THE BEAUTY, THE PLANNING AND THE JOY
Last year I wrote in the magazine about how lovely the Mothering Sunday flowers were and what a nice gesture it always is to receive them in Church, from the hands of the children. This year was no different, receiving such a lovely posy, however it got me thinking about the flowers in Church … generally.
We especially notice the floral displays at the ‘Special Festivals’ during the year, yet don’t always appreciate the hard work that goes into arranging them, ’just so!’ Sunday by Sunday. Then the thought occurred to me; are these weekly flowers really noticed? Are they appreciated?
So I would love to take this opportunity to thank all those talented ladies who regularly arrange the flowers throughout the parish, making our beautiful Churches even nicer places to be.
So next time you are in church, find a moment to appreciate the work of the person who has created a lovely piece of artwork in the arrangement of the flowers.
By Peter Rosser
tackle many of the outstanding repair jobs in the parish to ensure that both our churches are in as good a physical condition as we can manage, consequently £12,000 was spent on the fabric of the buildings within the year. This covers most of the items listed for action in the last buildings review carried out by the Diocese. We were lucky to receive grants of £6,300 towards this cost and we are grateful to Vicar’s Warden Jean O’Keefe for all the hard work done in applying for these grants.
Since the accounts were finalised we have repaired drains in St David’s and we have received grants of £3,000 which will allow us to replace the fascia boards in St Timothy’s. We are now almost in a position to redecorate the long outstanding task of decorating the interior of St David’s.
Unfortunately the grants we secured did not cover the full costs of the building works, so we supported the work from other sources, mainly rental income from St Tim’s and from the normal income of weekly offerings.
Rental income over the years, has risen from £3,600 in 2015 to £6,645 in 2016, such and increase mainly due to the regular use of St Timothy’s by our Pentecostal friends, ‘Forward In Faith’.
We gave £30,821 to the parish in 2016 – from Gift Direct, weekly envelopes and loose collections. This is unfortunately down by 4.33% on what we gave in 2015.
From this we also had to pay the utility costs for both churches (£8,329). Energy costs are down by £900 compared to 2015 as we continue to benefit from being part of a Diocesan-wide energy–buying group.
A big thank you to all of you who have organised fund-raising activities. These raised £3,091 in 2016 (2015: £3,301) including £800 from the virtual fair, £750 from Pauline’s Strawberry Tea and £788 from Wednesday coffee mornings at St David’s.
As well as covering our costs in the year we were also able to support a wide range of charities (details of which will be published by Karen in the monthly magazine, in due course). It is so nice to be able to say that although we are often in receipt of gifts to our parish, we in turn gave £1,840 to various charities over the year (2015 £1,856). This is about 6% of the total money we gave to the parish in the year.
In looking forward to 2017, (can it really be May already), we can conclude that we most certainly will continue to face financial challenges but I am sure that we will overcome these, if we continue to work together as a parish.
|Parish Accounts – Financial Highlights|
|Major sources of income:||2016||2015|
|What we gave by envelopes, Gift Direct and Sunday collections||£ 27,124||£28,980|
|Fees for weddings and funerals||£ 10,045||£ 9,530|
|Rent received||£6,645||£ 3,615|
|Collections at weddings etc||£ 3,697||£ 3,235|
|Fund-raising events||£ 3,091||£3,301|
|Grants received||£ 6,800||£nil|
|What we spent money on:|
|Share commitment to Diocese||£ 34,041||£33,465|
|Keeping our buildings safe and warm||£ 9,500||£ 11,350|
|Major repairs||£ 12,235||£nil|
|What we gave to support others:|
|Donations to charity||£ 1,840||£1,856|
The Briefest of Summaries:
The basic running costs of our churches over the year 2016 was £53,000.
This is the cost of keeping our buildings warm, our share commitment, altar supplies etc .
It doesn’t include major repairs or money we spend on nice things like flowers
What is the ‘Share’ that is paid out each month?
How much money does the parish get from the Diocese?
Does the government pay the vicar’s salary?
Who pays to repair our church buildings?
It is quite important that we in the parish should be aware of how funding for our Parish works; it can be a tricky area to discuss, however everyone really should have some awareness.
Do you realise that the ‘Church Authority’ (The Church in Wales … The Diocese… or any other organisation) doesn’t provide funds for us to do the work of the church; the work of our Faith? It is in fact quite the opposite! We, the Parish, are required to pay each and every month, £2,836.75 to the Church in Wales, and this is known as paying our ‘Share’. This payment goes towards the overall cost of the salaries and pensions of the clergy throughout the CinW and also contributes towards the costs of administration in the CinW.
Our Share must be provided from the income that we ’earn’, that is from our weekly donations (collections), surplice fees (payments received when the vicar officiates at weddings and funerals), legacies, other donations and fund raising activities.
Of course we are also responsible for our own gas, electricity and water bills and are also charged with the care and maintenance of the ‘fabric’ and structure of our parish buildings.
This is a major commitment, undertaken not simply to keep our church in good order, but as a physical and outward expression of our love for God. By doing all these things, we are witnessing our faith to all those in society around us and importantly, ensuring that we are able to pass on to our children, and our children’s children, a strong, vibrant and living faith. On the page following, Peter Rosser gives a breakdown of our finances for 2016.
The Lent Lunches this year were really successful and raised a considerable sum of money for Christian Aid.
The Parish would like to thank all those who attended and supported these lunches, the kitchen staff and the ‘waitresses’.
Grateful thanks also to those who donated the food.
We need to give a big thank you to the members of St Peter’s Church, Fairwater, as their kitchen is being upgraded and is ‘out of commission’ and they were kind enough to support our Lent Lunches at St Timothy’s.
NOTE: The Treasurer has just confirmed that Lent lunches this year were absolutely astounding, raising £636.58…
If we compare this to 2016 when £281 was raised and 2015 when we raised £240, it is amazing! I wonder if we will do as well next year?!
These funds will go directly to Christian Aid… Exactly where the need is greatest!
We have a new bishop!
‘About time too!’ you might say… Well, that’s true, but it’s with great joy that we welcome June Osborne as the next Bishop of our Diocese. June will be consecrated at Brecon Cathedral on the 15th of July, and will begin her ministry with us after that date. She is a person of great faith and learning, and has experience of being a senior leader in the Church (she is currently Dean of Salisbury Cathedral).
What is a Bishop?
In the New Testament, the first Bishops were the twelve apostles whom Jesus made leaders of His Church. These apostles soon needed to appoint others to carry on their work, as the early Church grew. The Bible calls these leaders ‘episkipoi’ (which means ‘guardians’ or ‘overseers’ – it’s where we get the name ‘episcopal’ from). Like Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians, we Anglicans are an ‘Episcopal’ Church, i.e., a Church that is led and governed by bishops. Scottish Anglicans call themselves ‘the Episcopal Church of Scotland’.
Although the presence of Bishops in this part of Wales goes right back to the very earliest Christian communities established here, the first person to refer to himself as ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ was Urban (his Welsh name was Gwrgan) in 1107. June will be the seventy second Bishop of Llandaff, and that’s an important point to understand.
One, Holy, Catholic
We Anglicans claim to be part of the ‘One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’. That means that we claim to be Catholic Christians in a Catholic Church. We are not Roman Catholics, as our sister and brother Christians under the direct leadership of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, but we are catholics – anglican catholics – united with them by the same scriptures, creeds and, most importantly, Living Saviour, Jesus.
Catholic Churches are led by bishops who trace their line all the way back to the apostles. In saying that, June is the 72nd Bishop of Llandaff, we are saying that the faith she will teach, guard, confirm and ordain is essentially the same faith as that of Urban, the first bishop of Llandaff, and the same faith as that of the Apostles, the first Christian bishops.
The fully grown oak tree does not look the same as an acorn, but the one comes from the other, and in fact is the other. Since that first group of Jewish fishermen, tax collectors and rebels announced to the world that Jesus is the world’s true King, that He died and rose again to save us all, the Church has developed and evolved in so many ways. But, it is the same Church proclaiming the same faith and celebrating the same sacraments of love and good news.
That our bishops don’t speak the same or look the same as the ones who came thousands of years before is irrelevant; what matters is that they teach the same unchanging Christian good news about Jesus. That is what June will do, and in this she will have our love, prayers, loyalty and welcome.
As we look back over the last year, I am so grateful. I am full of gratitude for all the ways that we in St David’s and St Timothy’s continue to proclaim Jesus as King, to worship, to pray and to show love to our community.
As we do this with more than our full share of burdens, troubles, ill health – mine, again included – and, again so many bereavements. We’ve had the deaths of dear, faithful and generous parishioners like Rita Somers and Raye Clutton. These were parishioners who came Sunday on Sunday, ‘hell or high water’ and who gave us so much time in our parish (in time, prayer and money). Fo others among us, grief has come to close family and friends. The twelve months or so that has passed between this Eastertide and last years has been bitterly hard.
And yet, despite all the ways life can be so hard, here we are, strong in the faith, standing as living signs that there truly is overwhelmingly compassionate, loving good news at the heart of this life. Its why there really are so many good things happening and so many good people making those good things happen in our church family. I know that you do it all for God, and so I am not here to thank you personally, it’s nothing to do with me and everything to do with you and how you live out your own response to God’s call and God’s love.
So my gratitude is a celebration of the loving commitment to Christ that we see in our parish. We celebrate the dedication of our Parish wardens, Stephen Adams, Jean O’Keefe, Jacquie Snook and Gayle Hook; I personally could not have asked for more faithful, humble, get on with the job, roll up your sleeves, no fuss, no drama fellow church workers. We celebrate the work of Karen, our secretary and Peter our treasurer without whose hours of tireless commitment to our parish we could not practically function. Nicola plays and sings her heart out each week adding so much depth to our worship. Our Sunday school workers at St Timothys and St David’s do such amazing work, especially in very trying circumstances (the phrase about tins and sardines in St Davids comes to mind with the number of children in our Vestry).
Messy church is now well into its 3rd year. This is not a marginal activity, but a core expression of who we are as a christian family. It requires so much planning and work but it is so worthwhile. Through Messy churchwe touch families and children in new ways with the Good news of Jesus. We have no option but to fully engage with this type of Evangalism and outreach. Many people now come from 3rd or 4th generations of families who have had virtually no exposure to the Christian story. Church on a Sunday morning alone cannot baptise new generations into the core basics of the Christian message. So I celebrate things like Messy church which does this through art, craft, songs and shared food. Well done for your support for this.
And I of course celebrate the work of gardeners, cleaners, dishwashers, and all the hands that do the unglamorous but wholly necassary work that keeps us alive and well as a community.
One of the greatest humanitarian challenges since the second world war came to Ely last summer. Three refugee Syrian families came here under the governments own resettlement of vulnerable persons scheme. I want to congratulate the high generosity of so many of you towards them, especially Barbara Cuddihy who has led our pastoral response (friendship, hugs and cups of tea, practical help). Many others amongst you have also dug deep into your pockets to help. Please contine to pray for refugees and asylum seekers in our community. There are so many forces at work who want to spread lies and misinformation about them. Come and see – come and meet their children, listen to their stories of bombs and grief and loss beyond imagining. I know that many of us are finding it hard to make ends meet here in Ely, but most of us have circles of friends and family who are there to reach out. Do tell people that as a church we will respond to any request for help, friendship, support, from anyone. Its what we do as a church. I am proud that we extend that compassion to people who literally have no one to help. This work is in Jesus’ name.
Holy Week 2017
It is often said that a diagnostic test for the well being of a parish is the amount of support shown to the celebration of Holy Week. Last year we broke Holy Week attendance records. This year we have done it again. We have had the best ever supported liturgies during the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday celebrations. I cannot emphasise enough how important this time of devotion to Christ is to a Christian. Again we had the biggest Easter fire and our dear Fr Chris, who gives so much, all for free, gave us fireworks again this year! If you cant go over the top for Jesus, what can you go over the top for in life.
This year Jean O’Keefe has continued to secure thousands of pounds of funding and investment in our parish buildings, and we are all in debt to her and to Diocesan officers like Sarah Perons for this. We had hoped to have St Davids repainted by this time, but investigations revealed the need to repair poor drainage and roof damage first that would have marred any repaint work. We have now done that. Both of our buildings are now more structurally sound than they have been for a long time. St Timothys has also been repainted: its hall area has been refloored and new radiators. We can now move forward with the repainting work needed for St Davids. This will be expensive, and we will need a fund raising strategy to cover these costs.
Music in the Parish
For a long time St Timothys pipe organ has been in a great need of repair. Last year the PCC came to the decision that the most sustainable and cost effective solution was to replace it with a low maintenance digital organ. Last month the parish secured an organ from a sister church in Barry, and due to its larger size and volume capacity, that went to St Davids, and the St Davids digital organ was moved to St Timothys. What this means is that both churches are now set up with the core, reliable musical resources they need to support our celebration of our Liturgy.
All for Jesus
All for Jesus. Thats the truth of it. All that we do, and try to do, should always be for Jesus, should always be an expression of our love for him. I look forward to working alongside you, taking the fight to the enemy, and being a real force of light and goodness in this parish in his name in the next year.
With stella singing-music-Exultet from Nicola and Victoria, fireworks from Fr Chris, biggest Easter fire we’ve had, an amazing Easter homily (from John Chrysostom) and the Hallelujah Chorus on our new organ.
Yesterday evening, at St Davids church, the wonderful children of the Pencaerau school choir, and the Bethel Children’s choir came and sang to a full house at St David’s. Joining them were Vivien Care and Stephen Hamnet, both profesional soloists who both gave stirring performances. All done in aid of parish funds. We are most grateful to all of them.