyone who needed to take over ‘running’ the parish for any reason such as an interregnum, and to ensure that the scheduled jobs including legal obligations, Church of England and Diocesan church requirements and local work such as policies and procedures get done on time and as well as possible.  If any of you have the name of someone who could help in this area please ask them to make contact with me.    

In the area of Mission and outreach there has been little progress and I do think this is at the moment both the weakest area, and the one that needs most work, if the church is to flourish. 

We have started to address this with the SHAPE course, which will hopefully soon start to bear fruit and with the coming Setting Gods People Free initiative,. There has also been the joint outreach work between ourselves and St Martin’s at Christmas and in Lent and Holy week. 

If you can help or want to get involved in any of the 6 areas please let me know. They are not closed groups and the more people involved the better.  

Each team has at least 2 PCC members on it who report back to the PCC who are the decision making body. The work of the teams is to support the work of the PCC and the vicar and to help ensure the future well being of the church community.  

Next I will give you some basics from the year 2017

There were 11 funerals, 6 at St Pauls and 5 at the Crematorium one of those a former Community choir member Jean Idowu, and with the other 4, two of the families had  connections to St Paul’s and 2 were living in the parish at the time of their deaths. 

Of the 6 in church 1 was a family who have traditionally held family funerals here, 1 was a member of the now demolished evangelical church and the other 4 were members of the congregation Olwyn Sanger, Jane Armstrong, Cynthia Banks and Doris Campbell. The funeral of another member of the congregation also took place in 2017 that of Muriel Becket.    

We pause for a moment to remember them…..and also Olive Oultram and Jeff Cook 

 ‘Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and Rise in Glory’ Amen 

There were 8 Baptisms in 2017, less than half the previous year but that had been an unusually high number. And 2017 reflects the more usual numbers from previous years   

As there were no Confirmation candidates in 2017 Bishop Peter instead came to preach and lead a Eucharist which was well received and which he later wrote to me to say he had enjoyed very much.  

There were no weddings in the year. 

Our regular weekly services were attended by an average of 10 at the Midweek communion service, 9 at the 8.30, BCP Sunday service, 10 at Evensong in the early part of the year with an improvement in the later part of the year when we started to hold joint evensongs on the 4th Sunday of the month with people from St Martins, those services have averaged 18 people. These  numbers have been stable for the last 4 years and hopefully will remain so or even increase.

 The main 10 am main Sunday service is down a little with an average of 52, but festival services are showing small increases year on year which is pleasing, we now need to work out how to get folk to come back on ordinary Sundays.   

Our junior church has been depleted and there is currently little formal Sunday school work and this is an area of concern but I am grateful to those who continue to prepare work and who are always ready to step up and work with the children who do attend. So thank you David, Rachel, Ann and Tilly for all the work put in. 

At that service there are several people who have recently agreed to lead prayers and read lessons so thank you them. It is always good to have a variety of voices leading a service and I do thank those who help lead or occasionally preach. And I thank Yvonne Stevenson for producing the rotas.  

Our services are also very much enhanced by our music and thanks go to Anne and her team for the hard work they put in each year. And I ask that they would pass on my thanks to those who come and sing with them on special occasions, their support is much appreciated. 

Our family service used to be on 3rd Sunday then last year we tried moving it to the 2nd as that was when we had more children in church, however this has not had the effect we hoped and this is an area where we need to think again. We do have children join us at various services in the year such as Harvest, Mothering Sunday and Christingle.  But we need to look more closely at what we can do to attract them and young families more often. Though we do have some very loyal young families who worship regularly with us.  

Our evening services have continued with a Tazie style service on the first Sunday and evensong on the others, This year as I said we have been joined on the 4th Sunday by Fr Shaun people from St Maritn’s which has been very enjoyable. Fr Shaun also provided material for a special Palm Sunday evening service. 

We joined as usual with churches together for 5th Sunday in the month evening services and for Pentecost and Christian unity week services.   

There were two sets of Bible study in the year, a Pilgrim course then the SHAPE course which I am hoping will soon start to affect our outreach work.   

We have had the usual round of social events, concerts, discos, afternoon teas and of course heritage day with continues to go from strength to strength and is a popular day in the Sale calendar not just in the church. My thanks go to Carol, Michael and all who help make the social life of the church so successful.   

I want to name and thank a few particular people for the work they do. There is Clive who does all sorts of work often work that does not get noticed unless it is not done such as moving chairs about and making sure notice boards are up to date. 

I also want to thank Clive, Brian Walker, Brenda Remond and Anne Morris for the work they did for Babes and Tots keeping that group working well and thanks to others have helped with refreshments over the year. 

I want to thank Paula and John for the work they do for the Community Choir and the others who help with accompanying the Choir and with refreshments 

I want to thank Eileen for her role as church hall booking officer for the sterling work she does to ensure the smooth running of the hall. 

I also want to thank Eileen and Joyce and the refreshment team, those who step up sometimes with little notice and organise food and drink for our various events. 

 I want to thank Joyce and Carol for the flowers which do enhance the church and services and for willingly going along with any ideas from me such as Christmas trees on the window ledges. 

A lot of Pastoral work happens in this parish. As you will see from their reports in the booklet Karen Salisbury and Yvonne Kerridge both do a lot of behind the scenes work, and while it is not seen in church it does give us a very good local profile.  Each has a different focus for their ministry, Yvonne on working with individuals and Karen with groups, both give a lot of time and energy to the church and I am grateful for all the work they do.

I want to thank Michael for all he does as Reader, leading services covering for me when I am away and for his support to myself and St Pauls and the wider community. 

And thanks to Ann Morris for her work as Reader Emeritus, sadly her health has now restricted her work and some jobs such as reading lessons, intercession and  Babes and Tots she is to step down from at least for while. 

 The regular church groups, the Men’s society, the Tuesday group and the Badminton groups have met during the year and thanks to those who keep them going.  

I want to thank those who oversee our charitable works including Anita with Christian Aid and Diana looking after the Saturday coffee mornings which fundraise for the children’s hospice. 

Eileen and Joyce for the work with the Mustard tree and thanks to those who volunteer with the foodbank.  

I want to thank my churchwardens Harry and Rob for they work they do and the PCC, and church officers and sidespeople for their work. 

Rob did start reader training in 2017 but due to health reasons had to defer it, but will carry on with it as soon as possible.

Tilly who also did the Foundations course is to start work soon at the Christian centre in Partington and I thank her for her work raising our Social media profile  and wish her success in her new Job. 

Last year I changed to part time hours and though it does mean I have some more free time I am currently averaging 45 hours a week. And there are some jobs which keep getting pushed to the bottom of the list. It had been hoped to find an admin worker to help with routine stuff but after several months of trying no one came forward either as a volunteer or paid worker and this does mean in effect that my workload is really the same as before and that some work will simply take much longer to get around to.  Long term it is not a sustainable situation and unless the parish can either find help or find the finances to support a full time vicar I fear it may become a very difficult post to fill when I eventually retire. 

There is already a shortage of clergy and in some places talk of readers being put in charge of parishes and buying in clergy for sacramental services, and also talk of Readers being invited to retrain as permanent Deacons and then leading churches again buying in for the sacramental work.  In the short term I will be here and am ok with working the hours I do, but the parish and PCC need to be aware that will not always be so and so need to be thinking hard about possible solutions. 

This year has been as I said one of consolidation with a little growth a ‘steadying of the ship’ as it were and hopefully preparing for a concerted  effort for growth over the next few years. The highlights of the year for me have been the Art exhibition in late September a new and hopefully to be repeated venture, maybe tri-annually, Churches together outing to Liverpool in June and The Service in July when we accepted the memorial tablet.    

I want to end by saying 

Thank you to all who work hard and pray hard to make St Paul’s the welcoming church it is and for the support and friendship I have been shown here.